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ON THE NFL

Victory in Court Exacts a Price From Steinberg

November 16, 2002|Sam Farmer

NFC EAST -- In speaking with Indianapolis reporters this week, Dallas Coach Dave Campo was especially chatty. "Is it cold up there?" he asked on a conference call. "It's a little nippy down here. Matter of fact, it's real cold in this building. They're shutting the heat off on us." And all that implies.... Tiki Barber leads the Giants in rushing yards (672) and receptions (47). The last Giant to lead the team in both categories at the end of the season was Joe Dawkins in 1974.... Philadelphia's defense racked up 24 sacks for minus 138 yards in the Eagles' last three wins. In losses to Tennessee, Jacksonville and Indianapolis, they collected a total of two sacks for minus 2 yards.

NFC NORTH -- For the third time this season, Green Bay safety Marques Anderson was selected the league's defensive rookie of the week. He returned an interception for a touchdown against Detroit last Sunday, having already scored on an errant Joey Harrington pass earlier in the season. Anderson, a former UCLA standout whose successes were chronicled in this space last week, is a leading candidate for defensive rookie of the year, especially now that Carolina's Julius Peppers is serving a four-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance.... Not a happy homecoming for Detroit receiver Bill Schroeder, an former Packer who dropped three passes in his first return to Lambeau Field last Sunday. The second pass glanced off his hands and was picked off by Anderson. The final gaffe: A ball slipped right through Schroeder's grasp in the end zone on the last play of the game, a would-be cosmetic touchdown in a 40-14 laugher. "That was one of the most embarrassing days of my career," said Schroeder, who played for the Packers from 1997 through last season.

NFC SOUTH -- New Orleans quarterback Aaron Brooks is gaining a reputation as one of the league's best closers. When the Saints came from behind to beat Carolina last Sunday, it was the eighth fourth-quarter comeback of Brooks' career. And it was the fifth time he has orchestrated a game-winning drive on his team's final offensive series. "He's done that since he's been in the league," New Orleans Coach Jim Haslett said. "He doesn't get rattled." ... On the flip side is Carolina, which has lost five games this season after leading in the fourth quarter. So surrendering 14 points to the Saints in the final 31 seconds was nothing new for the Panthers. The club won't be hiring any sports psychologists to lecture the players, though. "You could bring in psychologists until the cows come home," quarterback Rodney Peete told reporters. "It's definitely a mental game, don't get me wrong. You have to have the mental toughness to play this game and be able to find a way to go a little bit extra in the fourth quarter to make those plays.... But until every person looks themselves in the mirror and says, 'Look, I'm going to get it done,' that psychologist isn't going to be able to penetrate anybody."

NFC WEST -- Seattle receiver Darrell Jackson, who suffered seizures in the locker room last month after absorbing a helmet-to-helmet hit against Dallas, has not returned to full-speed action. He practiced a bit this week, but the Seahawks don't expect him back in full until next week at earliest.... After botching a snap on the Seahawks' 10-yard line during a 27-6 loss last Sunday, Arizona center Jason Starkey attributed the miscue to a sprinkler head that snagged the ball. The Cardinals have lost three in a row. "If we don't start winning, I'll be in charge of watering that field," Coach Dave McGinnis said, only half-joking. "I'll need to know where those sprinkler heads are."

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