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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

He Earned His Sorry Reputation

November 16, 2000|MAL FLORENCE

Tom Cushman in the San Diego Union-Tribune: "When Ryan Leaf made his artful slide across the 45-yard line during Sunday's final quarter [against the Miami Dolphins], and then remained prone until medical assistance arrived, I found myself wondering how many Charger fans were at that moment unconvinced that the prodigy was really injured.

"That a strained hamstring subsequently was confirmed isn't the point. When people would even think that a professional athlete with a contract large enough to sink a franchise might fake an injury, that's sad.

"It also speaks of the self-profile Ryan Leaf has developed during three seasons of team sabotage."

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Trivia time: Who are the two former football players from USC and UCLA who played in six cross-town rivalry games?

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You heard it here first: "Saturday Night Live" took a shot at CBS News and anchor Dan Rather, with Darrell Hammond portraying Rather giving updates on NBA games that were not yet over, announcing projected winners with his colorful language.

Then he suddenly proclaimed, "This just in . . . CBS News projects . . . the Utah Jazz as the 2000-01 NBA champions."

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Compelling question: From Mike Bianchi of the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel: "Here's all I want to know in the mysterious case of Wendell Avery, the Tampa Bay Bucs' assistant [coach] who was missing last week: Did he vote or not?"

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Rubbing it in: Woody Paige in the Denver Post: "Tuesday morning gloating and floating.

"Those Mile High-and-Mighty Denver Broncos beat the low-and-vile Oakland Raiders in the last second of the last drive in the last hurrah of the last Monday night at venerable Mile High Stadium."

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Really rubbing it in: Jay Leno on Charger owner Alex Spanos threatening to leave San Diego for Sacramento if the city does not give the team a better stadium:

"Actually, he would have gone even farther away, but there are laws against transporting toxic waste."

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Some elf: Tom FitzGerald in the San Francisco Chronicle: "John Salley, who retired from the NBA this year, plays an elf in the upcoming Disney Channel film 'The Ultimate Christmas.'

"A 6-foot-11 elf? Sounds like a stretch to us."

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Yawn: Former USC quarterback Mike Rae, recalling the 1971 UCLA-USC game that ended in a 7-7 tie: "That was the most boring game in the history of football."

No oil can needed: Kevin B. Blackistone of the Dallas Morning News on beat-up Dallas Cowboy quarterback Troy Aikman: "For the first time in weeks after playing a football game, Aikman was able to tie his own shoes. He was able to amble about with a lot more dexterity than the Tin Man."

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Looking back: On this day in 1929, USC lost to Notre Dame, 13-12, before 112,912 at Soldier Field in Chicago.

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Trivia answer: Trojan John Ferraro and Bruin Don Paul, who played in 1943, 1944, 1946 and 1947.

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Note: USC and UCLA met twice in 1943 and '44, during World War II years in which Stanford, Washington State, Oregon and Oregon State dropped football.

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And finally: Gore voted for Bush and Bush backed Gore during the presidential election. Jovon Bush is a defensive tackle and Buddy Gore Jr. is a kicker on the Clemson football team.

Neither of the players is related to the candidates. Gore said he voted for the Texas governor, who won the state of South Carolina, after supporting him throughout the campaign.

Bush said he he pulled for the vice president, but couldn't get to the polls last week to vote.

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