Bringing back Nash pays quick dividends for 'Hawks

QUICK KICKS

November 06, 1996|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,SUN STAFF

A week ago, former Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Joe Nash gave away all of his football shoes to his old high school in Boston.

That was supposed to be the symbolic end to his 14-year career.

The Seahawks had traded for Glenn Montgomery of Houston on draft day to replace Nash and no other team was interested in him at age 36. With the season at the halfway point, Nash figured he would never hear from another NFL team.

But when Montgomery was injured, the Seahawks put in an emergency call last week to Nash, who quickly unretired, put on the only pair of shoes he had left and suited up for Sunday's game with the Houston Oilers.

Nash didn't play much, but contributed in a big way with his advice to Michael McCrary on blocking kicks. He told McCrary to keep running and not to jump when trying to block field goals.

Nash told him that kick blockers often attempt to fly at the ball, but the leaping takes a split second. The key, he said, is to find a hole and keep running.

"Because Joe told me, I was able to do it," McCrary said. "I visualized myself getting through a crease. On another field goal, I came close, but I jumped for the ball. Joe made an impact because he said, 'Don't jump.' "

In the final minute of the fourth quarter, Houston's Al Del Greco was trying for his 127th career field goal when McCrary dashed in, blocked the kick, grabbed the ball on the carom and lateraled to Robert Blackmon, who ran 61 yards for a touchdown that gave the Seahawks a 23-16 victory.

McCrary, 26, a fourth-year defensive end, gave all the credit to Nash. "That's what veterans are for," McCrary said.

Much on Holmes' mind

Darick Holmes of the Buffalo Bills endured a family tragedy last Thursday when his 20-year-old brother, Karl, was sentenced to death for his role in the gang slayings of two junior high school students in Pasadena, Calif. A judge will announce on Jan. 25 whether he will impose the death penalty.

"Anything that's negative toward him, it motivates me," Holmes said. "I know I have to work that much harder, mind my Ps and Qs, stay healthy and make things happen for myself. Because whatever I do is going to be good for him," he said.

Holmes, 25, was drafted in the seventh round in 1995 by the Bills and has been a backup to Thurman Thomas. Holmes gained 698 yards last season and has 326 this year, including his 122-yard performance Sunday against the Washington Redskins that included three touchdowns in the Bills' 38-13 victory.

On one 19-yard run, he dragged seven or eight Redskins along with him before being pulled down.

Big hit for Beebe

The Green Bay Packers, who have lost two wide receivers, Robert Brooks and Antonio Freeman, on the field, came close to losing Don Beebe off it.

Beebe and his pregnant wife were driving to Green Bay on an interstate last week when his wife reached down for some change and hit the back of another car. Beebe, in the passenger seat, hit the windshield, but wasn't seriously injured. "The good Lord was with us because the air bag didn't work. We had read about a lady who lost her baby when an air bag hit her," Beebe said.

Beebe also survived two big collisions in Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions. He had the wind knocked out of him making a 21-yard catch at the goal line and was knocked out of the game for a spell with blurred vision on another hit by Bennie Blades. Despite those hits, he caught a 65-yard touchdown pass that wrapped up the Packers' 28-18 win.

Pushing too hard

Playing hurt is an honored tradition in the NFL, but sometimes it's not the best idea.

Bryan Cox of the Chicago Bears played last Sunday with a broken thumb over the objections of everyone from his doctors to his wife.

When he injured his wrist in the game, the doctors wanted him to stay out and have it X-rayed. He went back in. He finally had surgery on the thumb Monday. It turned out the injury was worse than the doctors first thought and he's out for the year.

Ex-Packers show way

The Packers find out a week from Monday if they can finally beat the Dallas Cowboys.

They have lost to the Cowboys seven straight times, but a pair of ex-Packers showed their old team how to do it Sunday.

Ty Detmer, the former Packer who decided to sign with the Eagles as an unrestricted free agent, quarterbacked the Philadelphia Eagles to a 31-21 victory over the Cowboys.

But he needed help from another former Green Bay player, James Willis. A fifth-round pick by the Packers in 1993 who was cut this year, Willis signed with the Eagles and replaced Kurt Gouveia, who went to San Diego, as the middle linebacker.

It was Willis' interception of a Troy Aikman pass in the end zone and his lateral to Troy Vincent that gave the Eagles the clinching touchdown.

Mixed messages

Jerome Bettis of the Pittsburgh Steelers thought he made a statement to the St. Louis Rams when he rushed for 129 yards against his old team Sunday.

He particularly liked a 50-yard touchdown bolt.

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