- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 16, 2005

Randy Moss says he didn’t mean to offend anyone when he “mooned” Green Bay fans last weekend. Let me guess: He was just paying tribute to Mickey Rooney.

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The $10,000 fine assessed Moss doesn’t seem like much until you realize his salary for the game — his first-round playoff share — was $12,500. When you add (and subtract) it all up, in other words, he practically played for free.

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Then again, as Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune noted, “Moss … made $5.75million this season. Thursday’s fine is the equivalent of $52 for a person who earns $30,000 a year.”

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Randy’s hairstylist, for instance.

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When asked whether he’d already sent the check to the NFL, Moss replied, “When you’re rich, you don’t write checks. Straight cash, homey.”

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How come none of the Redskins ever calls me homey?

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As important as running the ball is in the NFL, it’s amazing how many 1,000-yard backs have been put on the trading block in recent years — the latest being Travis Henry, a two-time 1,300-yard man for the Bills. Indeed, half the teams that reached the second round of the playoffs started backs they’d acquired from other clubs. (By contrast, seven of the eight starting quarterbacks were playing for the team that drafted them, and the other, Marc Bulger, was signed off the waiver wire by the Cardinals after spending his first season in the league on practice squads.)

Seven big-time backs who have been traded since 1996:

1. Jerome Bettis, Steelers (1996) — All the Rams got for him, basically, was a second-round pick. The Steelers, meanwhile, got a Human Sledgehammer who is now fifth on the all-time rushing list.

2. Curtis Martin, Jets (1998) — The Jets signed him to an offer sheet the Patriots couldn’t match, gave up their No.1 and No.3 as compensation (he was a restricted free agent), then sat back and watched him rack up 1,000 yards each of the last seven seasons.

3. Marshall Faulk, Rams (1999) — St. Louis made up for the loss of Bettis by senda Hall of Famer by, among other things, becoming only the second back in NFL history to gain 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 receiving in the same year.

4. Ahman Green, Packers (2000) — One of Ron Wolf’s greatest heists. He essentially swapped Fred Vinson, a forgettable cornerback, to the Seahawks for a guy who led the NFC in rushing in 2003 with 1,883 yards.

5. Ricky Williams, Dolphins (2002) — Miami paid a heavy price, two No.1s, for flighty Ricky. But in his first season with the Fins, he was immense, gaining 1,853 yards on the ground, tops in the league, and catching 47 passes.

6. Corey Dillon, Patriots (2004) — New England probably wouldn’t be playing host to Indy this afternoon if it hadn’t given up a second-round pick for Dillon, who averaged an NFL-best 109 yards rushing in his 15 games.

7. Clinton Portis, Redskins (2004) — Even operating in one of the most anemic offenses in the league, Portis still managed to gain 1,315 yards this year. But he wore down in December, enough to question whether the Redskins really should have given the Broncos a No.2 for him … in addition to Pro Bowl corner Champ Bailey.

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Yup, if I needed a running back, I’d definitely take a long, hard look at Travis Henry.

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News item: A Playboy Playmate accused of karate-kicking the ex-girlfriend of Browns quarterback Jeff Garcia is acquitted of a misdemeanor charge.

Comment: She was probably taking kicking lessons from Martin Gramatica — and missed.

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Karate-kicking Playboy Playmates — does that have “Olympic demonstration sport” written all over it, or what?

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One game Antawn Jamison gets two stitches under his eye, another game he gets five. As much as the Wizards could use a rebounder, they might need a cut man even more.

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With Jamison, Gilbert Arenas and Larry Hughes, Wizards prez Ernie Grunfeld seems to be recreating in Washington what he had in Milwaukee with Glenn Robinson, Ray Allen and Sam Cassell — a veritable three-headed monster.

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If Antawn (20.4 points), Gilbert (23.2) and Larry (21.1) keep it up, the Wizards will be the first team with three 20-point scorers since the 1990-91 Golden State Warriors.

Any guesses who the Warriors’ Terrific Trio were? Answer: Chris Mullin (25.7), future Wizard Mitch Richmond (23.9) and Tim Hardaway (22.9).

Golden State finished 44-38 that season, by the way, and lost in the conference semifinals.

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The 1988-89 Phoenix Suns, who had Tom Chambers (25.7), Eddie Johnson (21.5) and Kevin Johnson (20.4), did a little better. They went 55-27 and made it as far as the conference finals.

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Hockey hasn’t exactly been a hot topic lately — in the Sunday Column or anywhere else — but Kevin Kerr’s accomplishment earlier this month deserves mention. Kerr, a 37-year-old winger for the Flint (Mich.) Generals of the United Hockey League, scored his 664th goal to set a minor league record.

He was assisted on the historic score, I hear, by the Hanson brothers, Jeff and Steve (of “Slap Shot” fame).

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Kerr, who has never played in the NHL, was a third-round pick of the Buffalo Sabres in 1986 (56th overall). The player selected before him? None other than Rob Zettler, who was taken by Minnesota but would later man the blue line for the Capitals.

Three picks after Kerr, the Caps chose goalie Shawn Simpson. He, too, never played in the NHL (though he did go on to become the team’s director of hockey operations).

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Kerr is just a hockey-playin’ fool. In addition to Flint, he also has suited up for the North Bay Centennials, the Windsor Compuware Spitfires, the Rochester Americans, the Phoenix Roadrunners, the Fort Wayne Komets, the Cincinnati Cyclones, the Utica Devils, the Birmingham Bulls, the Portland Pirates (before they were a Capitals farm club), the Quad City Mallards, the Toledo Storm, the Elmira Jackals and, my own personal favorite, the Rockford IceHogs.

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An IceHog, as defined by Webster’s, is a person who empties the contents of a motel ice machine into his Playmate and leaves zero cubes for anyone else.

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Kerr’s goal total would be 744 if you counted the 80 he scored for various roller hockey clubs, such as the Anaheim Bullfrogs and the Virginia Vultures.

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Anybody who scores 664 goals in minor league hockey deserves a date with Susan Sarandon.

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Or at least Tim Robbins.

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The joys of left-handedness: The Blue Jays signed Scott Schoeneweis — 6-9 with a 5.59 ERA for the White Sox last season — to a two-year, $5.2million deal. Opposing batters have hit .277 against Schoeneweis in his career.

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As my 14-year-old pointed out, “Bill Mueller will be making the same kind of money [$2.5 million] with the Red Sox this season, and he won the batting title two years ago.”

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Boxing promoter Don King, who’s suing ESPN for defamation, says the network erred when it claimed in a “SportsCentury” segment that he had “killed not once, but twice.” He was convicted in a 1967 beating death, he argues, but acquitted in a 1954 killing.

Memo to Mr. Only in America: What about the heavyweight division, Don? Haven’t you pretty much killed that?

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And finally …

Serena Williams vows to improve her ranking this year after a less than stellar 2004. The woman just refuses to be satisfied, apparently, with being No.6 on Mr. Blackwell’s worst-dressed list.

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