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SUPER BOWL XXXII: DENVER BRONCOS vs. GREEN BAY PACKERS
| NFL NOTES

This Won't Be Reggie White's Last Stand

January 18, 1998|From Times Wire Services

Defensive end Reggie White said he will play another year for the Green Bay Packers, regardless of whether the team wins the Super Bowl, the Wisconsin State Journal reported Saturday.

"I'm coming back," he said in an interview with the newspaper. "I'm going to play another year."

White has been to the Pro Bowl 12 times and is the NFL's career sack leader.

The speculation that White would retire began after the Packers' 41-38 loss at Indianapolis on Nov. 16. White, 36, said pain in his back had robbed the strength from his legs.

"It's been a hard year," he said.

But White's play in the Packers' last six games convinced him he could play another year. In the last six games, he has 5 1/2 sacks and the Packers' defense has given up 10.8 points per game.

His confidence has grown, and so has his disdain for his critics.

"I think it's so irritating," he said. "People say things. They say I take plays off. But I'm still wearing people down. You can see it in games. But the perception has come this year that I'm not."

Last year, when his original contract with the Packers was about to expire, White signed a five-year, $19-million extension.

"They can write me off if they want to," White said. "We win [the Super Bowl] and this team will not only be etched in history, but guys like me and Brett [Favre], we will have put ourselves into a special situation. When I finish playing, people are not going to remember the end of my career, what I was losing. They'll remember what I accomplished."

*

New York investment banker Andy Rodin has made an offer to purchase the Minnesota Vikings, and would consider making a run at Pittsburgh Steeler Coach Bill Cowher to become the team's coach and general manager.

One problem: Steeler owner Dan Rooney wouldn't even think of letting Cowher go.

Rodin told Newsday he has offered to purchase a 60% controlling interest in the Vikings for $122 million, and that, if successful, he would attempt to lure Cowher.

An irate Rooney told Newsday late Friday night that he had never heard of Rodin, nor would he have any intention of letting Cowher, who is under contract, get away.

"This is some screwball that says he's going to buy the Vikings," Rooney said. "Well, then, I'm going to buy Microsoft. It's an out-and-out ridiculous statement. I'm not dealing with it. This is so bizarre. I don't know the man, so why should I even deal with it?"

*

Wrapping up a week of intense preparation for a Super Bowl matchup with the Packers, the Denver Broncos installed the final portion of their game plan.

"We had a good practice," Coach Mike Shanahan said. "It was a normal Friday practice for us, relative to our game plan. We put in our red-zone offense, reviewed our third downs and worked on some first-and-10 situations. I thought it was very spirited. Other than that, it was very uneventful."

Neither wide receiver Ed McCaffrey, who bruised a knee in the AFC championship game last week, nor running back Terrell Davis, who has been nursing bruised ribs since a Dec. 27 wild-card game against Jacksonville, showed any ill effects from their injuries.

"McCaffrey is fine," Shanahan said. "He had no problems. Terrell is 100%. He won't need a flak jacket for this game. He won't even need a [painkilling] shot."

The Broncos will depart this afternoon for San Diego.

Asked if there was anything he couldn't dare forget to take with him, Shanahan said, "The game plan. That's it."

The Broncos play one game each season at Qualcomm Stadium, but Shanahan didn't think such familiarity would be an advantage for his team.

"A field is a field," he said. "They're all the same size. I know it didn't help us in the last Super Bowl we played in San Diego [a 42-10 loss to Washington in 1988]."

*

The homey, small-town story of the Packers being owned by 1,940 shareholders who paid $25 in 1950 to bail out a financially struggling team is changing--dramatically.

By next season, there will be 30,000 to 40,000 more stockholders who dished out $200 a share to support a championship team that makes millions of dollars in profits but decided to tap loyal fans for more money to improve its facilities, including aging Lambeau Field.

Bill Calawerts bought seven shares of stock in the latest offering, one each for his children and one for himself. He isn't worried about the image of the only publicly owned sports team in America being tarnished by the team's big-business tactics to raise capital.

"What this is doing is solidifying it a little bit more," Calawerts said. "There are that many more people interested in keeping the Packers here and making sure it is a hometown thing. I don't think it diminishes it at all."

The team wants to use the money, which could reach $80 million, for improvements to Packer facilities and to begin a fund for the eventual replacement of the stadium in 30 years.

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