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Riley puts heat on Jets for Miami

©Associated Press
September 22, 2002

DAVIE -- The Dolphins, who have endured four years of frustration against the Jets, received a pep talk from a coach who can sympathize: Pat Riley.

The NBA coach spoke to the Miami players for 30 minutes during a visit to the team's practice complex.

"I wanted to play for the Heat after that," running back Ricky Williams said. "He was that good."

The Dolphins play today against the Jets, who have won eight consecutive games in the series. Another New York team, the Knicks, eliminated Riley's Heat from the playoffs three years in a row.

Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt said the timing of Riley's visit Friday as the team prepared for the Jets was coincidental.

"I had been on him, asking him since the summer if he would have a few minutes to come by," Wannstedt said.

Rather than offer advice on how to beat New York, Riley delivered a message that winning comes from the heart. He mentioned such motivators as Bill Walsh and Mike Krzyzewski and showed excerpts from a Dolphins highlight video.

"It was very enlightening," rookie tight end Randy McMichael said. "He had good things to say."

Miami, meanwhile, has won 16 consecutive home games in August and September dating to 1993.

Vikings owner refuses to trade 1st-round draft pick

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Vikings owner Red McCombs will not trade first-round draft pick Bryant McKinnie, who has held out for eight weeks.

McCombs issued a statement denying the team's interest in trading McKinnie. McCombs said the team still wants to sign the offensive lineman.

"I want to make clear that the Vikings have absolutely no interest in trading Bryant McKinnie at any time. We drafted him with the seventh pick and we expect him to be the Vikings left tackle for the next decade," he said.

If McKinnie does not sign by Nov. 12, he will be ineligible to play this season. The Vikings could trade his rights beginning in March 2003, but such a scenario would require the sides to first agree on a contract.

* * *

BENGALS: Offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski has come under scrutiny. In his 18 games as coordinator, Bratkowski's offense has thrown for 13 touchdowns and 30 interceptions and produced just 13.3 points a game.

BRONCOS: Brian Griese is trying for his first three-game winning streak as Denver's starting quarterback. The last time Griese won three straight was when he led the University of Michigan to a 12-0 record in 1997.

COWBOYS: Running back Emmitt Smith, just 413 yards from Walter Payton's all-time rushing record, needs six rushes to break Payton's career carries record of 3,838.

LIONS: Rookie Joey Harrington will be the fourth quarterback in Marty Mornhinweg's 19 games as coach. That's twice as many quarterbacks as wins.

PANTHERS: Kicker John Kasay was placed on injured reserve after surgery to repair a hernia Saturday, and was replaced by Jon Hilbert. Kasay is expected to be sidelined 6-8 weeks, team spokesman Charlie Dayton said. Kasay had been bothered by the groin problems during the preseason and missed three preseason games. He was 2-for-5 on field-goal attempts in the regular season, including 0-for-3 from beyond 30 yards.

SCORING: Two weeks in, scoring is at a 13-year high. Games have averaged 45.1 points, the most through the first two weeks since 1989 when games averaged 48.1. The NFL record for points per game during a season was set in 1948 at 46.5.

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