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The NFL Draft could be moved to early March as soon as '98, according to Gordon Forbes of USA TODAY. The move would "be part of a plan to overhaul the draft process and end a growing problem of bickering between personnel people and head coaches." NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue had planned to move the draft next year, but was persuaded by personnel people to wait until '98 (USA TODAY, 4/23)....NHL Senior VP/Hockey Op Brian Burke said he would prefer the NHL keep three periods over four quarters, but he did note his own children "lose interest" during breaks. Burke, on shorter periods and time-outs: "It's something to look at, but it's not Fox driven" (NewSport, 4/23). In Philadelphia, Timothy Dwyer criticizes Commissioner Gary Bettman's aim to end fighting, saying the NHL should focus instead on cheap shots levied during play (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 4/20).
The harmony that existed when the NBA players were pleading for the return of the NBA officials has dissolved throughout the season, to the point where the players and refs are now "warring factions" as the playoffs approach, according to the CHICAGO SUN- TIMES. Referees' Union attorney Fred Slaughter has proposed players be suspended for three games and fined $50,000 for approaching refs in an angry or argumentative way. NBPA official Alex English says refs should be punished for bad calls just as players and coaches are punished for criticizing officiating (Lacy Banks, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 4/23). In Cleveland, Bud Shaw writes the NBA should issue a pre-playoffs statement that anyone making physical contact with a ref will "be finished for the remainder of the postseason. End of discussion" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 4/21). Atlanta's Craig Ehlo: "It's ego. All the stuff that's going on now is all about egos" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 4/21). OTHER NBA NEWS: The Nets and Magic will play at the Tokyo Dome on November 7 and 9 in the NBA Japan Games (NBA)
Today, THE DAILY presents an exclusive look at the agents representing the NFL's first round draft picks. Tomorrow: The second round (THE DAILY). NO. PLAYER/POSITION AGENT/FIRM 1. Keyshawn Johnson/WR Lee Kolligian/Mouthpiece Sports Jerome Stanley/Stanley & Associates 2. Kevin Hardy/LB Ethan Lock/ProServ 3. Simeon Rice/DE Eugene Parker/Burt Blee Dixon & Sutton 4. Jonathan Ogden/OT Marvin Demoff, Don Yee/ Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp 5. Cedric Jones/DE Gary Wichard/Pro Tect 6. Lawr. Phillips/RB Mitch Frankel/Impact Sports 7. Terry Glenn/WR James Gould, Brig Owens/Management One 8. Tim Biakabatuka/RB Kevin Poston 9. Rickey Dudley/TE Joel Segal 10. Willie Anderson/OT Pat Dye/ProFiles 11. Alex Molden/DB Angelo Wright/Sports West 12. Regan Upshaw/DE Steve Baker 13. Walt Harris/DB Kennard McGuire 14. Eddie George/RB Lamont Smith/All Pro Sports 15. John Mobley/LB Brian Mackler/SportsStars 16. Duane Clemons/DE Leigh Steinberg/Steinberg & Moorad 17. Reggie Brown/LB Mark Mottaz 18. Eddie Kennison/WR John Hamilton 19. Marvin Harrison/WR Gary Wichard/Pro Tect 20. Daryl Gardener/DT Neil Schwartz/Schwartz Associates 21. Pete Kendall/OT Neil Schwartz/Schwartz Associates 22. Marcus Jones/DT Greg Williams/Vanguard 23. Jeff Hartings/OG Ben Dogra, Jim Steiner Sports Management Group 24. Eric Moulds/WR Pat Dye/ProFiles 25. Jermane Mayberry/OT Jack Bechta/JB & A 26. Ray Lewis/LB Drew Rosenhaus/Rosenhaus Sports 27. John Michels/OT Marvin Demoff 28. Jerome Woods/DB James Sexton, Kyle Rote/ Athletic Resource Management 29. Jamain Stephens/OT Tank Black/Professional Management 30. Andre Johnson/OT Tony Agnone/Eastern Athletic