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SPORTS WEEKEND | AROUND THE NFC / CENTRAL

Warren Commission Report

September 15, 2000|STEVE SPRINGER

One minute, you're a backup guard. The next, you're facing Tampa Bay Buccaneer defensive lineman Warren Sapp.

Nobody said life in the NFL was easy.

James Atkins, the starting left guard for the Detroit Lions Sunday when they play Tampa Bay, knows what he is in for.

"I'm going against the best 'D' lineman in the league and he's not the type of guy that you want to be rusty against," said Atkins, a seven-year veteran. "It's kind of like guarding Michael Jordan. Guys knew that he was going to get his 40 [points], but they wanted to make him work for it. I know he's going to make plays against me, but I have to limit them."

If Sapp is Jordan, does that make receiver Keyshawn Johnson the Dennis Rodman of the Buccaneers? He certainly puts on a show with his flashy talk and big mouth.

But Tampa Bay Coach Tony Dungy has been pleased to find substance under the sizzle.

"He's brought a sense of toughness to our receiving corps," Dungy said. "He's been doing some excellent blocking as well as a guy who can make a big catch and a tough play."

But how about the big mouth?

"In the locker room," Dungy said, "he's definitely increased the decibel level. Between him and Warren, I generally try to stay out of there."

The Green Bay Packers, trying to avoid their first 0-3 start in a dozen years, are hoping that running back Dorsey Levens, recovering from knee surgery, will be ready for the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday.

"Dorsey means a lot to this offense for a lot of reasons," quarterback Brett Favre said. "Dorsey may not be the best runner, may not be the best blocker, may not be the best receiver out of the backfield. But he does every one very well."

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