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Inside the NFL | Sam Farmer ON THE NFL

No Lie, There's a Pattern Here

September 20, 2003|Sam Farmer

Now that Denver Coach Mike Shanahan was cleared of any wrongdoing by the NFL after blatantly lying about Jake Plummer's injury in last Sunday's victory over San Diego, lots of other people in the league can step up to the confessional.

With the help of Google.com, I did a Web search coupling the names of players, coaches and owners with "lied," and quickly compiled a list of people who must be dying to come clean. A sampling in no particular order:

Dolphin cornerback Patrick Surtain said Buffalo receiver Eric Moulds lied in saying the two patched up their differences at the Pro Bowl last season.

Josh Booty said the Browns lied to him when they released him this week. "It's crazy. Where's the loyalty?" asked Booty, who spent the last two seasons backing up Kelly Holcomb and Tim Couch.

Cleveland Coach Butch Davis lied to his University of Miami players, telling them he wasn't going to take the Browns' job, then turning around and doing just that.

Redskin receiver Laveranues Coles said New York Jet Coach Herman Edwards lied to him when he said, in Coles words: "As long as he's there, I would be."

At Florida State, Coles lied about accepting a plane ticket from an agent.

The NFL wants Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett to wait another year before making himself eligible for the draft. Clarett was suspended for the season by the Buckeyes for, among other things, lying to investigators.

Clarett said Ohio State officials lied to him about why he was not able to fly home from the Fiesta Bowl to attend a friend's funeral.

Buffalo quarterback Drew Bledsoe took special pleasure in beating New England Coach Bill Belichick this season, especially after Bledsoe felt lied to by the coach when Tom Brady took over as the Patriot starter.

Minnesota defensive coordinator George O'Leary was fired by Notre Dame for lying on his resume.

The Buccaneers think Bill Parcells lied to them when he took the job as head coach, then changed his mind and later wound up in Dallas.

Raider owner Al Davis -- who surely never fudged on anything -- said this of Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum officials: "They lied to the community, they lied to the press, they lied to the Raider fans, they lied to the Raiders, and they lied to the taxpayers."

Shanahan said the lying Raiders lied to him when they didn't pay him his full severance package. The Raiders, of course, say he's lying.

Then again, what's a little fibbing among friends?

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It has been a long time since the Chargers gave San Diego fans much reason to cheer. The team has lost six in a row and nine of 11. Its home record is 20-29 over the last six seasons.

Can Marty Schottenheimer turn things around in his second season? The two coaches who preceded him couldn't. Kevin Gilbride went 2-4 before being fired in 1998, a sophomore slump that was outdone by Mike Riley, who went 1-15 in his second year.

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Charger running back LaDainian Tomlinson had seven 100-yard games last season, but Baltimore's Jamal Lewis doubts Tomlinson can do the same Sunday against the Raven defense.

"I would be surprised," Lewis said in a conference call with San Diego writers. "I'm not saying that he wouldn't get 100, but I would be surprised if he did. If he did, it would be a hard-fought 100 yards."

Lewis has bigger goals in mind. He set the NFL single-game rushing record last Sunday with 295 yards against Cleveland and needs 182 against the Chargers to break O.J. Simpson's two-game record of 476. The way Lewis gored the Browns certainly got the attention of Charger defensive players.

"He's got exceptional balance and power," defensive end Marcellus Wiley said. "But the thing that really took him over the top was his reckless abandon. He's running like he's mad. So much anger there. Some of his cuts and straight-arms showed he was a man possessed. With those straight-arms, those guys probably still have hand marks on their chests. It was ugly."

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A record 10 interceptions were returned for touchdowns last week, bringing the 2003 total to 14, also a record for the first two weeks of the season.

Raider safety Rod Woodson, who has returned a league-record 12 interceptions for touchdowns, is coming off minor knee surgery and might not play in Monday's game at Denver. A year ago, he ran one back 99 yards against the Broncos, helping the Raiders to their first victory at Denver since 1994.

The Raiders should find a way to get him on the field. Woodson is 17-1 in "Monday Night Football" games, the best mark in league history for players with at least 10 appearances on that stage. He was 10-1 with Pittsburgh, 3-0 with San Francisco, 2-0 with Baltimore, and is 2-0 with Oakland.

Among the players behind Woodson on the Monday night list: John Matuszak (14-1), Kenny King (12-1) and Leon Searcy (12-1).

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The last time Oakland linebacker Bill Romanowski played against the Broncos -- his former team -- he locked arms with Shannon Sharpe, fell on him and left the tight end with a dislocated elbow. Sharpe later said he suspected it was intentional.

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