Sapp is most vocal in anti-Collins sentiment

On The NFL

October 25, 1998|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,SUN STAFF

Maybe Warren Sapp should take a page from Kevin Greene and join the pro wrestling circuit.

With his trashing of quarterback Kerry Collins the past two weeks, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defensive tackle sounds like he's ready for the WWF.

Sapp, who called Collins a "coward" after the quarterback's controversial departure from the Carolina Panthers, will be on the same field with him today when the Buccaneers meet the Saints in New Orleans.

Collins won't play unless there's an emergency, but Sapp hasn't backed down.

"If he doesn't like if, if he's got a personal problem with it, then see me afterward in the parking lot," Sapp said. "If he's in there, I'm going to hunt him. That's just my job. That's what they pay me to do. I'm sure he hasn't learned the [Saints'] system yet. He'll be hurting his ballclub. I don't think he wants to do that to another team, does he?"

Collins, who's third on the Saints' depth chart behind Billy Joe Tolliver and Danny Wuerffel, said he could play if needed, and coach Mike Ditka said Collins could be today's backup.

"I'm obviously not going to have a whole grasp and mastery of everything," Collins said. "But I definitely will be ready to play if needed."

Collins seems puzzled about Sapp's outbursts.

"Warren has a track record, too," he said. "I think it speaks for itself really. I'm not sure people in glass houses should be throwing stones. But he said it and that's fine. He's entitled to his opinion."

Collins was referring to the fact that Sapp dropped to the 12th spot in the 1995 draft -- Collins went fifth -- after testing positive for marijuana at the scouting combine. Sapp had denied reports that he failed multiple drug tests in college.

Collins, who has been labeled a quitter, racist and heavy drinker, but still took Carolina to the NFC title game two years ago, said, "To me, it makes him look bad saying those kinds of things. I don't know if he has anything against me. I don't know if I've wronged him at some point in the past. I don't have a beef with the guy. But apparently, he has a beef with me."

In any case, you won't see Collins on any of the TV pre-game

shows defending himself. The Saints are turning down all national media interview requests, although the quarterback talks to the New Orleans media in the locker room.

The Saints want to try to put his Carolina days behind him, so they won't expose him to national interviews unless he becomes the starter.

Meanwhile, Ditka insists Collins will eventually play for the Saints.

"I'm going to play Collins down the line," he said. "It just depends on when."

Advice for Ravens

Sam Wyche, the CBS announcer who's doing his second straight Ravens game today at Green Bay, knows what Ted Marchibroda is going through as the Ravens struggle in the final year of his contract. Wyche has been fired twice as a head coach, in Cincinnati and Tampa Bay.

In Cincinnati, the Bengals replaced him with David Shula and the team collapsed.

But in Tampa Bay he was fired when he thought the team was on the verge of becoming a playoff team, and it did under Tony Dungy.

"I didn't say this to Ted, but I thought his team was farther ahead of the team I left in Tampa," Wyche said. "If I could throw some advice [to the Ravens], I'd say stay the course [with Marchibroda]. If you do change, uncertainty enters into it. You will have to go through an adjustment period."

Incidentally, would Wyche returns to the sideline a third time?

He said it'd have to be the "right situation." That probably means he'd have to be offered a job.

Langham a bust?

Former Ravens cornerback Antonio Langham could wind up being a free-agent bust in San Francisco.

After having a good game against the Saints, he was torched by the Indianapolis Colts last week and has been benched. He also sprained an ankle trying to cover Marvin Harrison on a 61-yard touchdown catch. He has given up six touchdown passes, three Harrison, and been charged with eight penalties.

"It's a strange one because he came in here with a good reputation," said 49ers coach Steve Mariucci.

Said Langham: "Whatever happens, happens. You know what happens when they beat you. You've got to deal with it as it comes."

The 49ers gave Langham a $3.2 million signing bonus as part of a $17 million deal.

The consensus around the league is that the 49ers overrated Langham, who at best is an average player, because he wasn't challenged often in Baltimore. Opposing teams were too busy toasting DeRon Jenkins and Donny Brady to bother with him.

Once Langham arrived in San Francisco, he became a target and his confidence was shattered.

Mariucci said the team will try to rebuild his confidence.

"I think it will be a gradual thing," he said. The 49ers, though, may just have to write off their investment in Langham.

Meanwhile, they'll move Darnell Walker to his side now that Marquez Pope is ready to return to the lineup.

It shows how far the Ravens have to go when one of their starters goes to a contending team and promptly gets benched.

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