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Sports Briefs

Posted: Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Boston, back with Chargers, issues apology

SAN DIEGO David Boston stood in front of reporters Monday and apologized for the behavior that got him suspended for a game by San Diego Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer.

Boston did not deliver the same message to his winless team as a whole.

The wide receiver, whose $47 million contract is the largest in team history, made a 37-second statement following practice. With the consent of the organization, he refused to take questions.

''I'm here just to make a statement,'' Boston said. ''First of all, I want to apologize to my teammates, the organization and the fans for not being able to participate in this Sunday's game. I'm anxious to get out on the football field this week. I know I've made a lot of mistakes in the past and I've learned from them and I'm moving on.

''It was funny, I was watching the game and I ordered some food and I couldn't even eat because I was too very disturbed. And I let my teammates down and I want to get back out there and play. So that's what I'm here to do.''

Smith, Cloud, Newman return from suspensions

Jacksonville wide receiver Jimmy Smith was one of five suspended players reinstated by the NFL on Monday after violating the league's substance abuse policy.

Smith, the leading receiver in Jaguars' history, missed four games. Also reinstated were Denver safety Lee Flowers, New England running back Mike Cloud and Atlanta linebacker Keith Newman. Minnesota tight end Byron Chamberlain was reinstated, only to be released by the Vikings because he was out of shape.

Smith tested positive for cocaine after being stopped for speeding in Jacksonville two years ago, although he was never charged. At the time, Smith denied taking drugs. When he was suspended this preseason, he acknowledged having a problem.

Smith called the past six weeks ''one of the toughest times of my life.''

''Working to overcome my problem, while knowing what a difficult position I have put so many people in, is hard to come to terms with,'' he said in a statement.

''Although I don't deserve it based on my actions, I truly appreciate all of the support I have received over the past six weeks. I will not let you down.''

Chamberlain was suspended after testing positive for the banned stimulant ephedra. He said he misread the label on a product he was using and believed it didn't contain ephedra. He spent the month working out in Arizona but was released after undergoing a physical and going through several conditioning tests Monday.

He declined comment as he left Minnesota's practice facility.

Newman was suspended after testing positive for steroids.

He could start Sunday against the undefeated Minnesota Vikings since starters Sam Rogers and Will Overstreet most likely won't play with injuries.

''Sundays were the toughest time because the guys were out there playing and I couldn't be a part of it because I made a mistake that was my own fault,'' Newman said.

Cloud was signed by the Patriots from the Chiefs in the offseason even though the team knew the former Boston College star was facing a four-game ban. He tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone although he has said he didn't know the substance was in an over-the-counter protein supplement.

Flowers, signed by the Broncos from Pittsburgh in the offseason, tested positive for ephedra. He also said he wasn't aware the supplement was in his system.



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