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SPORTS WEEKEND | AROUND THE AFC / AFC CENTRAL

Fair Game, and Fair Play

September 29, 2000|STEVE SPRINGER

In an age where players like San Francisco's Terrell Owens rush to midfield after a touchdown to taunt opponents, Rob Burnett's attitude is refreshing.

He has sympathy for the opposition.

Imagine that.

The Baltimore Raven defensive end sent Cincinnati Bengal quarterback Akili Smith out of last Sunday's game with a concussion.

"I try to play hard and fair. I talked to [Smith] after the game, and I'm glad he was all right because I'm not trying to hurt anybody," Burnett said. "I was very upset when that happened."

Perhaps the 33-year-old Burnett can empathize because it has taken him four years to fully recover from an injury to his knee.

Or perhaps Burnett is simply a decent person, not always the norm in the NFL these days.

Bengal officials have not discussed the terms or length of the contract given to their new coach, 62-year-old Dick LeBeau, the replacement for Bruce Coslet, who resigned Monday.

Said Cincinnati owner Mike Brown of his new coach: "If we do well, he would stay the head coach well into the future."

Not very comforting to someone coaching the Bengals.

Jacksonville's starting center, John Wade, broke a bone in his foot Monday against Indianapolis, leaving the Jaguar offensive line with just two regulars from a year ago: Pro Bowl tackle Tony Boselli and fellow tackle Zach Wiegert.

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