Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Vick has a date in New York Saturday as the first freshman invited to the Heisman Trophy show.
And Thomas Jones, a Virginia senior who rewrote the Atlantic Coast Conference single-season rushing record and was expected to be on hand at Manhattan's Downtown Athletic Club, will stay home, as will Florida State's Peter Warrick.
Vick led the Hokies to an 11-0 record, a No. 2 national ranking and a berth in the Sugar Bowl to play Florida State for the national title Jan. 4.
In his first season, he was the nation's top-rated quarterback, completing 90 of 152 passes for 1,840 yards and 12 touchdowns. He ran for 585 yard and eight touchdowns.
"This whole season has been great, but I never thought this would happen," Vick said. He is the first freshman to be invited to the Heisman ceremony since it started being televised in 1981.
"I'm just going to enjoy this moment. I've got a couple of exams this week that I have to prepare for, and I don't know how I'm going to handle that. But I'm definitely going to enjoy the moment," he said.
Other Heisman finalists who will join Vick in New York are Wisconsin running back Ron Dayne and quarterbacks Joe Hamilton of Georgia Tech, Drew Brees of Purdue and Chad Pennington of Marshall.
Trauma Kills Fighter
Boxer Stephan Johnson has died after failing to regain consciousness from a brain injury in a Nov. 20 fight.
A trauma physician at Atlantic City Medical Center in New Jersey pronounced the 31-year-old fighter dead at 5:45 p.m. Sunday, the Atlantic County medical examiner said.
Neither the medical examiner nor the hospital would disclose immediately the official cause of death.
A. Watson Gets New Deal
New York Yankees left-handed pitcher Allen Watson agreed to a $3 million, two-year contract yesterday.
Watson, 29, went 4-1 with a 2.89 ERA in 24 games this year for the Yankees, who signed him after the Mets released him. His new deal calls for a $200,000 signing bonus, $1.2 million next year and $1.6 million in 2001.
The Yankees' signing of Watson lessens the chances the Yankees will try to sign Baltimore Orioles free agent left-handed pitcher Arthur Rhodes. Rhodes's agent, Dan Horwits, said last night he still hopes to have a deal done with the Orioles by today.
Rhodes is seeking a four-year contract and also has had interest from the Mariners and the Indians. . . .
The Seattle Mariners re-signed right fielder Jay Buhner to a one-year, $600,000 contract and exercised a $6.5 million option on left-handed starter Jamie Moyer for the 2002 season.
Roy Lassiter, the former high-scoring forward for D.C. United, has been sued in Fairfax County Circuit Court for failing to make the monthly payments on a 1997 BMW 328I he leased in Tampa last year.
Court records show Lassiter agreed in April 1998 to a four-year lease with monthly payments of $811.96. Elliott J. Marsden, the lawyer representing MIC Leasing Corp. of Great Neck, N.Y., the finance company, said Lassiter made only three or four payments on the car and surrendered the car to MIC earlier this year. MIC is seeking more than $24,000 in unpaid debt and fees.
The suit was filed Nov. 15, the day after Lassiter scored two goals against Columbus to propel United into the Major League Soccer championship game. Lassiter since has been traded to the Miami Fusion and could not be reached to comment. D.C. United officials said they were unaware of the suit and declined to comment.
Colin Montgomerie was named European PGA golfer of the year for the fourth time in five years after topping the money list for the seventh straight year.
Montgomerie, 36, beat Spanish teenager Sergio Garcia, British Open champion Paul Lawrie, Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal and last year's winner Lee Westwood in the vote by golf reporters and European tour officials.