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Names In The Game

August 1, 1996

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) _ The Arizona Cardinals trotted out new home and road uniforms Wednesday, using quarterback Boomer Esiason and cornerback Aeneas Williams as models.

``Part of feeling good is looking good,″ Esiason quipped as he posed for cameras in the red home jersey and white pants.

The changes from last year are subtle, mostly involving removal of black striping on the pants and around the uniform numbers. The team also deleted two Cardinals logos and replaced them with Arizona state flags on both sleeves of the white road jersey, which the players wear at home in hot weather.

The effect is a cleaner-looking jersey, with more narrow stripes on the sleeves and more Cardinals red on both sets of pants.

``I played for a team with the worst-looking uniforms in the NFL _ the Cincinnati Bengals,″ Esiason said. ``Anything is a step up.″

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) _ Chase Metheney is too big to stand still.

The 7-foot-4 Virginia center who saw limited playing time last season, has told the coaches he is transferring, according to a published report.

The Newport News Daily Press, citing unidentified sources, reported in early Thursday editions that Metheney was interested in both South Carolina and Iowa. Gary Close, an Iowa assistant coach, was on the staff of an all-star team that Metheney played for when it toured Europe in late May and early June.

A woman answering the telephone at Metheney’s home in Charlotte, N.C., said Metheney was in Florida and was to return home Friday. The Cavaliers, who play a series of exhibition games in Europe from Aug. 14-25, begin practice in Charlottesville on Thursday.

Metheney appeared in 22 of Virginia’s 27 games last season, averaging eight minutes a game. The redshirt freshman averaged 1.9 points, 2.1 rebounds and 0.9 blocked shots.

Metheney would be the third Cavaliers player to leave the program since the season’s end, joining freshmen Scott Johnson (South Florida) and Darryl Presley (Delaware).

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) _ The Carolina Panthers beat an NFL deadline to sell out their preseason opener, avoiding a television blackout of the game.

Fans started lining up at 6 a.m. Wednesday, four hours before the Panthers’ box office opened, to buy tickets to the game. The final 3,500 upper-deck tickets were sold by lunchtime.

That enables a local television blackout to be lifted and Saturday’s game against the Chicago Bears to be aired.

Under league rules, the local network cannot broadcast in the Panthers’ home market if the game isn’t sold out 72 hours before kickoff.

The unsold tickets originally were available to fans who bought permanent seat licenses _ rights to buy season tickets. But even after a big sales push last weekend, the team still had not sold $10.5 million worth of permanent seat licenses. That’s 3,500 seats at $3,000 apiece.

Officials said the Panthers came up with the new plan for selling single-game tickets at $32 apiece as a way to keep the first game on television and respect PSL holders.

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FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) _ The first weekend of NASCAR racing at Texas Motor Speedway is eight months away, but fans are racing for hotel space anywhere in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The speedway north of Fort Worth remains under construction, but some hotels are already booked solid and others expect to fill up within a few weeks.

The 300-mile Busch Grand National race will kick off the weekend of April 5. The next day, the Texas 500 Winston Cup race is expected to draw more than 200,000 people to the 1.5-mile oval track.

Kim Sparks, hotel sales director at the Harvey Hotel in Irving, said all of the hotel’s 506 rooms are booked for the weekend.

``When we found out about it, we started going out there and making sales calls,″ she said.

Several racing teams booked blocks of rooms for the weekend, Ms. Sparks said.

Scott Pontikes, sales manager for the ITT Sheraton-Mockingbird in Dallas, said reservations also went after the racing teams.

``We were kind of on the ball,″ he said. ``I figured that it would be a good idea to contact the racing teams first, and then try to get deals for the fans. Before long, I had about 10 to 12 racing teams and no more room for anybody else.″

Eddie Gossage, general manager of Texas Motor Speedway, said he expects hotels up to 50 miles away to fill up for the racing weekend. Of the 200,000 fans expected, about 25,000 will be able to camp overnight at the speedway.

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