- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 5, 2006

Did you hear the Bengals’ Chad Johnson got docked $5,000 for wearing an “Ocho Cinco” nameplate across the back of his jersey during pre-game warmups? Johnson, I’m told, has asked to pay the fine in installments — 85 pesos at a time.

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Just wondering: What would the league’s stance be if the nameplate were in Bengali?

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It’s such an interesting period for the NFL. You’ve got Johnson spelling out his number in Spanish, the Raiders broadcasting a game in Navaho and the Redskins offense continuing to act as if the playbook is in Greek.

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Terrell Owens is at it again. This week it came out that the Cowboys receiver has been falling asleep in meetings. Owner Jerry Jones called it a “personal health” matter. I call it a lame attempt to wangle an endorsement deal out of Starbucks.

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You’ve gotta hand it to T.O. He may not catch the most passes this season, but he’ll at least catch the most Z’s.

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There was a receiver on the Dolphins years ago who used to nod off in meetings. He was such a habitual offender, a teammate told me, that there was a grease spot on the wall where his head would rest.

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Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe on the sniping before tonight’s Patriots-Colts clash: “It’s easy to believe the Colts complained about Gillette’s turf. Who wouldn’t? Since September, the middle of the field has looked like Tony Kornheiser’s head.”

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Elsewhere in pro football, a team of all-stars from the National Women’s Football Association played a game over the summer against a group of over-30 men to publicize the league’s seventh season. The “Gender Bowl,” as it’s called, will be televised at a future date as part of the league’s new deal with the Dish Network.

What kind of trophy do you suppose the winner of the “Gender Bowl” gets? I’m guessing a crystal toilet with the seat left up.

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We all know where Doug Flutie spends his Saturdays: At ABC’s studios in New York, serving as a college football analyst. You’ll never guess where he spends his Sunday mornings, though. According to the Worcester (Mass.) Telegram and Gazette, he plays defense and wide receiver — “I wouldn’t jump in at quarterback,” he says — in the Central Massachusetts Flag Football League. His team’s name? “One More Time.”

Seems his nephew, Mike Baldner, included Flutie on the roster before the season, hoping he might show up a time or two. One Sunday, while watching the NFL games at Doug’s house, Baldner started complaining about the flag-football team losing four straight.

“OK,” Flutie said, “I’m playing next week.”

The team hasn’t lost since.

Baldner had already claimed jersey No. 22, made famous by his uncle at Boston College, so Doug settled for No. 88. “It’s the only shirt they had left,” he told the newspaper. “I like playing in basketball leagues, and my brothers and I played in a baseball league last summer. I’m just having fun.”

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Navy last week, Air Force next week, Army the week after. I have just one question for Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis: What, did Coast Guard want too big of a guarantee?

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Here it is Nov. 5, and I’m writing the words “Maryland” and “ACC title game” in the same sentence. Hard to believe.

And all because Ralph Friedgen’s team has won four straight conference games by a total of 12 points. Have the Terps ever done that before?

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You know you’re living good when you allow passing plays of 71 and 60 yards and a running play of 42 — and still keep Clemson from scoring a touchdown.

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Not to spoil the mood, but: Is it just me, or have Maryland football players had more than their share of Steroid Episodes in the NFL? The Chargers’ Shawne Merriman is the latest, of course, but before him were Ron Solt, Pete Koch and Frank Wycheck. Not exactly a great advertisement for the program.

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Unlike the other three, Koch was never suspended by the league, but there was an interesting passage about him in a book by former Raiders team doctor Rob Huizenga. Koch moved from Cincinnati to Oakland in 1989 as a free agent, and “wisely — and quietly — decided to stop steroids,” Huizenga wrote. “He’d gotten started years before when one of his coaches pushed them — and sold them — to players. In the last year, though, the NFL had enacted stiff penalties, the government had passed legislation making possession a federal crime, and he began noticing side effects. He wanted off.

“He slowly shrank [from 286] to 273 pounds, then to 265. He tried putting weights in his clothes for the weekly weigh-ins. His max bench press, previously a couple of reps at 525 pounds, was now down below 400. He started getting thrown around in practice, a humiliating experience for a guy used to doing the throwing. He still had an unbelievably sculpted build, but as his weight dropped near 250, he got cut from the NFL.”

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After Oregon State’s derailing of USC last weekend, everybody was reminiscing about the Beavers’ 3-0 upset of the O.J. Simpson-led Trojans in 1967 — the previous Greatest Victory in School History. (Or maybe it’s still the greatest. Flip a coin.) Anyway, there’s something else that should be remembered about that win in ‘67: It capped a remarkable month for OSU, maybe the best a college football team has ever had. In the space of four weeks, the Beavers beat then-No. 2 Purdue on the road, tied new No. 2 UCLA on the road, then knocked off No. 1 Southern Cal in Corvallis.

Try that sometime.

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Despite its No. 7 ranking in the final AP poll, Oregon State didn’t receive a postseason bid that year. Back then, you see, there were no Chick-fil-A Bowls.

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Where have you gone, Bill “Earthquake” Enyart?

(He was the star fullback on that OSU club. Once held the NCAA record with 50 carries in a game against Utah in 1968.)

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As World Series viewers saw, ESPN’s Peter Gammons has made an amazing recovery from a near-fatal brain aneurysm. And he couldn’t have done it, apparently, without the help of D.C.’s ballclub.

Gammons told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he had his big breakthrough when he was reading the box scores in a newspaper while at a rehab facility. “It was 5 or 6 in the morning,” he said, “and I yelled out, ‘What in the world is [former Red] Austin Kearns doing with the Washington Nationals?’ The nurse had no idea what I was talking about.”

Just like that, the cobwebs began to disappear.

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Me, I’m still trying to figure out what Austin Kearns is doing with the Washington Nationals. I’ll let you know when I have my breakthrough.

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In the latest issue of Sports Illustrated, several pro athletes are asked to name the “pet you’re dying to own” (e.g. bull mastiff, monkey, etc.). San Antonio Spurs guard Brent Barry’s unblushing response: “Miss July 2005.”

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And finally …

Connecticut is the college with the most players on opening day NBA rosters — 14. Close behind are Duke with 13, North Carolina with 12 and Arizona and UCLA with 10 each.

At least, that’s what the Elias Sports Bureau says. But I’m not so sure. I mean, what about all the guys who went to none?

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