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THE NFL : It's No Picnic for Johnson


Rivers said: "I'll never find out unless you run it out."

In the third quarter, Woodson fumbled a kickoff and Rivers recovered.


A year ago, former Maryland coach Bobby Ross was the toast of San Diego for taking the team to the playoffs.

Now with the team struggling, he's getting booed at home.

"I had a number of fans who cussed me when I came off the field," he said. "And I understand their frustrations. But you have to understand I'm frustrated, too. I'm putting in 18 hours a day."

Ross, incidentally, is strongly denying rumors that he's unhappy in the NFL and is thinking about returning to the college ranks.

Ross said: "I very much expect to be here next year unless they fire me."


When Bernie Kosar was released by Cleveland, he left a farewell message in the locker room: "Good luck, guys, 19."

The message disappeared last week. It was washed off or painted over.

Cornerback Terry Taylor said: "I don't know who erased it, but they should have left it there for the whole year. I'm still saddened about it. If Bernie was here, I really do believe that we would have beaten Seattle, for one. I still wish he was here. But that's not my decision."

The Browns are 0-2 since Kosar was shipped out.

Taylor is one many Cleveland veterans expected to try to leave in the off-season because they're unhappy with Coach Bill Belichick.


When Coach Chuck Knox of the Rams benched veteran Jim Everett for T.J. Rubley last week, there was speculation he would cut Everett. After all, Everett wasn't a fan favorite the way Kosar was in Cleveland. There would have been no backlash.

But Knox decided to keep Everett and release Mike Pagel.

"Jim Everett, in my opinion, can still play in the league," Knox said.

Belichick could have saved himself a lot of grief if he had followed the Knox model. Everett is expected to leave at the end of the year, but it's easier to do these things in the off-season.


Joe Bugel's job is on the line when the Phoenix Cardinals meet the New York Giants Sunday. Owner Bill Bidwill told him he'd have to go 9-7 to save his job and he's now 3-7. The unanswered question is whether Bugel will be fired once he loses the eighth game or whether Bidwill will wait until the end of the season.

Bugel, meanwhile, remains upbeat. "That stuff doesn't really bother me or this football team. We're going to give it our dead-level best in the final six games," he said.

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