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Sports briefs


NINERS SIGN MORTON: Receiver Johnnie Morton agreed to a two-year contract Tuesday with the San Francisco 49ers, who finally added a veteran wideout to one of the NFL's least impressive receiving corps.

Morton, an 11-year pro, spent the last three seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, who released him June 2 after Morton refused to take a cut in his $3 million salary. He spent his first eight seasons with the Detroit Lions, recording four 1,000-yard campaigns.

Morton could be an immediate starter for the lowly 49ers, who parted ways with Cedrick Wilson and Curtis Conway after going 2-14 last season. Morton joins Brandon Lloyd, Arnaz Battle and tight end Eric Johnson as the top targets for Tim Rattay and No. 1 draft pick Alex Smith.

Morton has caught 603 passes for 8,431 yards and 43 touchdowns in his career.

"Johnnie is our kind of guy," 49ers coach Mike Nolan said. "He is a hardworking professional who will be a great example to our young receivers."

PACK INKS MONTGOMERY: The Green Bay Packers signed sixth-round draft pick Michael Montgomery on Tuesday.

The defensive end out of Texas A&M had 78 tackles, six sacks, 12 tackles for loss and one interception last season, when he earned first-team All-Big 12 honors. Montgomery is the third of 11 draft picks signed by the Packers after offensive linemen Junius Coston and William Whitticker.

'SKINS LOTT INJURED: Washington Redskins safety Andre Lott has a hairline fracture just below his knee, although the team expects him to be ready for training camp. Lott hyperextended the knee during minicamp over the weekend, and tests detected the fracture. He'll be on crutches for four weeks, then will have two weeks to prepare for the start of training camp on Aug. 31.


PLAYER FOUND DEAD: St. Peter's basketball player George Jefferson was found dead in his dorm room Tuesday.

The cause of death was not immediately known, St. Peter's sports information director Timothy Camp said.

"He's a good kid. It's a shock when you see someone in perfect health one day, and he's dead the next," Camp said.

The 20-year-old reserve guard, who was taking classes over the summer and working at a camp for high school basketball players, was found by another student, Camp said. The Queens, N.Y., native was entering his senior season, having averaged 2.7 points a game during his career.


HAWKS UPHEAVAL: The Chicago Blackhawks hired Dale Tallon as their new general manager Tuesday, and he wasted no time firing coach Brian Sutter.

"I've thought about this long and hard for the last six weeks," Tallon said. "This is not about the past, it's about the future. I want to start with a fresh sheet of ice, a clean slate, and move forward into the future."

Under Sutter, the Blackhawks were 91-118-37 in three seasons, and made the playoffs once, in 2001-02. The NHL lockout canceled the 2004-05 season.