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NFL

Dolphins fight against past

By DARRELL FRY, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 29, 2002

It's simple for the Dolphins. Win today against the Patriots in Foxboro, Mass., and they're in the playoffs. Lose and they face huge embarrassment.

Thing is, history isn't on their side. The Dolphins are 2-5 on the road this season and have lost their past four away from Pro Player Stadium.

"I know our guys are going to be ready," cornerback Patrick Surtain said. "For us to not be in the playoffs would totally be a travesty. It would be a shame for our fans, the organization. The guys just have to put the weight on our shoulders and perform."

TRIVIA QUESTION: In the past five weeks, which team has averaged the most yards?

STAT OF THE WEEK: The Saints' wins this season have come against teams with a combined winning percentage of .572. Their losses have come against teams with a combined winning percentage of .411.

MY OTHER BROTHER DARRELL: The Redskins' finale means little, though it marks the end of cornerback Darrell Green's illustrious career. The 42-year-old pro is retiring after 20 seasons.

"In my own way, I pioneered for the little guys at the toughest position in football," Green, who is 5 feet 9 and 184 pounds, told the Washington Times. "Name the quarterback, name the receiver, I battled them. Big, little, fast, strong. I battled them all."

NOT GIVING UP YET: Broncos quarterback Brian Griese isn't about to fall into a funk after being benched in favor of Steve Beuerlein. Griese said people have doubted him his entire life, saying he never will be as good as his father, Bob, who starred with the Dolphins. He has always worked to prove them wrong, but may have to do it elsewhere if the Broncos trade or release him this summer.

"All my life people have told me that I can't do something, and I always thought that was my motivation to prove people wrong. But when I did accomplish something, it was such an empty feeling because it really didn't matter what everybody said about me. It mattered how I felt inside and what I accomplished for me," Griese told reporters in Denver last week.

"And it's no different here. No matter what people say about me, I'm going to continue on and find the strength to bounce back from this. For me, not for anybody else."

TRYING TO BE LIKE MIKE: Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor, who leads the league with 18.5 sacks, needs four more to break Michael Strahan's single-season record set last season.

Taylor admitted last week that he has wanted to go after the record since the start of the season.

"It's not something I walk around talking about, and I'm not going to come in here and say I'm going to get it," said Taylor, who has a sack in a franchise-record eight consecutive games. "But you always want to be the best. That's part of it. Some of the goals I've set for myself I've passed, so the last few weeks I had to set some new ones. We'll see what happens."

A CALL TO A PRIEST: Chiefs running back Priest Holmes has downplayed his tremendous accomplishments all season. So it should come as no surprise that he downplayed being lost for the season with a hip injury, leaving him short of several teams records.

"Sure, I think about all the records I might have had," he said. "It's incredible, really, if you think about it. But those are just records. Maybe I'll have a chance to break them next year. Maybe I won't. It doesn't really matter. Sooner or later, someone will break those records. That's how it is with records.

"The point is, I left everything I had on the field. I can't regret anything. I can't say, 'I wish I had worked harder' or 'I wish I had caught more passes in practice.' I gave my all. The running back is a warrior position. I think I was a warrior."

Don't think the Chiefs don't miss Holmes. His replacement, Mike Cloud, had 23 yards on nine attempts Saturday against the Raiders.

BROTHERLY LOVE: Bengals rookie tight end Matt Schobel plays against his brother, Bills second-year defensive end Aaron Schobel, today. They are among 15 sets of brothers in the league.

TRIVIA ANSWER: The Seahawks at 452.8 yards.

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

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