NFC notebook

September 26, 1999|By Vito Stellino

East

Defensive lineman Michael Strahan, who just signed a $32 million deal, was upset when coach Jim Fassel said after a 50-21 loss to Washington that the Giants didn't take advantage of their one-on-one pass rush situations. Strahan felt he was double-teamed all day. "Well, you show me when I was one-on-one. I didn't go from good to terrible. None of us on the defensive line went from good to terrible. I don't know what he saw, but if that's what he saw, he's the head coach. But if I don't agree with what he saw, so be it," Strahan said. It's not good news for Fassel when his highest-paid player is publicly disagreeing with him. After Philadelphia kicker Norm Johnson was late getting on the field for a field-goal attempt in the final seconds of the first half last week, coach Andy Reid said Johnson will be glued to special teams coach John Harbaugh. "We're going to keep him standing next to us." Brad Johnson has the Redskins off to a 2-0 start, but the big question is whether he can stay healthy. Ravens coach Brian Billick, Johnson's former mentor in Minnesota, says Johnson's injury history was one of the reasons why he didn't trade for him. "If Brad Johnson indeed stays healthy and plays the way he is playing now, I'll second-guess not giving up three draft picks. If Brad unfortunately isn't that lucky and like I said, I know him like a son, then it'll look different," Billick said. Arizona's Jake Plummer, playing with a dislocated thumb, has seven interceptions and one touchdown pass. A bye this week bodes well for the Cowboys because their starting cornerbacks, Deion Sanders and Kevin Smith, are both still ailing.

Central

In an interview with Fox's Terry Bradshaw last week, Brett Favre's wife, Deanna, said she was ready to divorce the quarterback if he didn't stop drinking. She said she told Favre, "Brett, I love you to death. We have been together since we were little kids. We have been through a lot together. I was with you before you started drinking, and I want to be with you after you stop drinking. But I would like for you to be alive for this." He has since stopped, and his wife said, "He's a totally different person." The Vikings have the same regular-season record as the Packers in the 1990s (86-60), but the Vikings are 2-6 in the playoffs, and the Packers are 9-5 with two Super Bowl appearances. Detroit guard Tony Semple got a standing ovation last week from Lions fans when he refused a ride on the cart and walked off the field on his own after passing out in the wake of suffering a dislocated elbow. "I wasn't trying to be a hero. Anytime you can walk off on your on in this game, it's a positive," he said.

West

New Orleans has a bye, which gives Ricky Williams' dislocated elbow another week to heal, but coach Mike Ditka had no problems playing with pain in his day. He said he once played with a dislocated shoulder that popped out three weeks in a row. "Then I got tired of dislocating it, so I put a brace on it, and I played the rest of the season. And caught the highest amount of passes I ever caught in football." He then paused and said, "But then, I'm Iron Mike." Trailing Jacksonville 15-14 with 1: 55 left last week, Carolina appeared to let James Stewart run 44 yards for a touchdown so they could get the ball back and try to get eight points to tie the game. The strategy almost worked when the Panthers scored a touchdown, but failed to get the two-point conversion. The Panthers also denied they deliberately let Stewart score. Jamal Anderson was unhappy when coach Dan Reeves suggested his holdout might have contributed to the knee injury that knocked him out for the year. "I just won't even address that," Anderson said. "It was disheartening to me and my family and the reaction -- positive or negative -- is irrelevant." ...San FRancisco ranked second in third-down conversions last year, are last this year.

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