SULLIVAN RESIGNS: Patrick Sullivan resigned yesterday after eight seasons as general manager of the Patriots, and one month after they finished their worst season ever.

"I recognized that things are not permanent and I felt very strongly that I wanted to have a role within the organization that was a responsible role," Sullivan said. "When I recognized that I really wouldn't have the responsible role that was important, it was time to move on."

Sullivan, 38, resigned with six years left on his contract.

But his duties had diminished since Sam Jankovich became the team's chief executive officer on Dec. 20 and was given complete control of the organization by owner Victor Kiam.

Sullivan is the son of William H. Sullivan Jr., the team's owner when the franchise was founded in 1960. The elder Sullivan, beset by family financial problems, sold the team to Kiam in October 1988.

NO GIANT CELEBRATION: The Giants turned down invitations to celebrate their Super Bowl victory with the New Jersey governor and mayor of New York City, saying it wouldn't be right with war being waged in the Persian Gulf.

New Jersey Gov. Jim Florio and New York City Mayor David Dinkins had invited the Giants to celebrate their 20-19 Sunday victory over the Buffalo Bills with fans on either side of the Hudson River.

"We're turning down all deals," said Giants spokesman Ed Croke. "It would be inappropriate to show celebration."

COTTON INDICTED: A Cuyahoga County (Ohio) grand jury returned an indictment against Browns LB Marcus Cotton, charging him with rape and sexual battery. Cotton has been summoned to appear for arraignment within two weeks.

A 20-year-old woman told police in the Cleveland suburb of Parma Heights on Dec. 21 that Cotton forced her to have sex with him the previous night.

The sexual battery charge alleges the woman was impaired at the time of the alleged incident. Police have said she may have been under the influence of alcohol.

The Browns signed Cotton, 24, on Nov. 14 after the Falcons waived him.

RELEASED: Former Lion Reggie Rogers will leave a prison camp Feb. 6 after serving 12 months for killing three teen-agers while driving drunk, and his attorney says he's given up hope of playing football again.

A parole board on Thursday ordered Rogers's release from Camp Brighton in Detroit and gave him permission to return with his wife, Sheila, to the Seattle area for the final nine months of his parole, Michigan Department of Corrections spokeswoman Karen Braun said.

"He's just going to try to put his life together," said Rogers's attorney, Elbert Hatchett of Pontiac, Mich.

DAVID SHULA MOVES: The Bengals have hired Cowboys assistant David Shula to coach their wide receivers.

Shula, 31, son of Dolphins Coach Don Shula, had been demoted twice in the last two years at Dallas. He was the offensive coordinator in 1989 and was moved down to the quarterbacks coach last year. On Jan. 9, Cowboys Coach Jimmy Johnson demoted Shula to passing coordinator.

Under Shula, the Cowboys were last in points scored.