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THE INSIDE TRACK / A look at where they're playing
and what they're saying | MORNING BRIEFING

Why Not Get Comment From Lester Hayes?

September 03, 1998|MARK HEISLER

The surprise wasn't that three New Orleans Saint rookies were hurt in a hazing incident, with one hit in the face with a sock full of coins and another jumping out a window to escape.

The surprise is that it hasn't happened more often, because hazing has gone on a long time.

"I had some guys do some fireworks in my room," Oakland Raider cornerback Albert Lewis, who broke in with the Kansas City Chiefs, told the San Jose Mercury News. "It set my bed on fire, and then they dumped water on me to put it out. There were a couple of days that guys actually chained us in the rooms so we missed the meetings and stuff."

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Add hazing: When Raider kicker Greg Davis was a Tampa Bay rookie in 1987, teammates would wrap his locker in athletic tape. It took him 45 minutes a day to get to his clothes.

"You try to hide your stuff and maybe you'll find it in the toilet or the Jacuzzi," Davis said.

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Last add hazing: After Davis got to be a veteran, it seemed funnier, as when he was with the Arizona Cardinals watching teammates work over rookie Stoney Case.

"Stoney was a pretty boy," Davis said. "Everybody liked him, but he was young and kind of cocky. They were shooting bottle rockets off in his room at 2 a.m. Then they put a catfish head on his doorknob with the lights off."

Once, teammates planted smoke bombs and firecrackers in the engine of Case's pickup truck.

"He comes out of the mess hall that morning and starts his truck up," Davis said. "He's sitting there with his windows rolled up and all of a sudden you see this smoke pour into the cab of the truck and hear these fireworks exploding. I felt bad for him, but it was all in fun."

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Trivia time: Who was the first Yugoslavian player drafted by the Lakers?

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Tough gig: Before everyone starts in on Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf, remember Rick Mirer, second pick in 1993, destined for sure stardom, according to no less an authority than Bill Walsh.

Mirer was a bust with the Seattle Seahawks and no better for the Chicago Bears, who are still asking themselves why they traded a No. 1 pick for him a year ago.

"Having a nonexistent pro personnel department at the time," Coach Dave Wannstedt told the Chicago Sun-Times. "In trying to get as much background on a player as you possibly can in a month's time, it didn't give us a chance to be as thorough as we needed to be.

"I guess there were some decisions made based upon what people were saying and what people thought could happen, rather than the reality of what really was."

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Trivia answer: Kresimer Cosic of Brigham Young, the Lakers' fifth-round pick in 1973.

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And finally: Tom Wheatley of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "The Rams shamelessly grub for every nickel. For both recent exhibition games at the Trans World Dome, the national anthem was brought to you by Boeing. What's next, a corporate logo on the American flag?"

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