NFL -- Judge Says Cowboys' Scissors Incident Was Shear Accident

DALLAS - Michael Irvin accidentally cut Everett McIver's neck with scissors during a playful tussle over Irvin's attempt to jump in line for a haircut, the judge overseeing the receiver's probation said.

"A little wrestling match started out innocently and someone got hurt," state District Judge Manny Alvarez said yesterday of the July 29 incident at Dallas' training camp.

Alvarez said investigators for his probation department and the Dallas County district attorney's office interviewed McIver, Irvin and other witnesses about what happened in a dormitory at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas.

The judge said Irvin approached a group of players in line for haircuts.

"McIver apparently was in line already. Irvin came in and said, `Seniority. The veteran players don't wait in line,' " the judge said.

"Everyone was kind of laughing that Irvin got in front of McIver. One of his buddies said, `You're a lineman and you're going to let a tiny wide receiver get in front of you?' McIver kind of put a bear hug on him - that's how it started. They started wrestling."

McIver is 6 feet 5 and weighs more than 300 pounds. Irvin is 6-2 and weighs about 200 pounds.

The tone was friendly rather than angry, Alvarez said.

Irvin apparently had a small pair of scissors in his hand that were to be used to carve initials or other marks into his closely cropped hair. McIver needed stitches to repair a two-inch cut on the right side of his neck and missed several days of training camp. The judge said a nurse at the campus provided the care.

Alvarez had threatened to send Irvin to prison if he violated terms of the four-year probation Alvarez gave him after the player pleaded no contest in 1996 to felony cocaine possession.

But this incident provided no grounds, Alvarez said yesterday.

"We didn't find any evidence that there was any criminal activity, any intentional assault, which is what would have been needed" for a parole violation, he said.

Cowboy spokesman Rich Dalrymple said the matter had been handled internally and the team would have no further comment.

McIver told investigators he wasn't paid to keep silent about the incident, the judge said.

The Dallas Morning News had reported on Aug. 9 that Cowboy owner Jerry Jones brokered a financial settlement between the two players to prevent McIver from pursuing criminal charges against Irvin or publicly discussing the incident.

But McIver "assured us it was an accident and that he was never approached on a payoff, and everything he told the police department in Wichita Falls was verified by my probation department," the judge said.

Shuler's future in jeopardy

NEW ORLEANS - Heath Shuler, New Orleans Saints quarterback who was a first-round draft pick four years ago, today waited for a doctor's decision that could end his season, if not his disappointing career.

Shuler flew from the Saints training camp in La Crosse, Wis., to Birmingham, Ala., to have his injured left foot examined by orthopedist Dr. James Andrews.

Shuler was expected to have his foot placed in a cast for two weeks, but it was not clear if he would be able to salvage this season, let alone a career once expected to see him among the top NFL quarterbacks.

"It's not looking real good," Coach Mike Ditka said.

The foot has continued to bother Shuler since he had surgery in December to remove crushed bones and repair torn ligaments.

Ex-Bill nominated for Hall

CANTON, Ohio - Billy Shaw, former Buffalo guard, was selected as a nominee for 1999 induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame by its senior committee.

Shaw, 59, played from 1961-69 for the Bills, who won American Football League titles in 1964 and 1965. A four-time All-AFL selection, Shaw played in eight AFL All-Star Games, was selected to the All-Time AFL Team and was named to pro football's All-Decade Team for the 1960s.


-- Ted Johnson, New England middle linebacker, signed a five-year, $25 million contract extension with the Patriots today. Johnson, who has led the Patriots in tackles the past two seasons, had one year left on his current contract. His base salary for the 1997 season is $403,000.

-- NFL owners heard presentations from seven groups willing to spend an estimated $600 million to $1 billion for the Cleveland Browns expansion team. The NFL will narrow the list of those seven, plus others who chose not to make a presentation in Atlanta yesterday, to at least two bidders by Sept. 8.

-- Philadelphia cut wide receiver Chris T. Jones. The fourth-year wide receiver, who not long ago seemed to be a big part of the team's future, has had three arthroscopic surgeries on his right knee since September.

-- Neil O'Donnell appeared to get a clear chance to win Cincinnati's starting quarterback job when Coach Bruce Coslet named him to open Saturday night's exhibition game against Detroit.

-- Kansas City Coach Marty Schottenheimer said injured defensive tackle Chester McGlockton is feeling better but he is concerned about the amount of time the four-time Pro Bowler has missed from training camp because of back spasms.

-- Green Bay lost offensive tackle John Michels for the season because of a knee injury. The team's 1996 first-round draft choice suffered a torn right anterior cruciate ligament in a pass-blocking drill Tuesday.

-- Samari Rolle, rookie cornerback for Tennessee, passed another set of medical tests. Doctors wanted to make sure his spine is recovering from a hit during practice that rendered his left side numb briefly. "The doctors are hopeful that perhaps by the end of the week he'll be able to begin some activity," Coach Jeff Fisher said.

-- The Oilers, who have become known more for empty seats than football the past two seasons, sold out a home game (Nov. 15 against Pittsburgh) for the first time since relocating to Tennessee.