The Houston Texans signed first-round pick Jason Babin, a converted linebacker from Western Michigan who is being counted on to strengthen the team's weak pass rush, yesterday.
Babin is the first first-round pick to agree to terms with an NFL team. It is the second time in three seasons the Texans have been first in the league to lock up a first-round pick.
The Texans traded their second-, third- and fourth-round draft picks to acquire Babin with the 27th overall selection.
Financial details were not released, although the contract carries a five-year term with money payable over six years.
Babin, 6 feet 2 and 260 pounds, is Western Michigan's career leader with 38 sacks and 75 tackles for loss. Houston's defense ranked next to last in 2003 and was last against the pass, largely because the Texans put little or no pressure on quarterbacks.
In 2002, the Texans also set the pace with their first-round signing. The expansion team agreed to terms with quarterback David Carr before he was drafted No. 1 overall, then signed him on draft day.
* HOCKEY: Dave Lewis signed a one-year contract to come back as coach of the Detroit Red Wings.
The deal was announced during the NHL draft in Raleigh, N.C. Terms were not revealed. Lewis's contract expired after the Red Wings were eliminated in the second round of this year's playoffs.
Lewis, a former Red Wings assistant and player, became head coach after Scotty Bowman retired the night Detroit won its 10th Stanley Cup two years ago. Lewis led Detroit to a 96-41-21-6 record in two seasons but won only one playoff series. Both years, the Red Wings lost to the eventual Western Conference champion. . . .
Minnesota Wild right wing Marian Gaborik is being sued by his former agents, who believe their ex-client owes them fees, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported yesterday.
Allan Walsh and David Schatia began representing Gaborik before he became the Wild's first pick in 2000. After negotiations led to a holdout last year, Gaborik parted ways with Walsh and Schatia and hired agent Ron Salcer, who negotiated a $9.2 million deal.
* HORSE RACING: Hall of Fame trainer Wayne Lukas's Stellar Jayne pulled a surprise, winning the $200,000 Mother Goose Stakes as a 29-1 shot at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.
Stellar Jayne scored a 21/2-length victory over Ashado in the Grade I race for 3-year-old fillies. Island Sand was third. Stellar Jayne, with jockey Robbie Albarado aboard, ran the 11/8 miles in 1 minute 48 seconds to earn $120,000.
The Mother Goose is the first leg of the New York Racing Association's triple crown for 3-year-old fillies. It is followed by the Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont Park on July 24 and the Alabama at Saratoga on Aug. 21.
* BASKETBALL: Sam Mitchell was still on the job with the Charlotte Bobcats amid reports he's been chosen to be the head coach of the Toronto Raptors.
Charlotte team spokesman Scott Leightman said the Bobcats had given the Raptors permission to speak to Mitchell, the lead assistant with the expansion team, and that they were aware he is a finalist for the job.
The Toronto Sun reported yesterday that the Raptors had chosen Mitchell over Seattle SuperSonics assistant Dwane Casey and Detroit Pistons assistant Mike Woodson. The paper reported an announcement on the hiring could be made on Tuesday.
* SAILING: In Porto Cervo, Sardinia, Spanish King Juan Carlos led his yacht to victory over the United States in the Sardinia Cup's first offshore sailing team world championships.
The United States had been leading the weeklong, seven-regatta series but fell behind on the last day in a tacking duel with the king's Bribon Telefonica Movistar yacht. The king co-skippered the boat with former IMS/class world champion Pedro Campos.
The Sardinia Rolex Cup, founded as the Mediterranean answer to the British Admiral's Cup, is held every two years.
* OBITUARY: Champion hydroplane driver Bill Sterret Jr. died yesterday after an accident on the Ohio River near downtown Owensboro, Ky. Sterret, 57, was piloting a hydroplane in a race when it hit rough water, nose dived and broke up.
He was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead of blunt force trauma. Sterret's biggest victory came in 1972, when he won the President's Cup on the Potomac River in Washington. Sterret's father, Bill Sterret Sr., won three world championships in the mid-1960s.
-- From News Services