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As Ravens See Inspiration, He Prefers Incarceration

January 28, 2001|T.J. SIMERS

TAMPA, Fla. — Had he been available, I'm quite confident Jeffrey Dahmer would have been Baltimore Coach Brian Billick's first choice to talk about doing whatever is necessary to win the Super Bowl today.

O.J. Simpson might have related well one-on-one to Ray Lewis, but Billick has to worry about whipping the whole team into a frenzy, and so he selected Los Angeles' very own Jim Brown to make the keynote address to his team.

Brown can tell the guys, "If I had to run over my own wife or girlfriend to win the game, you know I probably would."


YOU HAVE SOME people playing for the Ravens who think domestic violence is a description and compliment for what they do, and say what you want to a football player, but they only respect someone who can walk the talk like Brown.

According to an Associated Press story last year, Brown has been charged six times for alleged attacks on women over the years, the first five incidents resulting in charges being dropped because the women involved did not choose to testify against him. Maybe that's why Lewis was hugging Brown on the Ravens' practice field the other day.

A year ago at this time, however, a judge in L.A. ordered Brown to spend six months in jail for refusing to attend domestic violence counseling--one of his probation conditions for smashing his wife's car with a shovel. The judge allowed him to remain free while he appealed the conviction.

I'm surprised someone didn't produce a Kerry Collins mannequin dressed in full Giant gear, allowing Brown to smash him to pieces with a shovel to close his remarks to the team.

"Jim brings a very powerful message. . . ." Billick said.

And so does Billick, taking arrogance to a new high, and letting everyone know there is no time for sensitivity training when there's a Super Bowl to be played. The only thing I'm surprised about is the NFL didn't think of finding a corporate sponsor for Brown's pep talk--like maybe "Big Bob's Bail Bonds."

"Having now come full circle [with Brown]," Billick said, "and these guys going through all the things people said they wouldn't be able to do, and to stand now on top of the mountain--Jim kind of represents that to these guys."

I guess when the Ravens take the field, it's time to hide the women and children. Well, at least the women.


SOURCES TELL ME that the White House has already prepared a statement for President Bush to read in the event the Cowboys do not win Sunday's Super Bowl: "The Giants win the pennant, the Giants win the pennant."


THE GIANTS, BY the way, will win the Super Bowl, 20-10, and Britney Spears will be selected MVP.


AT SOME POINT today you might find yourself hoping one of those rolling blackouts puts you out of your misery.


MY FAVORITE PROPOSITION bet on the Super Bowl is who will score the most? The Giants and Ravens combined or Kobe Bryant against the New York Knicks?

It's not a fair bet, because everyone will be urging the Giants and Ravens to score, while Phil Jackson will want Kobe to pass the ball.

You can also wager on whether Trent Dilfer will complete more passes than Shaquille O'Neal misses free throws against the Knicks.

I think it would be more interesting one morning to take them to the Santa Monica Pier and ask each one of them to try and hit the Pacific Ocean--before nightfall.


WHEN LYNN SWANN came to USC as a freshman, Sandy Gregory was working in the sports information department. Thirty years later, she was standing in the room here when it was announced that Swann had made the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and she could not stop crying.

"Of all the athletes that I dealt with in my time at USC, he was No. 1," said Gregory, working now for the Seattle Seahawks. "What a wonderful man, a great athlete and a tremendous friend."

Swann's name had come up for Hall of Fame consideration for the last 14 years, and Swann, knowing from experience that if the telephone had not rung on the Saturday before the Super Bowl at 11:30 a.m., had already called his wife to tell her he had not made it again.

But then the call came, and Swann cried.

"Susan Lucci was my hero," he said. "I appreciate this more than anyone can know."


JOHN BANKERT, EXECUTIVE director of the Hall of Fame, told everyone seven men had made the Hall of Fame, and then he opened six envelopes, and said, "This is the Class of 2001."

After someone asked for a recount--we're in Florida after all--Bankert noticed a seventh envelope on the floor with Al Gore's name inside.

Just seeing if you're paying attention--with Jackie Slater's name inside.


WHEN I HEARD NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue finish his annual address saying, "If the rest of society can do as well as we do in the NFL, America's crime problem would be well addressed," I thought he was really saying, "If every one in the rest of society was earning millions of dollars as our players do in the NFL, America's crime problem would be well addressed because everyone would have the money to buy the highest-priced lawyers and get off."

Did I misunderstand?


TODAY'S LAST WORD comes in an e-mail from Don:

"Excuse me, but I just finished reading your column and now can easily go to sleep."

Please let management know you finished reading the column--they've been looking for somebody.


T.J. Simers can be reached at his e-mail address:

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