TAMPA, Fla. -- New York Giants running back Ottis Anderson got one vote for the Pro Football Hall of Fame yesterday.
It came from Giants coach Bill Parcells and elicited this response from Anderson, 33, during preparations for Super Bowl XXV:
"That's a nice gesture by my head coach. But remember, that's the same guy who left me unprotected the last two years."
It's true that Parcells risked losing Anderson to Plan B free agency each of the last two seasons. But yesterday, he gave his veteran running back a huge endorsement.
"He's a guy I've grown to admire very much since I've gotten to coach him and know him personally," Parcells said. "He's willing to do whatever we think he needs to do to help us win. Help TC young players, encourage them, run the ball 40 times. He doesn't care. Whatever we want, he does.
"Ottis should go to [the Hall of Fame in] Canton. He has too many pelts on the wall. We wouldn't be here without him."
Anderson, acquired from the Cardinals in a 1986 trade, said his motivation is his birth certificate.
"Once you get to a certain age, coaches figure your better days are behind you," he said. "I'm hanging around trying to prove them wrong."
* SUPER TOUGH: The Buffalo Bills feature strong special teams, a trademark of coach Marv Levy's going back to his days as a Redskins assistant under George Allen.
Levy coached the Skins' special teamers in their 1972 Super Bowl season. "Our special teams blocked 18 kicks and allowed 27 yards in punt returns," Levy said. "Of course, we had a punter who kicked short."
* SOUVENIR SEEKER: Bills linebacker Carlton Bailey, a graduate of Woodlawn High and North Carolina, is gathering Super Bowl souvenirs to send to his father, Sgt. Conway Bailey, a supply officer for the Army, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Bailey is collecting pins, programs, media guides, stickers, photos and T-shirts to send to his father's base so the troops can share in the Super Bowl. He's also including a video of Super Bowl activities he's taken with a camcorder.
"I got a letter from him a little while ago and he told me to tell the guys to go out and get a win in the Super Bowl for him, and that's what I'm after," Bailey said. "I'm doing my best to stay focused, but it's hard. Real hard. I try not to watch the news because it gets me so down. But it's hard to stay away because at the same time you want to know what's happening.
"He's constantly in my prayers and I just hope it's over soon and I have the Super Bowl ring to show him when I see him."
* BRAINSTORM: The Giants' Jeff Hostetler was a pretty good quarterback at West Virginia, but he was even better in the classroom, where he compiled a 3.95 grade-point average. He had only one B, in an economic course, when a series of bowl games (Hall of Fame, Hula, Japan) kept him from taking a test.
Hostetler works as a certified financial planner in the offseason.
* MARV'S MINDSET: Levy offered an apology to the attending media and the NFL for skipping out on Tuesday's media day session at Tampa Stadium.
"We started working on the game plan and became immersed in it," he said. "I lost track of time somewhat, and by the time I was aware that I was a little bit late, I felt we were behind in our preparations getting things done and I made a decision that our first priority was to prepare for the game.
"I've been coaching 40 years and this is the game I've been preparing for all my life, and I'm not going to cut a corner on it."
It is possible Levy could be fined by the NFL for failing to show for the interviews.
* BIG PITCH: Asked if he felt defensive coordinator Bill Belichick was ready to become a head coach, Parcells responded in the affirmative.
"I hope some day Bill, or any of my coaches, gets the opportunity to be a head coach," Parcells said. "But I'm not running any auction here."
Belichick reportedly is in the running for the vacant Cleveland Browns' job.