local

'Prep Rally' honors Berkmar's Brown

• "Gwinnett Prep Rally," the county's high school sports program, airs highlights from Central Gwinnett-Parkview, Brookwood-Grayson, Buford-Cross Keys and Berkmar-Meadowcreek. Featured athletes include Berkmar's Alex Brown, player of the week, and Peachtree Ridge's Cameron Heyward, team leader.

"Gwinnett Prep Rally" airs each Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Comcast Channel 25 and each Wednesday and Thursday at 9:30 p.m. on Charter Cable 19. It also airs on GCPS each Thursday at 10:30 p.m. and Friday at 6 p.m.

national

Knicks, Brown reach settlement on contract

• NEW YORK - The Larry Brown era officially ended two days before the New York Knicks' season opener.

Brown and the Knicks reached a settlement on the $40 million remaining in the fired coach's contract Monday night, a week before NBA commissioner David Stern was expected to rule. Terms were not disclosed.

''At my request, the New York Knicks and Larry Brown have agreed to a compromise resolution of the dispute between them,'' Stern said in a statement. '

Mississippi State says football player dismissed

• STARKVILLE, Miss. - Freshman wide receiver Keith Mills has been dismissed from the Mississippi State football team and faces disciplinary action from the university, the school announced Tuesday.

Mills, from Alexandria, La., was arrested Monday night on charges of burglary and uttering forgery, the university said in a statement. It said the theft involved a fellow student-athlete who lived in the same university residence hall.

Astros decline Bagwell's option

• HOUSTON - Jeff Bagwell's $18 million option was declined Tuesday by the Houston Astros, who will give their career home run and RBIs leader a $7 million buyout to complete an $85 million, five-year contract.

The 38-year-old Bagwell missed last season because of an arthritic right shoulder, and the Astros tried to recoup about $15.6 million in insurance.

''Everyone knew this was going to happen," Bagwell told KRIV-TV in Houston. "It is part of the business. I'm OK with it. This is not a sad day.''

Merriman drops appeal, begins suspension

• SAN DIEGO - The San Diego Chargers must play their next four games without outside linebacker Shawne Merriman, one of the NFL's top young stars who decided Tuesday not to appeal his suspension for testing positive for steroids.

Merriman's suspension is another blow to one of the NFL's toughest defenses, which has been hit by injuries and off-field trouble since before the season started. Nicknamed ''Lights Out'' because of his punishing hits, he'll be shut down for games against Cleveland, Cincinnati, Denver and Oakland.

- From staff, wire reports