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White among those eligible for Hall of Fame

Reggie White, a two-time NFL defensive player of the year who died last year at 43, heads a list of players, coaches, and contributors eligible for induction in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

White is eligible for the first time along with quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Warren Moon. Other first-year eligible players include running back Thurman Thomas, receiver Andre Reed, and center Dermontti Dawson.

NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue and longtime owners Art Modell and Ralph Wilson are on the preliminary list that includes five former head coaches and 11 contributors.

A member of the NFL's 75th anniversary team, White was named to the Pro Bowl a record 13 straight times from 1986-98. He earned top defensive player honors in 1987 and 1998. He retired in 2000 as the career sacks leader with 198, a mark later passed by Bruce Smith.

White, who played with Philadelphia, Green Bay, and Carolina, died Dec. 26 in Cornelius, N.C.

From a preliminary list, Hall of Fame selectors will choose 25 candidates who will advance as semifinalists. That list will be trimmed to 13 candidates, who will join veterans committee nominees John Madden and Rayfield Wright as finalists.

The Class of 2006 will be announced Feb. 4, the day before the Super Bowl in Detroit.

Carswell upgraded

Denver Broncos offensive lineman Dwayne Carswell was upgraded to serious condition yesterday, a day after having his spleen removed and undergoing other surgery after a five-car traffic accident on his way to practice. ''He's doing better, a lot better," coach Mike Shanahan said. ''He's still in the intensive care unit, but they're hoping he can be out of there by tomorrow." A team spokesman said Carswell was breathing without assistance. Aurora, Colo., police issued a summons to Marquita Brister, 22, for investigation of careless driving. Police investigators believe she triggered the crash by making an abrupt lane change . . . Cornerback Terrence McGee signed a four-year contract extension, allowing the Buffalo Bills to lock up their Pro Bowl kickoff returner through 2009. The deal isworth $18 million . . . Chargers fullback Lorenzo Neal, who has blocked for eight straight 1,000-yard rushers, agreed to a two-year extension . . . Pro Bowl cornerback Lito Sheppard could miss the Eagles' game at Denver with ankle woes . . . Baltimore Ravens fullback Alan Ricard was placed on injured reserve, ending his season after six games because of chronic calf injuries . . . Green Bay Packers tight end David Martin might miss tomorrow's game in Cincinnati after straining his right hamstring.

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