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He Should Get a Big Kick Out of This

The Inside Track | MORNING BRIEFING

July 25, 2004|Paul Gutierrez | Times Staff Writer

Quarterback Matt Leinart? Too easy.

Receiver Mike Williams? Too much of a gamble. After all, who knows whether the NCAA is going to allow him to play at USC this season.

Tom Malone? Now you're talking. At least you're speaking the language of Malone's growing legion of fans. The Trojans' junior punter is their pick for the Heisman Trophy, and his fans are serious, we think. At least serious enough to dedicate a website -- malone4heisman.com -- to their favorite player's candidacy.

"We are a grassroots effort so we don't have the money to put up a giant billboard of an overrated Oregon Duck player in Times Square, like some other Heisman campaigns have done," the site reads.

More Malone: As a sophomore, Malone led the nation in punting, averaging 49 yards on 42 punts, and the website offers fans 16 nicknames for Malone, including "The Bomb," "The Rainmaker" and "The Big Meniscus."

Trivia time: How many professional athletes appeared on "The Brady Bunch" and who were they?

Looking back: On this date in 1976, Edwin Moses of the United States set an Olympic record in the 400 hurdles with a time of 47.63 seconds at Montreal.

A new leaf: With a supposedly changed Mike Tyson making another comeback, the New York Post's George Willis has taken a sympathetic stance. "This is not to excuse any of Tyson's past behavior from neighborhood thug to ex-con to ear-biter," Willis wrote. "But boxers aren't saints. Some of them have criminal records, just like football players, basketball players and a few former CEOs.

"Like him or not, Tyson has paid for his crimes and bad decisions. He's a free man and entitled to the rights any other human being enjoys. When politicians speak out so freely and strongly against him, you wonder if they'd do the same if he were white."

Talk about pigskin: The Miami Herald's Greg Cote wrote on Shaquille O'Neal's changing Miami's sports loyalties. "Are we still allowed to say 'football town' if only as a quaint nod to nostalgia, or is that phrase formally outlawed now with nary a grace period?" Cote wrote. "Will Shaq kick in the door of violators with his size 21s like canine police storming in to arrest Snowball in Orwell's 'Animal Farm'?"

Upon further review: Local boxing historian Don Fraser has issues with reports of Houston native Juan Diaz, 20, becoming the youngest boxer to win a lightweight world title when he beat Lakva Sim last weekend. According to Fraser, Mando Ramos of Los Angeles was seven months younger than Diaz when he beat Carlos Cruz at the Sports Arena on Feb. 18, 1969, to win his belt.

Trivia answer: Four (Wes Parker, Don Drysdale, Deacon Jones and Joe Namath).

And finally: "As per Kobe Bryant's orders, the Lakers ... traded Shaquille O'Neal to Miami," wrote Jim Armstrong of AOL Sports. "Talk about an impact player. Florida instantly moved to 18th from 27th on the list of the most obese states in the union."

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