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Thursday, July 29, 1999

Hull earns 2nd at Police Olympics

BARSTOW, July 29, 1999 -- Pecos Police Officer Billy Hull brought home a second place medal from his first trip to the Texas State Police Olympics, which were held last month in Abilene.

"Police from around the state were there," said Hull, currently assigned to the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force and who competed in powerlifting at Abilene.

About 500 police officers were entered, and Hull said "There were about 100 lifters in three flights," which were based on age and weight classes.

He competed in the bench press in the 220 pound submaster division, and earned second with a 375 pound lift on his final attempt. "I trained three months for it and was shooting for 365 pounds, so I'm real happy," Hull said.

Hull said along with his work with the police department and task force, he's also been working at Tony's Fitness Center in Barstow, where he works out. "Tony (Garcia) is in Odessa now, so I manage it for him," he said.

Emmitt hopes Sanders retracts retirement

AP Sports Writer
WICHITA FALLS, July 29, 1999 For the nine years he's been in the NFL, Emmitt Smith has always tried keeping pace with Barry Sanders. Now that Sanders is retired, Smith is feeling a bit lonely at the top.

"It's sad because I've always benchmarked my career after him," Smith said Wednesday. "Now, I've got to set my sights on something else."

Sanders joined the Detroit Lions in 1989 and immediately won the NFC rushing title. A year later, he won his first NFL rushing title during Smith's rookie year in Dallas.

Smith won the next three NFL rushing titles as their statistical rivalry kicked into gear.

Overall, the pair combined for eight straight league rushing crowns from 1990-97 with each winning four. Denver's Terrell Davis ended that streak last season while Atlanta's Jamal Anderson ended the 9-year grip Sanders and Smith had on the NFC rushing lead.

Sanders is No. 2 on the all-time rushing list with 15,269 career yards, 1,458 shy of breaking Walter Payton's record. Smith is No. 5 on the overall list with 12,566 yards. The next-closest active player is Buffalo's Thurman Thomas, who is ninth all-time with 11,786.

Smith was surprised to learn that he inherits the title of active career rushing leader.

"I gladly accept it," he said, "but I'm not focusing on it."

Smith had no idea Sanders was planning on walking away from football. When reporters broke the news to him, he found it hard to believe at first.

"He's not retiring. Is he?" Smith said. "Y'all are joking. Please! That's got to be a joke. I don't buy it just yet because the man has many, many, many more years left.

"If he chooses to leave the game, that's his choice. The only thing I can say is that I wish he wouldn't."

Smith said he was hoping to see Sanders break Payton's record this year and keep going.

"I think Barry would've been the first back to break the 20,000 barrier," Smith said.

Now Smith is the leading favorite to top Payton. At his career average of 89.8 yards per game, he's about 30 games away, putting the target date at late in the 2000 season.

"I'm not a selfish person and only a selfish person would look at it that way," Smith said. "He has a great opportunity to do it this year. It would be exciting to watch. Hopefully, someday, my chance may come."

The biggest difference in their careers is the success of their teams.

Smith has won three Super Bowls in nine seasons with the Cowboys, while Sanders has only advanced as far as the NFC Championship once in 10 years with the Detroit Lions.

"The man has been everything Detroit wanted, but has Detroit been everything he needed? Probably not," Smith said. "So, frustration and a lot of disappointment is on his side."

Angry umps want Phillips called out

AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK, July 29, 1999 After breaking with their union, more than a dozen major league umpires criticized their leadership for "a flawed and doomed strategy." that apparently will cost 22 colleagues their jobs.

As baseball officials said ability, racial and ethnic background and experience will be among the factors used to decide which 19 National League umpires stay and which 13 are let go, many of the umpires who kept their jobs blamed the mess on the union leadership, headed by president Jerry Crawford and Richie Phillips, the umps' negotiator since 1978.

"The major league umpires have been seriously harmed because union leadership adopted a flawed strategy that was doomed to fail from the beginning," said the statement, agreed to by a group of umpires that included Joe Brinkman, John Hirschbeck, Dave Phillips, Dale Scott and Rocky Roe.

"The advice to quit jobs in order to keep them made no sense at all," the group said, "especially under a collective bargaining contract that not only ruled out strikes, but also ruled out `other concerted work stoppage."'

A person familiar with the drafting of the statement said more than a dozen umps joined in. The statement was to be formally issued today, and also includes Wally Bell and Jeff Nelson of the National League, the person said.

"It grieves us that more than 20 umpires will apparently lose their jobs as a result of this flawed and doomed strategy," the statement said. "We have been able to save some of our colleagues by convincing them not to resign or to quickly rescind their resignations. If we had not taken a stand, all major league umpires could be facing the end of their careers.

"It is essential that we proceed with a realistic view of the world and do what is in the best interest of all umpires, our families and the public."

Crawford, contacted after his game in San Diego on Wednesday night, declined comment.

Management officials and lawyers said they said they expected to make their choices on NL umps by the end of this week.

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