The Miami Dolphins and Los Angeles Raiders took on sumo wrestlers, eager Japanese college hopefuls and sweltering heat in Tokyo yesterday in preparation for their exhibition game.
TC The East's meeting with the West began yesterday morning when Dolphins and Raiders quarterbacks Dan Marino and Jay Schroeder and Raiders offensive guard Todd Peat hammed it up for photographers with former sumo grand champion Onokuni.
During the short photo session, Marino gave Onokuni -- who weighs a formidable 414 pounds -- pointers on how to throw the ball, while Peat, who says he is 100 pounds lighter than Onokuni, showed another wrestler how to get down into a three-point stance.
Then, after enduring midday practice in 95-degree heat, both teams held a clinic for hundreds of players from colleges in the Tokyo area.
The two teams will play Sunday -- tonight in the United States -- in the Japanese version of the American Bowl.
* COWBOYS: The hole in the Texas Stadium roof may be closing soon, if Irving, Texas, voters approve alcohol sales at the facility.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Irving Mayor Roy Brown say they intend to begin talks this month about building a dome on Texas Stadium. Brown said Irving's participation depends on whether city residents vote Aug. 10 to rescind the ban on beer and wine sales at the stadium.
"You can't go to the expense to dome the stadium if you can't get events to fill it. Events always require that vendors be able to sell beer," said Brown
* STEELERS: Terry Long, recovering from a suicide attempt, remains on the 80-man roster but hasn't decided when -- or if -- he will return to training camp, coach Chuck Noll said.
"I've talked to him," Noll said. "I asked him what his plans were and he said he doesn't really know right now."
Long checked out of Pittsburgh's Allegheny General Hospital on Wednesday, a week after twice attempting to kill himself. Long's pending suspension by the NFL for testing positive for steroids prompted the attempt, according to police reports. That, and stories suggesting that Carlton Haselrig might beat him out for his starting job.
"Terry kept reading all over the place other people's opinions," Noll said. "What you have to do is have the resolve to go out and earn the spot. Competition shouldn't put you in the tank. Competition should be a spur. If it's not, you have a problem."
Long has hired an attorney, George Saunders, to handle the appeal of his steroids test to NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue. He is eligible to practice while his case is under appeal, but hasn't told the Steelers when he will return to camp.
Before returning to practice, Long would have to take a physical and test negative for steroids. The first test was given July 11 and, if he has not used steroids since then, he could test negative.
However, a negative test wouldn't save Long from a possible four-game suspension, which would be based only on the first sample.
* PACKERS: Rookie running back Chuck Webb, who underwent major reconstructive surgery on his right knee last September, faces another operation to repair torn cartilage in the same knee.
Webb, a third-round draft choice out of Tennessee, sustained cartilage damage Thursday on his second day of practice since ending a 16-day holdout earlier in the week and signing a three-year contract.
The team predicted Webb would be out at least five weeks.
* BENGALS: All-Pro strong safety David Fulcher was wheeled from the field after sustaining a hip pointer in Cincinnati's pre-season game against Detroit last night.
Fulcher, an All-Pro for Cincinnati the past three seasons, was injured on the last play of the first quarter in a pileup and missed the rest of the game.
Fulcher, 6-foot-3, 238 pounds, had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee during the offseason, and had his left leg extended when he was taken from the field in a wheelchair.