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Browns vow to continue searching

By DARRELL FRY, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 18, 2002

The Browns say they aren't done punishing fans involved in that wild bottle-throwing incident during a December game last season.

The team had 17 people arrested that day, and officials say they have pictures of another 24 who they will continue to look for this season.

"We do have those photos and will be looking for those people at these games," stadium security chief Lew Merletti said. "So if they come in, they very well may find they're going to be losing their tickets or may be (banned from future games). We know that won't be an easy situation, but we are prepared to make the effort to charge people with trespassing if they do try to get in."

TALK ABOUT PRESSURE KICKS: Bengals coach Dick LeBeau came up with an interesting way to get his kickers ready for pressure situations during the regular season. LeBeau had Neil Rackers and Travis Dorsch kick 35-yard field goals with the understanding that a miss would mean the team would run sprints after practice.

For added effect, LeBeau had the team watch.

Both players made their kicks.

HE WAS A KNOCKOUT: Trying yet another way to motivate his team, Packers coach Mike Sherman invited former heavyweight boxing champion "Smokin' Joe" Frazier to speak before the preseason game Aug. 10 in Philadelphia.

Sherman showed a tape of Frazier's victory against Muhammad Ali in the 1971 "Fight of the Century." Then, with the house lights still out, Sherman had Frazier enter the room, his silhouette barely visible.

"The guys were just in awe of him," Sherman said. "I mean, in awe."

HE SAID IT: Steelers safety Lee Flowers ripped the Bucs, calling them "paper champions" last season. Now he's ragging on major-league baseball players, who are threatening to strike.

"Me being a professional football player and being a fan of their sport, I'm like a 9-to-5 cat right now. I don't understand what the argument is about," Flowers said. "You already have guaranteed money. I just think it's unfortunate for the fans who struggle to make a living and having money to buy a ticket and take their little kids to see a game, and these guys can't work out their situations."

DID YOU KNOW?: Former coach turned broadcaster John Madden coached Oakland into the playoffs seven of his 10 seasons there and won a Super Bowl, compiling a 103-32-7 regular-season record for a .750 winning percentage. Though his winning percentage is better than all but one coach in the Hall of Fame (Guy Chamberlain, .759 in 1922-27), Madden is not in the Hall.

DID YOU KNOW II?: Steelers defensive end Aaron Smith is in his fourth NFL training camp. Well, sort of.

The year before the Steelers drafted him, he worked as a security guard at the Broncos' training camp at the University of Northern Colorado, where he played collegiately.

He had a badge, but not a gun.

Said Smith: "It was one of the easiest jobs I ever had. Just stand out there a couple hours a day and watch the guys practice."

HEY, KID, CAREFUL WITH THOSE EGGS: Texans rookie tackle Chester Pitts, who is starting in place of the injured Tony Boselli, has Saints tackle Kyle Turley to thank for being in the NFL.

While playing for San Diego State, Turley and a teammate met Pitts at a supermarket where Pitts was bagging groceries. Turley suggested Pitts take up football and put in a good word for him.

Pitts, who wasn't on the team because his mother wanted him to focus on getting a degree, took Turley's advice, walked onto the team and became so good the Texans took him in the second round this year.

"When I first heard (he) was doing so well, I thought, "Wow, that's the kid we saw in the grocery store,' " Turley said. "That was really neat."

-- Information from other news organizations was used in this report.

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