Dilfer the worst kind of quarterback sneak

Redman's gooey meltdown left practical joker proud of cheesy stink he raised

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October 14, 2001|By Andy Knobel | Andy Knobel,SUN STAFF

Even if Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck doesn't lose his starting job to Trent Dilfer, he had better watch his back.

Dilfer, who went from Ravens backup to Super Bowl-winning starter last season, has been filling in the past few weeks for the injured Hasselbeck. But he's an even bigger threat as a practical joker.

Dilfer's target last year was current Ravens second-year quarterback Chris Redman.

"One night, I cleaned out Chris' locker," Dilfer told Laura Vecsey of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "I mean, I took everything out of there, vacuumed it out, took off the nameplate and taped a note up there that said, `See [Ravens coach Brian] Billick, ASAP.' The poor kid had tears in his eyes. He walks into Billick's office and asks, `You wanted to see me, coach?' Billick goes, `No ... get out of here. And get me Dilfer!' "

Dilfer is equally proud of the time he wedged a slab of Muenster cheese into the front of Redman's helmet.

"I took out the little piece of padding and put the cheese in there, then went home. It had all night to kind of ferment," Dilfer said. "The next day, we go out to practice and he has no idea. He starts to sweat. I'm laughing.

"Finally, I told the guys and everyone knows what's going on. Billick has to stop practice because we're all rolling on the ground laughing, and Chris has no idea. He takes his helmet off, and he has melted cheese all over his face.

"Maybe that's why they didn't want me back there."

Training wheels

Some ruses are more heart-warming than cheese-warming.

Late this baseball season, strength coach Dennie Taft took the Comerica Park field to lead the Detroit Tigers in their daily pre-game stretching drills.

Taft noticed that his car, a 1989 Chevrolet, was parked in front of the Tigers' dugout and had been spray-painted with graffiti. As Taft was trying to figure out what was going on, with pitcher Jose Lima distracting him, a new car was rolling in from the right-field corner.

A player tossed him the keys to a new Chevy Tahoe SUV, which was paid for by several veteran Tigers as a gift to Taft.

"I got real tired of seeing him drive to the park in that [car]," said Tigers outfielder Bobby Higginson, one of the ringleaders of the Tahoe purchase. "He doesn't make a whole lot of money for what he does. He's a hard worker."

Said Taft: "I knew something had to be up when they abused my car, but this is an unbelievable gesture. This is the most awesome thing that I've ever received. My wife is excited. She kept saying, `That's awesome, that's awesome, that's awesome.' "

Letting the chips fall

Years ago, quarterback Rodney Peete was eating lunch at the Detroit Lions' headquarters at the Pontiac Silverdome when he was told that his Mercedes 500SL had been involved in an accident.

He rushed outside and saw a massive pile of wood chips where the car had been parked. It looked like the driver of a landscaping-company truck had accidentally dumped the chips onto his automobile. All that a stunned Peete could see of the car was a license plate at one end and a bumper at the other.

Moments later, third-string quarterback Erik Kramer drove up in Peete's car. The pile, it turned out, consisted strictly of chips. The license plate had been removed, and the bumper had been rented from a auto-body shop, all part of an elaborate joke for a TV special, Pro Football's Funniest Pranks.

Fun for all ages

The Web site eBay.com recently offered an item for bid under the header: "A fake autographed Danny Almonte baseball."

A description of item No. 1185429691, which didn't come from the disqualified 14-year-old Little League pitcher from the Bronx, N.Y., read:

"This signed baseball is guaranteed to be as fake as his April 7, 1989, birth certificate. Be the first to own this genuine forged signature baseball signed by an imposter of Danny Almonte. Shipping and handling $5, sorry no c.o.d.'s."

The opening bid: $50.

The origin of the item: "Fantasy Land."

Compiled from wire reports and Web sites.

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