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Originally published Thursday, July 7, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Briefs: Television, beer, recliner set up for Pittsburgh fan's funeral

James Henry Smith was a zealous Pittsburgh Steelers fan in life, and even death could not keep him from his favorite...


Original viewing: James Henry Smith was a zealous Pittsburgh Steelers fan in life, and even death could not keep him from his favorite spot: in a recliner, in front of a television showing his beloved team in action.

Smith, 55, of Pittsburgh, died of prostate cancer last Thursday. Because his death wasn't unexpected, his family was able to plan for an unusual viewing Tuesday night.

The Samuel E. Coston Funeral Home erected a small stage in a viewing room, and arranged furniture on it much as it was in Smith's home on game-day Sundays.

Smith's body was on the recliner, his feet crossed and a remote in his hand. He wore black and gold silk pajamas, slippers and a robe. A pack of cigarettes and a beer were at his side, while a high-definition TV played a continuous loop of Steelers highlights.

"I couldn't stop crying after looking at the Steeler blanket in his lap," said his sister, MaryAnn Nails, 58. "He loved football and nobody did (anything) until the game went off. It was just like he was at home."

Brown to retire as a Raider: Tim Brown will end his NFL career with the Oakland Raiders after all.

"Tim will sign a one-day contract and retire as a Raider," team spokesman Mike Taylor said.

The Raiders plan to hold a news conference later this month to recognize the 38-year-old Brown, a former Heisman Trophy winner and the longest-tenured player in franchise history.

Horse racing

Churchill Downs to sell Hollywood Park: Churchill Downs Inc. will sell historic Hollywood Park and surrounding acreage at the Inglewood, Calif., racetrack to Bay Meadows Land Co. LLC for $260 million in cash.

The deal announced is expected to close in late September.


Bay Meadows Land Co. will buy the land and facilities at the 67-year-old track and assume management of racing operations for a minimum of three years. BMLC also owns Bay Meadows racetrack in Northern California.

Terrence Fancher, president of BMLC, said the company plans to apply for a license from the California Horse Racing Board to continue racing at Hollywood Park.

"We love the racing business," he said in a conference call. "We stepped up to purchase Hollywood Park in the hope we can prolong the life of this great asset."

Eye injury scratches Perfect Drift: Perfect Drift won't run in Saturday's $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup because of an eye injury.

Auto racing

Lawyers urge U.S. Grand Prix fans to wait on refunds: Fans who attended the boycotted U.S. Grand Prix should receive more than the ticket refunds offered by Michelin, say attorneys who have filed lawsuits.

The French tire manufacturer, the seven Formula One teams that withdrew their cars, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and others also should pay fans for travel and other expenses, the attorneys said.

Henry Price, an Indianapolis attorney seeking to lead a class-action suit over the boycott, said those 100,000 who attended the race June 19 are entitled to much more than the $75-$150 ticket price.

Michelin last week offered to refund money to those who bought race tickets and buy 20,000 tickets for those wanting to return for the 2006 race.

But Price said fans could cost themselves additional compensation if they accept that offer.


Davenport out of Fed Cup: Top-ranked Lindsay Davenport withdrew from the United States' Fed Cup team for its semifinal matchup against Russia because of a back injury.

Wimbledon champion Venus Williams will now lead the U.S team.

Mashona Washington, making her Fed Cup debut at age 29, will be the U.S. team's No. 2 singles player.

Seattle Times news services

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