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SPORTS WEEKEND | WEEK 9 PRIMER : Around the NFC / WEST

Good Things Happen to Those Who Believe

October 30, 1998

New Orleans Coach Mike Ditka, a.k.a. Dear Abby, says the solution to quarterback Kerry Collins' woes is, in part, a woman.

"I think he's probably got to have a female in his life, and I think he's got to have a meaningful relationship with our Lord," Ditka said. "I think those things have to happen. . . . Until you come full circle spiritually, it's pretty hard to deal with the rest of the stuff in the world."

Ditka's sermon continued: "I want to ask him a few questions about what he thinks is important in the aspects of his life--and about what he believes in. He's got to believe in something. Is it tomorrow? The sun? The leaves and the trees? Taking walks? If you believe in all that stuff, then you should believe in the creator of all that stuff."

Collins said later he isn't currently dating anyone.

Ditka will stay with Billy Joe Tolliver at quarterback, although he considered starting Collins this Sunday against the team that labeled Collins a quitter and cut him.

"That would please too many people, and I'm not going to do that," Ditka said. "I just don't like the environment. If he has to play, it's one thing. But to put him out there, I just think there's too many sharks in the water."

Ram offensive coordinator Jerry Rhome was angry because the 49ers were still throwing the ball late in a convincing win, and he said so to his San Francisco counterpart, Marty Mornhinweg, as the two coaching staffs left the press box at game's end to return to the locker rooms. Witnesses said there were curse words exchanged, papers went flying and there was some pushing and shoving. The Rams probably lost that skirmish too.

CENTRAL / Bears to Start Enis, Who Runs From Past

The Bears, winners of three of their last four (and that tells you how bad this league is this year), will start rookie Curtis Enis at running back. Enis, slow to be accepted by the Chicago faithful after acknowledging a drinking problem and being accused of sexual assault, has also struggled to establish himself on the playing field.

He said he hasn't had a drink since June 2 and could not be happier after marrying a former stripper, who is currently pregnant, this summer.

"For the first time I am with a woman who is able to make me understand who I am, who will make sure I'm the husband and father I should be," said Enis, and maybe Ditka's right about what might cure Collins.

How bad is the Packers' running attack? San Francisco quarterback Steve Young has rushed for 205 yards--one more than the Packers' leading rusher, Travis Jervey.

EAST / Is It Time for Redskins to Get Back in the Race?

The Redskins are 0-7, but they received a ringing endorsement from New York Giant Coach Jim Fassel: "They're going to beat somebody."

The Giants?

The NFC East race might very well come down to the Cowboys and Giants, who have essentially the same remaining schedule with one exception: New York plays San Francisco and Dallas plays New Orleans. Advantage New York. . . . Hey, just a joke.

The Eagles are 1-6 and Coach Ray Rhodes probably will be dispatched at season's end, but if anyone thinks he might beat them to it and quit, forget it.

"Ray Rhodes is not Jim Mora," Rhodes said, referring to Mora's abrupt resignation in New Orleans. "I've been getting my ass kicked. I'm one and bleeping six. Do you think I like it? Do you think during summer camp and last off-season, I'm thinking we're going to be bleeping one and six at the break?

"Are you going to quit your job? Are you going to quit bleeping writing tomorrow? When this thing's over, owner Jeffrey Lurie is going to do what he has to do. I'm man enough to accept whatever it is."

You're bleeping right.

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