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THE INSIDE TRACK | Morning Briefing

The Billion-Dollar Team

September 01, 1998|MARK HEISLER

It was nice of the NFL to let the Cleveland Browns back in so quickly. Of course, the winner of the seven syndicates in the auction may wind up having to pay $700 million for the expansion team, which would only break the record for expansion franchises by something like $500 million.

The price may climb to $900 million and unabashedly mercenary owners like Malcolm Glazer of Tampa Bay and Al Davis of the Raiders have mentioned $1 billion.

The Cleveland Press reported that backlash from a billion-dollar price tag muzzled owners at recent league meetings, where Brown candidates were instructed not to discuss price.

Said candidate Al Lerner, "Whatever anybody does here is going to be the highest price paid for a sports franchise in the history of this planet."

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Et tu, Broncos? In case you wondered what that "EAS" on the caps that players such as Shannon Sharpe and Bill Romanowski wear in interviews stands for, it's Experimental and Applied Sciences, a company in Golden, Colo., that makes creatine and androstenedione.

Creatine, which targets high school boys in TV ads with scenes of bulked-up guys in letter jackets and cheerleaders, is a bigger seller and less controversial, so the company isn't trumpeting its "andro" line right now.

"I would venture to say our product that includes androstenedione makes up only a fraction of our sales. I would venture to say it's less than 5%," EAS marketing director Jim Nagle told the Denver Post.

Nevertheless, that 5% may be dangerous.

"People say androstenedione is natural, so it can't be bad," Houston Astros physician Bill Bryan told Kiszla. "That blows my mind. Nicotine is natural. Turpentine is a natural substance. Arsenic is natural."

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Trivia question: Which two players went to the Angels from the Milwaukee Brewers for Dante Bichette in 1991?

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Mike? Mike? Tim Floyd, presumed coach of the Chicago Bulls, has hired his first assistant--another college coach, Jim Wooldridge of Louisiana Tech, who was once Floyd's teammate there.

Said Wooldridge, "I'm looking forward to learning the professional game from the returning members of the Bulls' staff."

What do you suppose Michael Jordan, still officially pondering his retirement, thought when he heard that one?

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Trivia answer: Dave Parker and Brandy Vann.

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And finally: New York Post TV critic Phil Mushnik, on reports that the Jets' Keyshawn Johnson told some of the Giants he's "a bona fide gangsta thug" and a member of the Bloods: "Given the modern marketing strategies of sneaker companies, we wonder if Johnson wasn't merely following instructions."

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