NFL draft won't leave expansion teams cold

April 17, 1995|By PHIL JACKMAN

Sports of All Sorts:

Mock drafts staged prior to this weekend's real thing by the 30 NFL teams have Penn State's Ki-Jana Carter topping just about all lists with Heisman Trophy winner Rashaan Salaam of Colorado consistently tabbed for the late teens. What makes this a history-making draft is, for once, expansion teams are given every chance to score big in the collegiate grab bag.

Time was when a new franchise had to buy a ticket to the draft, much less be treated to the first two and last two picks of every round as is the case with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Charlotte Panthers.

The Panthers have the first, 32nd and 34th picks while the Jags go for Nos. 2-31-33, and each will end up with 14 selections to seven for the other teams.

Why the sudden show of compassion on the part of the established teams? Well, besides the staggering franchise fees, new teams won't draw any TV loot for a while and someone finally realized it's in no one's best interest to have eyesores like Seattle and Tampa Bay in 1976 (combined record, 2-26) and Miami, Atlanta, New Orleans and Cincinnati all going 3-11 during the 1966-68 expansions.

Steve McNair, the passing phenom from I-AA Alcorn State, is projected to be the first quarterback selected by hours, beating out Kerry Collins (Penn State) and John Walsh (BYU).

* Doesn't it figure that after Bora Milutinovic takes the U.S. soccer team to the second round of the World Cup on the wings of a huge victory over one of the pre-tourney favorites, Colombia, the federation hands the coach a pink slip. Bora's four-year record was 31-36-29 with the national team and several American players are now playing in Europe's strongest leagues, a far cry from the 44-year victory drought the United States endured between 1950 and last summer.

* "The Highlanders and the aggressive Red Sox from up Massachusetts way turned loose an opening day that sent the season into its peppery stages without undue preliminaries and warmed to the heart the greatest and most enthusiastic crowd that ever turned out at the hilltop to welcome the local favorites back to their own bailiwick and get them started properly up the league ladder. . . . A genial sun smote impartially upon the devoted heads of the huge crowd and clavicles of the New York player and Bostonian ball-tosser."

Ah, baseball as it used to be reported, circa 1910, when the Yankees and Red Sox played to a 4-4 tie on Opening Day in mid-April. It was called on account of darkness and the "hilltop" referred to is Coogan's Bluff, site of the Polo Grounds, where the Highlanders/Yankees played prior to Babe Ruth's constructing Yankee Stadium in '23.

* A pen pal, who answers to the name American Association for the Improvement of Boxing Inc., is vigorous in his attempts to spread the word about a study conducted by the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health.

Looking to head off Olympic-style amateur boxing being included with the pro game any time something happens in the latter and a call goes out to ban boxing, the AAIB goes a long way toward accomplishing its mission with the Hopkins Report.

Keeping close tabs of 500 amateur boxers in six cities going all the way back to 1986, the ongoing study suggests strongly that there is no link between participating in Olympic-style boxing and changes in central nervous system function.

As opposed to pro boxing, the AAIB says, "the intent of amateur boxing is not to injure one's opponent, but to score points. It's analogous to fencing with padded fists."

Then, there are the mandatory headgear, the standing eight count, the fact bouts last nine minutes (as opposed to up to a half-hour) and difference in scoring, where a cleanly landed jab counts just as much as a haymaker on the button.

Meanwhile, don't forget tickets can be obtained for the Vincent Pettway-Simon Brown International Boxing Federation junior middleweight title bout at USAir Arena April 29 by calling Ticketmaster, the Arena box office or (410) 528-1932. Between them, Pettway (37-4) and Brown (43-3) have knocked out 60 percent of their opponents.

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