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SAM FARMER / ON THE NFL

Joe Theismann plans to pass on his scenes in 'The Blind Side'

Images of the former Redskins quarterback's injury are used in the soon-to-be-released movie. He says he'll watch all of it but those scenes.

November 08, 2009|SAM FARMER

Joe Theismann has a brief but memorable part in "The Blind Side," a soon-to-be-released movie depicting the remarkable story of Baltimore Ravens left tackle Michael Oher.

The heartwarming movie, which hits theaters Nov. 20, runs two hours, eight minutes -- all but two minutes of which Theismann plans to watch.

The Washington Redskins great might want to get popcorn at the beginning, because the story opens with actual footage of his gruesome, career-ending injury in 1985, when his lower leg snapped under the weight of a tackle by the Giants' Lawrence Taylor.

"I will never -- and I say this to you unequivocally -- I will never look at it again," said Theismann, who watched a replay of the injury four years ago, at a reporter's request, as part of a 20th anniversary story. "I've seen it once. I experienced it. I will go see the movie. When it comes up in the movie, I will not look, and I will limp through life."

Theismann does plan to attend the New York premiere of the movie, which is based on Michael Lewis' bestselling book and tells the true story of Oher's improbable rise from poverty to All-American prominence and beyond.

The Theismann scene -- reportedly toned down by the moviemakers from original versions of the film -- is important because it's identified as a seminal moment in football, when people realized the true value of a left tackle protecting the quarterback's blind side.

The way Theismann sees it, that's not the only way his injury changed the way America watches football.

Even people with weak stomachs can watch the way the footage is handled in the movie. There are only glimpses of the view from the cover-your-eyes camera angle.

Nonetheless, Theismann will be looking away. He does, however, count his blessings that his injury didn't happen in today's NFL, when every play is captured with amazing clarity.

"Everybody said that mine was terrible and they played it over and over again," said Theismann, an NFL Network analyst. "And when I saw it, by comparison to today, I thought to myself, 'Boy, I'm really lucky that it didn't happen in 2009.'

"The technology that is available today with high definition, super slow-mo . . . It would have been portrayed in an even more graphic manner."

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Tennessee tornado

Chris Johnson is as rare as his name is common. Through the first seven games, the Tennessee Titans tailback has averaged 6.92 yards per carry. That's the highest average of an NFL rushing leader through Week 8 since 1970 by more than a full yard (Jamal Lewis, 5.89 in 2003).

Last week, Johnson rushed for 228 yards and two touchdowns in a 30-13 victory over Jacksonville. That surpassed the club's single-game record of 216 yards shared by Eddie George and Billy Cannon.

If Johnson keeps this up in the second half of the season, he'll join some of the best backs in league history.

Players who led the league in rushing with an average of 6.0 yards per carry, and their season total yardage:

*--* PLAYER, TEAM YEAR AVG YARDS Barry Sanders, Detroit 1997 6.1 2,053 O.J. Simpson, Buffalo 1973 6.0 2,003 Jim Brown, Cleveland 1963 6.4 1,863 Joe Perry, San Francisco 1954 6.1 1,049 Beattie Feathers, Chicago 1934 8.4 1,004 *--*

Source: NFL

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Worlds collide

Dallas quarterback Tony Romo has not thrown an interception in three games.

Tonight, he faces a Philadelphia defense that leads the league with 21 takeaways, including 14 interceptions, one fewer than the Eagles had all last season. Why has Romo been so accurate, lately?

"I'm seeing things," he said recently. "It's as simple as that. I'm not throwing and hoping."

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sam.farmer@latimes.com

twitter.com/LATimesfarmer

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