|Bucs to honor Mike Alstott|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 17 October 2008 08:17|
The six-time Pro Bowl selection retired this year after 12 seasons with the Bucs. He, along with Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks and John Lynch, helped transform the team from a laughingstock into a Super Bowl champion.
Although he never had a 1,000-yard season, Alstott set career club records for touchdowns (71), TDs rushing (58) and Pro Bowl appearances by an offensive player (six). He sat out all of last season after suffering a neck injury during training camp, then retired in January.
The 34-year-old misses the game, but thinks his transition to life after football was helped by the Bucs allowing him to make road trips and remain around the team even though he wasn't practicing or playing in 2007.
's ceremony no doubt will be emotional.
REDSKINS, COYOTE SKINS: Here's another Jim Zorn hidden talent: The Washington Redskins coach can skin a coyote.
Already known as an avid outdoorsman - mountain biking and kayaking top the list - Zorn this week told the story of how he once dealt with an unfortunate distant relative of Wile E.
``I found roadkill coyote, put it in a bag, shoved it in my trunk,'' Zorn said. ``I thought, 'A coyote kill, this is awesome.' I took it outside, I hung it on a tree right on the waterfront - beautiful waterfront house - and I skinned it. It looked like a yard dog. People thought I was skinning my own dog.''
Zorn then sent the skin to a tannery and got back a nice coyote pelt that rested on the couch in his house for a long time.
But here's the kicker: Zorn performed the feat with no previous experience tanning wild animals.
``I didn't know necessarily how,'' Zorn said, ``I just did it.''
To be fair, Zorn did take a human anatomy course while in college at Cal Poly-Ponoma.
``We learned how to work in the labs on cadavers,'' Zorn said. ``I was doing the same thing with a cadaver.''
WELCOME BACK, TONY: Tony Dungy doesn't have many fond memories of Lambeau Field.
s another shot Sunday when the Colts visit the Packers.
But Dungy does recall one particular victory in the early '90s when he was the defensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings.
``At Lambeau, you used to have to go through the stands to get from the press box to the locker room, and I remember the walking through there and fans saying 'If Mike Holmgren doesn't get rid of this quarterback, we're never going to win,' `` Dungy said. ``I think they won some games after that.''
Was the quarterback Don Majkowski, also known as The Magic Man?
``No, it was a young guy, No. 4, as I recall,'' Dungy said.
And there's part of him that wishes he was back up in the press box this weekend.
``One thing on my wish list is brats,'' Dungy said. ``They have the best brats, by far, of any stadium in the NFL.''
FANTASTIC FINISHES: Of the 88 games played in the NFL this season, 28, or 31.8 percent, have been decided by a fourth-quarter comeback. If that continues, it will be the highest percentage in NFL history, suprassing the 31.3 in 1989, when there were 70 of them.
Last week, five of the 14 games were decided in the final minute or in overtime.
Miami on the final play of the game; and Minnesota's 12-10 victory over Detroit.
The wins by the Rams and Texans were their first of the season.
RUNNING ON EMPTY: At Harvard, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick occasionally got to run an option play and carry the ball. In Cincinnati, he's turned into the Bengals' best runner.
Fitzpatrick has started two games in place of the injured Carson Palmer, who will miss his third game on Sunday with a sore elbow. In both games, Fitzpatrick wound up scrambling for more yards than any running back.
``That's not a good thing,'' offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski said. ``When the quarterback's the leading rusher, that's not a good thing. It's good that he can make plays out of the pocket, but when he's the leading rusher, obviously we've got issues.''
Do they ever.
The offensive line has gotten pushed around all season, leaving little room to run. Chris Perry has 253 yards on 96 carries, an average of only 2.6 per try. Next on the list? Fitzpatrick, with 64 yards on 10 carries in two games. The only one of those plays that wasn't improvised was a 1-yard touchdown run in a 26-14 loss to the Jets last Sunday.
``There are no designed run plays (for quarterbacks) in the offense, probably in any NFL offense,'' Fitzpatrick said. ``It's just stuff that happens. I just do whatever pops into my mind in that moment.''
often. The Bengals are second-to-last in the league in rushing with an average of 72.2 yards per game. Two of their top three rushers are quarterbacks: Fitzpatrick and Palmer. It can't continue to be that way.
``Obviously you never want your quarterback to be the leading rusher,'' Fitzpatrick said.
BLACK HOLE WARNING: Tony Richardson knows exactly what to expect when the New York Jets take the field in Oakland on Sunday.
The veteran fullback spent the first 11 years of his career with the Kansas City Chiefs, so he could always count on a colorful visit to Oakland's Black Hole every season.
``It's a circus,'' Richardson said with a chuckle. ``It's a fun place to play. It's going to be rowdy. They know anything about you, and you better believe there is going to be a sign up about you.''
And the fans make sure opposing teams feel uncomfortable, regardless of age.
``This lady was 75 years old and she was in a wheelchair,'' Richardson recalled. ``I was thinking she was going to raise her finger up to wave to us and she shot us the bird. I said, 'If at 75 years old, you're still shooting birds to the opposing team, that lets you know that fans are passionate.'''
Raiders in that game.
``They're a spirited group of different individuals,'' Barton said of Raiders fans. ``They love football there. It's going to be loud and it's probably going to be the first time a lot of (players) have seen something like this.''
CAMP HOPE: San Diego Chargers All-Pro cornerback Antonio Cromartie is helping raise money for Camp HOPE, a backcountry retreat for at-risk, abused and neglected children that was heavily damaged during the wildfires a year ago.
NetRaffle.org is hosting a raffle through the morning of Dec. 1. Tickets cost $2 apiece, with a minimum purchase of five.
``Their supplies and everything got destroyed in the Witch Fire, so with that we're just coming together and trying to raise money to help out over there,'' Cromartie said.
The raffle winner will receive two tickets and two sideline passes for the Chargers' home game against the Oakland Raiders on Dec. 4; a private, one-hour clinic with Cromartie in the offseason; and an autographed jersey.
AP Football Writers Barry Wilner and Dave Goldberg, and Sports Writers Bernie Wilson in San Diego, Michael Marot in Indianapolis, Dennis Waszak Jr. in New York, Joe Kay in Cincinnati, Joseph White in Washington, and Fred Goodall in Tampa contributed to this story.