Sports Briefs

Posted: Thursday, October 18, 2001

NFL encourages teams to screen mail for anthrax

NEW YORK -- The NFL is screening its mail carefully and encouraging teams to do the same because of the anthrax letters sent to Capitol Hill, networks and other high-profile targets.

The league also is encouraging its fans to get in touch with players and teams by means other than mail -- by e-mail on league and team Web sites or by faxes.

''There are ways to communicate safely and we hope the fans will do that,'' league spokesman Greg Aiello said.

At the recommendation of security director Milt Ahlerich, the league has sent a memo urging teams to do what's being done in the NFL office -- screening mail and withholding anything that looks suspicious.

''We're encouraging them to look at all mail, including fan mail to players,'' Aiello said.

Teams were taking the recommendation seriously.

''We're obviously being a lot more cautious,'' New Orleans general manager Randy Mueller said. ''We're instituting a few new policies. We're aware of it. I think everyone in the building is.''

Minnesota quarterback Daunte Culpepper was asked if he is wary of all the fan mail he gets.

''Yes, definitely. It's a scary thing,'' he replied. ''I don't open any mail unless it has a return address on it.''

Oilers re-sign restricted free agent Poti

EDMONTON, Alberta -- Restricted free agent defenseman Tom Poti, who missed the first three weeks of the season in a contract dispute, agreed to a one-year deal with the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday.

Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe said he felt it was important to get Poti signed before the season was too far along.

''Tom has been a very good player who has contributed to the success of the organization over the last three seasons,'' Lowe said in a release. ''We are glad to have him back in the lineup so he can continue to help the team improve and take the next step in the playoffs.''

The 24-year-old native of Worcester, Mass., was one of three Oilers invited to the U.S. Olympic team's orientation camp last summer in preparation for the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

Poti was second in scoring among Edmonton defensemen last season with 12 goals and 20 assists in 81 games. The 12 goals were his career high for a season.

In 230 career games, Poti has 26 goals and 62 assists with 167 penalty minutes.

Poti will join the Oilers in Denver for their game with the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday, but will not play.

Marcis set for Talladega finale

Dave Marcis is trying to make his 58th start at Talladega Superspeedway as he wraps up his Winston Cup career.

Marcis, the 60-year-old driver from Wisconsin who will retire after the 2002 Daytona 500, won the 1976 fall race at Talladega and has started from the pole three times.

''Talladega is a track that I like a whole lot,'' Marcis said. ''I've learned what it takes to get around there. Sitting on a few poles and winning at Talladega hold a lot of good memories for me. ... There was nothing like winning at Talladega.''

Marcis has five victories in 881 Winston Cup starts.

''I just love to race, and somehow my career has lasted almost as long as NASCAR has,'' Marcis said. ''Racing is all I know. Unlike most of these guys today, this has been my living. I just feel that it's time now to climb out of the driver's seat.

''In the past I've imagined going out like the big buck that everyone hunts in this one patch of woods every year. They see him, but they never shoot him. All of a sudden, they don't see him anymore, but they don't know if somebody shot him or if he just died in his old age.''

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