© St. Petersburg Times, published July 28, 2002
The Texans started camp last week and the early reports are top overall pick David Carr is the real McCoy.
He has made the typical rookie quarterback mistakes, but Carr impressed everyone with his accuracy, touch and mobility. He checked off at the right times, correctly went through his reads and made a lot of nice throws.
"David throws a strong ball," Pro Bowl receiver/return man Jermaine Lewis said. "He can get balls in where I haven't seen quarterbacks get them in. That has really opened my eyes, and he puts some heat on it, too."
It's too early to tell whether Carr has any real shot of winning the starting job for the season opener. Veteran Kent Graham and Mike Quinn can hold down the job until Carr is ready.
But if Carr continues to look solid in camp, he might not stay on the bench as long as initially expected.
"He has a lot of composure for a rookie," Lewis said. "He's not in the huddle talking fast. He's not anxious or anything like that. Come game day, that's going to pay off. He's earned my respect already. He's one of the best I've been around."
THE HAIR SAYS IT ALL: One of the big surprises at Redskins training camp was linebacker LaVar Arrington's hair. Or rather, lack there of.
Arrington, who spent two years allowing his hair to grow so he could wear it in dreadlocks, cut most of it off just before camp. He said it was a show of solidarity for his 15-year-old cousin, Joe, who is expected to lose his hair because of cancer chemotherapy.
"I love my hair. It's part of my personality, but there are more important things to think about than myself right now," Arrington said. "Joe's my inspiration. To be 15 years old and battling cancer at that age and to be as brave as he is, smiling and laughing and having a good time, he's a hero to me."
10 CHEESEBURGERS, PLEASE: Cowboys offensive tackle Aaron Gibson is listed at 6 feet 6 and 422 pounds. Players fudge their height and weight a bit, but this one apparently is legitimate.
"That was the number on the scale when I weighed-in in May," Gibson said.
Gibson reported two weeks ago at 410 pounds and is sure to lose a few pounds during training camp. To him, eclipsing the 400 mark is no big deal.
"I'm not the first 400-pound player," he said. "I'm just the first one to admit it."
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: From Dolphins running back Ricky Williams, talking about the social anxiety disorder he battled while playing for the Saints that made him a prisoner in his home.
"I almost told (the Saints) I didn't want to play football anymore. The thought of going back to New Orleans and dealing with all that wasn't worth it. I would rather go to school and be a teacher."
ONE OF THESE DAYS, ALICE: The regular season is more than a month away, but the 49ers are talking about trying to snap their skid against the Rams, who've beaten the Niners six straight.
The Niners have 20 of their 22 starters back from a team that went 12-4 last season, plus have added some key players such as Pro Bowl guard Ron Stone and rookie cornerback Mike Rumph.
"For the most part, I feel like mentally we have been ready for these games (against the Rams), but I think once we get out there, guys aren't really thinking we can win," receiver Terrell Owens said. "Sometimes there's a sense of false enthusiasm. We played some good ball in our first home game against them last year (a 30-26 loss). I took that loss hard ... "
The Rams and 49ers play Oct.6 in San Francisco and Dec.30 in St. Louis.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS: The first preseason game is Saturday night at 10: Redskins vs. 49ers in Japan.
-- Information from other news organizations was used in this report.