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Wednesday, June 4
Lack of evidence leads to Smith's acquittal news services

Washington Redskins: Bruce Smith was acquitted of drunken driving Wednesday when a judge ruled that the evidence was not enough to support a conviction.

The Redskins defensive lineman was charged with driving drunk on Shore Drive on April 27 after a police officer stopped him for speeding.

Smith's blood-alcohol registered 0.07 on a breath test, just below the state legal limit of 0.08. Smith also failed a field sobriety test administered by the police office.

After a short trial, General District Judge Pamela Hutchens found Smith not guilty of drunken driving but guilty of speeding.

Smith was charged with driving 61 mph in a 45 mph zone. The judge convicted him of a lesser speeding charge after admitting evidence that Smith's speedometer was improperly calibrated.

"Justice was served,'' Smith said.

Baltimore Ravens: Three-year veteran safety Anthony Mitchell, a restricted free agent, has re-signed with the Baltimore Ravens, netting a one-year contract for $605,000. The contract equals the qualifying offer the Ravens made to Mitchell in February, to retain a right of first refusal in the event he signed an offer sheet with another club.

A standout special teams player, Mitchell started a career-best six games in 2002, two at strong safety and four at free safety. He registered 31 tackles, three interceptions and also three passes defensed, all career highs. Mitchell also had 12 special teams tackles.

Mitchell, 28, is expected to contend for a starting job this season in a revamped Ravens secondary, but will face stiff competition because of some offseason upgrades.
--Len Pasquarelli

New York Jets: The Jets on Wednesday signed kicker Clay Rush, who has played the past five seasons in the Arena Football League, to a one-year contract. The deal is believed to be for the league minimum of $225,000.

Rush will compete with veteran Doug Brien, signed as a free agent earlier this spring, for the starting job. The Jets are attempting to replace John Hall, who signed as a free agent with the Washington Redskins three months ago. Rush was named the AFL's top kicker in 2003, an honor he also won in 2000, while playing with the Iowa Barnstormers.

The former Missouri Western star led AFL kickers this season with 154 points, converting 24 of 46 field goal attempts and 82 of 96 extra point tries.
--Len Pasquarelli

Buffalo Bills: The Bills continued to add more to their rebuilt defense by reaching a one-year, $680,000 agreement with Rams strong safety Chad Cota, including a $25,000 signing bonus.

Cota, 31, is entering his ninth season and will be joining his fifth team. He's played with the Panthers, Saints, Colts and Rams. Cota becomes the 12th veteran addition to the Bills. Earlier, the Bills signed Izell Reese, a safety, to a four-year, $3.2 million contract.

Cota's contract will count only $475,000 against the Bills salary cap.
--John Clayton

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