- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 28, 2008

Drew Rosenhaus is playing the heavy again. If he’s not kicking up dust on behalf of demoted Eagles DB Lito Sheppard, he’s renegotiating Plaxico Burress’ suspension from the Giants. Not to worry, though. Next week, just to balance the scales, Drew is planning to save another child from drowning.

Speaking of Burress, he did a Q-and-A recently with Steve Serby of the New York Post, who asked him to name the best receiver in the NFL in various categories. Plaxico, never a bastion of humility, rated himself No. 1 in eight of the 10 areas — speed and quickness, route running, smarts, toughness, heart, clutch play, blocking and intimidation.

The only times he didn’t answer “me” or “definitely me” were in the hands (“[Randy] Moss”) and yards-after-the-catch (“T.O.”) departments. Of course, he explained, “as a receiver you kinda have to have [that] attitude. To be the best … you gotta think you’re the best.”

News item: Broncos legend John Elway is reportedly engaged to a 41-year-old former Raiders cheerleader.

Comment: How old was that cheerleader again, 41? Well, I guess it couldn’t be Al LoCasale.

Something I didn’t know until I was researching the previous item: In Elway’s first decade in Denver, the Broncos, believe it or not, didn’t have cheerleaders. They stopped fielding a squad after the ‘75 season and didn’t start again until ‘93.

Four years later, the franchise won the first of back-to-back Super Bowls — after losing four Super Bowls (‘77, ‘86, ‘87 and ‘89 seasons) without cheerleaders. A pretty clear case of cause and effect, wouldn’t you say?

(But don’t tell Mike Shanahan. He still thinks the titles had something to do with him.)

What does this have to do with anything? Absolutely nothing. But you never know when it might come up on “Stump the Schwab.”

Anyway, it sure beats the last time “a former Raiders cheerleader” was in the news. Back then — last October, to be exact — it was accompanied by the words “paternity suit” and “Larry Fitzgerald.”

The only suit Elway has to worry about, fortunately, is his tuxedo.

Elsewhere in the NFL, the Ravens accused some Cleveland players of trying to gouge the eyes of Willis McGahee. They also, I’m told, sent the league footage of the Browns putting a sleeper hold on McGahee and twirling him around in an airplane spin.

Erstwhile Redskins quarterback Heath Shuler, now U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, North Carolina Democrat, is the 35th-richest member of Congress, according to Roll Call. Amazing isn’t it? In his playing days, Heath (estimated net worth: $7.81 million) couldn’t beat out Gus Frerotte, but now he can buy John Warner ($5.86 million) … and have change left over.

You have to wonder a little bit about the accuracy of the rankings. Shuler, after all, is 14 spots above Democratic Wisconsin Sen. Herb Kohl ($5.49 million)- who, last time I checked, owns the Milwaukee Bucks and once gave the University of Wisconsin-Madison $25 million to help build a sports arena.

Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe notes: “With Tom Brady, Bill Belichick has a record of 87-24. Without Brady, Belichick is 43-58. As Bill Parcells might say, you are what you are. As Belichick might say, it is what it is.”

To which I reply: With Terry Bradshaw, Chuck Noll was 121-56 and won four Super Bowls. Without Bradshaw, Noll was 88-100-1 and won zero Super Bowls. Somehow, it didn’t keep him from making the Hall of Fame.

The Sunday Column bids a video adieu to Dick Lynch, the onetime New York Giants cornerback and two-time NFL interceptions leader, who died last week at 72. Lynch, a fixture in the Giants’ radio booth for the last 40 years, scored one of the most famous touchdowns in college football history, a 3-yard run against Oklahoma in 1957 that ended the Sooners’ 47-game winning streak (still a record).

If you’d like to see Lynch’s titanic TD (and the drive leading up to it), go to the following Web address: https://tinyurl.com/4u5nbx. Ignore the “Theme from Rocky” soundtrack, though. The Irish haven’t been a Balboa-type underdog since they upset Army in 1913, with Gus Dorais throwing passes to Knute Rockne.

Lynch, older Redskins fans may recall, began his NFL career in Washington. He spent one year here, then was traded to New York for a fourth-round pick. It turned out to be a good deal for both sides. The Giants got a corner who would play in three championship games and one Pro Bowl, and the Redskins wound up drafting a player who made their 70th anniversary team.

Trivia question: Who was the player? (Answer below.)

After rushing for 186 yards and two touchdowns in Oregon State’s upset of No. 1 Southern Cal, Jacquizz Rodgers has gotta be the most famous Beaver since Jerry Mathers.

What, you thought I was going to say Chad Ocho Cinco?

Getting back to Rodgers, wouldn’t it be cool if he had a blocking back named Hammerstein?

Hey, it’s not so farfetched. As Jon Jansen can tell you, Michigan had an All-America defensive end in the ‘80s named Mike Hammerstein, who was drafted in the third round by the Bengals and played four seasons for them. (And Mike, I’ll just point out, is certainly old enough to have a kid who could be clearing the way for Jacquizz.)

Answer to trivia question: Vince Promuto, an offensive guard who went to two Pro Bowls.

My 18-year-old blew off his homework at Northwestern the other night and sent me this e-mail instead:

“I was just looking at CC Sabathia’s game log, and check this out: He hasn’t beaten any of the other NL playoff contenders. He hasn’t pitched against the Dodgers, D-backs, Phillies or Mets (or even the Marlins!), and against the Cubs he’s 0-1 in two starts, giving up seven earned runs in 13 2/3 innings.

“Six of his 16 starts since the trade have been against the Pirates (two wins) and Reds (one). He also has beaten the Nationals, Padres, Giants, Braves and Rockies - all dreadful teams. His ‘big’ wins were complete games against the Cardinals and Astros (and Houston was barely above .500 at the time). Why hasn’t more been made of this?

“Sure, his stats are awesome, but he hasn’t helped the Brewers beat anybody that matters. The team lost his two starts against the Cubs, and he hasn’t pitched against anyone else. (He did pitch against the Dodgers before the Indians traded him and got a no-decision, but I’m focusing more on his performance since the trade. However … if the Twins fail to make the playoffs, Sabathia may go THE WHOLE SEASON without notching a win against a playoff team, since he was 0-1 in three starts against the White Sox and didn’t pitch against the Angels, Rays or Red Sox. I see he’s slated to go [Sunday] against the Cubs, so he might get one more chance.”

Translation: Can we please put an end to all this silly CC-for-MVP talk?

Paul Azinger, captain of our victorious Davis Cup team and a Tampa-area guy, will throw out the first ball at the Rays’ first home playoff game. Zinger is a two-pitch pitcher, I hear. He’s got a fade and he’s got a draw.

Tom Jones of the St. Petersburg Times suggested a host of others for the honor, including:

Jose Guzman - “The Rays gave this guy $12 million over two years and he pitched 1 2/3 innings. He owes us a pitch. Or two. Or 3,000.”

Hal McRae - “The former Rays manager can throw out the first pitch… or the first phone.”

And Wade Boggs - “The Tampa resident not only played with the Rays, he [provided] the most memorable moment in franchise history before this season when he homered for his 3,000th hit during the 1999 season. If he did throw out the first pitch, think he would still eat chicken before the game?”

And finally:

Hope the Nationals’ first decade in Washington is more eventful than that. Boggs, after all, got 2,800 of his 3,010 hits for teams other than the Rays (that is, the Red Sox and Yankees). Which gets me thinking: What’s the most memorable moment in Nats history thus far? The time Teddy Roosevelt took a shortcut across the outfield so he could win the Presidents Race?

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