<i><b>Sports Briefs</i></b>

Pat Tillman to be honored in season opener

TEMPE (AP) – The Arizona Cardinals will honor Pat Tillman with a special halftime tribute during the first home game of the 2004 season.

The tribute to the former Cardinals safety who was killed April 22 in Afghanistan while serving with the U.S.

Army Rangers also will recognize other Arizonans who have died in the line of duty.

Arizona plays Super Bowl champion New England in the Cardinals' home opener on Sept.


Heat bandwagon burgeoning with Shaq aboard

MIAMI (AP) – Shaquille O'Neal's first game with the Miami Heat is 3-1/2 months away, and he's already a box office smash.

"Over at the business office of the AmericanAirlines Arena, it's like being on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange right now," Heat president Pat Riley said.

"It's absolutely a frenzy."

The Heat didn't need long to reap dividends from one of the most landscape-altering trades in NBA history.

In a deal completed Wednesday, they sent a first-round draft pick and three starters – Caron Butler, Lamar Odom and Brian Grant – to the Los Angeles Lakers for a 32-year-old center with an arthritic big toe.

That would be O'Neal.

"I never imagined that we would acquire Shaquille O'Neal," Heat guard Eddie Jones said.

"It's once-in-a-lifetime trying to get a player like this guy.

It's an unbelievable, unbelievable move."

Record-setting Olympic swimming trials end


(AP) – Six world records were set during the U.S.

Olympic swimming trials, raising already-high expectations of another big American medal haul in Athens.

Four years ago, the U.S.

team led all nations with 14 golds and 33 medals overall.

Much of the pressure in Athens will be on Michael Phelps, who said Wednesday he will swim five individual events and up to three relays in his attempt to break Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals in one Olympics.

Phelps gave up his spot in the 200-meter backstroke, putting Bryce Hunt on his first Olympic team.

Hunt finished third in the trials behind Aaron Peirsol, who broke his own world record, and Phelps.

"I'm pretty excited," Hunt said.

"People were telling me that he might drop out of the 200 backstroke, but I didn't think it was going to happen.

I just hope I can bring back a medal."

So does Jenny Thompson, who won the 50 freestyle on the final night of the eight-day trials.

She had already qualified in the 100 butterfly.

Williams fired after three seasons with Astros

HOUSTON (AP) – The Houston Astros made it clear they're making one final push for the postseason, firing manager Jimy Williams Wednesday and bringing in Phil Garner.

A season that began with World Series aspirations for the Astros has been slipping away, so general manager Gerry Hunsicker wanted an immediate and "dramatic" change.

"There's a cloud that hung over our team for so long," he said.

"Time is of the essence.

We can't waste too much time here."

Garner, a former Astros player, is taking over on an interim basis.

The team will conduct another search at the end of the season.

Runner conquers 118-degree Death Valley


— A 41-year-old San Francisco man has won the 2004 Badwater Ultramarathon, crossing Death Valley in scalding heat.

Dean Karnazes was named the winner Tuesday, completing the 135-mile trek in 27 hours, 22 minutes and 48 seconds.

That was about 1-1/2 hours off his time last year, when he was the top male finisher.

Temperatures reached a high of 118 during the run.

Last year's winner, 43-year-old Pam Reed, finished in fourth place.

Reed, of Tucson, had been attempting a third straight win.

Linebacker Trotter returns to dark green

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Former Pro Bowl middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter returned to the Philadelphia Eagles, agreeing to a one-year contract.

Trotter's deal, believed to be worth less than $1 million, is contingent upon his passing a physical on Thursday.

Trotter, 27, spent the last two seasons with the Washington Redskins after playing four years for the Eagles and making the Pro Bowl twice.

Ditka decides not to run for Senate in Illinois

CHICAGO (AP) — Former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka announced he won't run for the Senate, leaving Illinois Republicans desperate for a candidate four months before the election.

State Republicans have been scrambling to find a challenger for Democrat Barack Obama since the winner of the GOP primary, investment banker-turned-teacher Jack Ryan, dropped out nearly three weeks ago.