Sports

On the Air - December 1, 2007

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Evel Knievel is dead.

That sentence probably should have been written in 1968, when the daredevil crashed his motorcycle spectacularly as he jumped the fountains at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas and wound up in a coma.

It probably should have been written in 1974, when his rocket-powered cycle failed as he tried to jump Idaho's Snake River Canyon and he almost landed in the raging water. Or the numerous other times he battered himself while trying to jump something bigger than ever.

Instead, it was written Friday. Natural causes. Age 69.

"It's been coming for years, but you just don't expect it. Superman just doesn't die, right?" said longtime friend and promoter Billy Rundle. He's the organizer of the annual Evel Knievel Days festival in the daredevil's Butte, Mont., hometown.

Rundle said Knievel had trouble breathing at his Clearwater condominium Friday and died before an ambulance could get him to a hospital.

Knievel had been in failing health for years, suffering from diabetes and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, an incurable condition that scarred his lungs. He had undergone a liver transplant in 1999 after nearly dying of hepatitis C, likely contracted through a blood transfusion after one of his many spills. He also suffered two strokes recently.

• NFL -- The Miami-Dade Police Department arrested four people in connection with the fatal shooting of Washington Redskins star Sean Taylor.

Miami-Dade police department spokeswoman Linda O'Brien identified the men as: Venjah K. Hunte, 20; Eric Rivera Jr., 17; Jason Scott Mitchell, 17; and Charles Kendrick Lee Wardlow, 18.

• COLLEGE FOOTBALL -- Bobby Bowden will be at Florida State for at least one more year, his attorney confirmed.

• Connecticut coach Randy Edsall was believed to be in Atlanta Friday to interview for the coach opening at Georgia Tech, where he worked as an assistant coach in 1998. He is thought to be the first outside candidate to interview for the opening.

• Auburn formally offered coach Tommy Tuberville a two-year contract extension that would include a $200,000-a-year raise and run through 2013, according to newspaper reports.

• Nebraska interim athletic director Tom Osborne refused to comment on a report that LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini will be introduced as the school's coach next week.

ESPN.com, citing multiple unnamed sources, reported that Pelini will coach the Tigers' defense in the SEC championship game against Tennessee on Saturday, and travel Lincoln for an announcement Monday.

• MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL -- Kenny Rogers knew all along where he wanted to be.

The 43-year-old left-hander ended his free agency when he agreed to a $8 million, one-year deal that will keep him with Detroit for a third season.

• Theo Epstein won't talk publicly about Johan Santana, even though Boston appears to be trying to add the two-time AL Cy Young Award winner to their already strong rotation.

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