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Marshall sues Oilers for breach of contract

All-pro linebacker Wilber Marshall sued the Houston Oilers on Friday, claiming they backed out of a deal to pay him $2.75-million for the upcoming season.

The breach-of-contract suit filed in U.S. District Court seeks up to $7.9-million in damages if Marshall is left sitting out the 1993 season.

The suit seeks $150,000 Marshall says the Washington Redskins agreed to pay him five days later in conjunction with the trade.

It also seeks another $5-million for what Marshall says is "his loss of certainty" that he will not again be named a team's franchise player at the end of the 1993 season and thus be precluded from negotiating a 1994 contract as a free agent.

Players ratify agreement

WASHINGTON _ The NFL Players Association has ratified the new collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Management Council with a 96 percent approval rating, executive director Gene Upshaw said. The agreement was reached last month but was subject to a vote of the NFLPA.

"The players have recognized that this is a good agreement and that it will be the cornerstone of seven years of labor peace and prosperity for the league and the players," Upshaw said in a statement.

Areas such as severance pay, pension, disability and career-ending injury benefits, insurance and preseason and post-season pay will be improved.

Two Patriots stabbed

BOSTON _ New England Patriots running back Leonard Russell and reserve defensive end Tim Edwards were stabbed outside a waterfront nightclub Thursday around 2 a.m. Team officials said both players would be ready to attend the team's training camp on July


Russell was in stable but guarded condition in intensive care at Massachusetts General Hospital with a wound to the left chest. Edwards was released after receiving stitches for an arm wound.

Around the league

Cowboys: Quarterback Troy Aikman will undergo surgery today in Los Angeles for a herniated disc in his back, according to a Fort Worth, Texas, television station. Aikman injured his back several weeks ago while lifting weights.

Chiefs: Neil Smith, the team's designated franchise player, is free to negotiate with other clubs until July 25. Kansas City has the right to match any offer. The Chiefs said they had maintained their original offer, reported to be about $1.7-million.

Saints: Defensive back Gene Atkins, who played for Florida A&M, was booked for allegedly hitting his wife with a phone book, and released from jail shortly after, a spokesman for the Kenner (La.) Police Department said.

Eagles: A lawyer said he entered an innocent plea for defensive end Tim Harris to a misdemeanor drunken-driving charge in Santa Cruz, Calif.