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NFL

Same Tuna, different diversion

By ROGER MILLS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 14, 2003

Everywhere the Cowboys go this season there will be some Bill Parcells connection, but it didn't take long for there to be a legitimate one.

Parcells' Tuna Tour kicks off Monday night when the Cowboys visit the Giants, the team Parcells coached from 1983-90 and with which he won two Super Bowls.

"I obviously have good feelings for the place," he said. "I grew up there and started my head-coaching career there, so I have nothing but good memories for the franchise and for the ownership and the opportunity they afforded me. I feel like I have a good relationship with the ownership of the Giants and hopefully that will continue."

It won't be Parcells' first trip to the Meadowlands as the visiting coach. He led the Patriots to a 23-22 win over the Giants there in 1996, and his Jets were the visiting team when they were defeated by the Giants 41-28 in 1999.

"It was the same thing the first time I went back to coach there, and it was the same thing the second time," said Parcells, who will return to the Meadowlands Sept. 28 to play the Jets. "And now, pretty soon, eventually it will quiet down. I don't get a sense that it is that big of a deal."

BOLDIN STATEMENTS: Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin, a former standout at Florida State and a second-round pick, had an outstanding NFL debut, catching 10 passes with two touchdowns and 217 yards, the most by a player in his first game. It has prompted some glowing praise.

"That man will be special in this league," Cardinals coach Dave McGinnis told the Arizona Republic. "That's just a glimmer of what he can do. He's fearless going over the middle. He's a playmaker. That's why we targeted him in the draft."

Seahawks receiver Darrell Jackson, a Tampa native, said no one should be shocked by Boldin's debut.

"He's from Florida; he's my man," Jackson said. "He didn't get drafted very high because of his 40(-yard time), but you know how that goes. ... (Players from Florida ) are elusive, explosive. We're players. Playmakers. That's all we do is play ball."

SIT HIM DOWN: Titans tight end Frank Wycheck has been pulled from practice until further notice after sustaining a mild concussion against the Raiders, his second in less than a month. By his count, Wycheck has had 11 concussions through his career, including college.

"He does not remember any specific blow (against the Raiders Sunday), but he was not feeling well," Titans coach Jeff Fisher told the Tennessean of Nashville. "But we're going to have to basically shut him down and evaluate him and give him some time to fully recover. ... We're not going to take any chances and neither is he. We're going to wait until he's 100 percent. How long that's going to take, I don't know. It might be a week, it might be two or three."

THE OTHER SIDE: Talks continue about the possibility of scrapping two of the four preseason games and going to an 18-game regular-season schedule.

"One of the concerns we have is the wear and tear of an 18-game season," Raiders executive Bruce Allen said. "It's the most physically demanding sport in history. So it's a big deal to talk about adding two games on top of that."

The Raiders' position is that the evaluation process teams use to build their rosters could not be completed in two games.

"Teams will end up doing a lot more scrimmaging with themselves and other teams," he said.

"But you'd have the same injury rate, and when you scrimmage against yourself you double your risk."

LINE OF ATTENTION: Defensive end Michael Strahan may be the national symbol of the Giants' front four, but he is not the Lone Ranger. In a 23-13 whipping of the Rams, albeit a game during which they chased a befuddled Kurt Warner, the Giants defensive linemen - starters and reserves - put intense pressure on the Rams offensive line.

Strahan got a sack, but so did reserves Lance Legree and William Joseph. And the pressure from the front also opened lanes to allow linebacker Micheal Barrow to chip in two more sacks.

"I know we can play," Strahan said. "We have eight guys on our defensive line that can start. It is just a matter of getting guys into the game and it's a matter of, when you are in the game, going all out."

So deep is the line that the Giants used a modified rotation to get every player some time and some rest.

"You don't have to hold anything back," Strahan said. "You don't have to worry about being tired and having to last until the fourth quarter, or until the game is over.

"You can say, "Hey, I'm tired.' Go out, and someone else comes in with freshness."

MUSCLE BOUND: Chargers receiver David Boston, a buff 245 pounds who said he was bothered by a bad heel, had two catches for 20 yards in a 27-14 loss to Kansas City. "Everybody's read the stories and heard about his size and all the weight he's put on and all the speed he supposedly still has," Chiefs cornerback Eric Warfield said. "Honestly, I didn't see it. I saw the weight he had and the so-called big pipes he has, but he didn't have the speed to go along with it."

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


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