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NFL

Stewart feels chill in Windy City

By ROGER MILLS
Published September 28, 2003

In the offseason, the Bears were in search of a starting quarterback and signed former Steeler Kordell Stewart instead of Jeff Blake or Jake Plummer, who landed with the Cardinals and Broncos, respectively.

After three weeks, Blake and Plummer have tasted victory and Stewart has not.

Needless to say, the heat in Chicago has turned up on Stewart, who is starting to sound defensive.

"I'm not going to go out and approach the game any differently," Stewart told the Chicago Tribune. "I'm just going to go out and do the best I can. If my best is not good enough, then obviously things are going to happen.

"But the majority of time when my best is put forth, we come away with Ws."

Last Sunday, Blake led the Cardinals (1-2) to a 20-13 victory over the Packers. On Monday night, Plummer threw two touchdowns and ran for another in a 31-10 win over the Raiders.

Stewart said he watched Blake and Plummer during his bye weekend.

"I would hope it would swing my way (Monday night)," he said.

"Was I jealous? No. Was I happy for them? Yes."

Former Gator Rex Grossman, Stewart's backup, is apparently the new fan favorite.

NEVER MORE: Troubles continue to follow Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister, who was suspended and fined for missing a Sept.18 curfew and Sept.19 meeting in San Diego.

Though he was born in Pasadena, Calif., and his parents still live there, it's not certain why McAlister missed curfew and the meeting. Earlier in the month he was fined $5,000 by the Ravens after being charged with driving under the influence in Fairfax County, Va.

"I'm not one for fining much," coach Brian Billick said.

"Repeat offenders tend to get my attention."

VETERAN'S PERSPECTIVE: The Raiders have been in a furious tailspin since losing to the Bucs in the Super Bowl. After being humiliated by the Broncos 31-10 Monday night, the Raiders dropped to 1-2, and doubters have surfaced. Even veteran receiver Jerry Rice appears ready to face the music.

"People are on to us right now," he said. "They've got our number. We have to regroup and start doing something a little more different. I'm not saying we're predictable, but when you've got the opponent out there calling out plays, and they know what's coming, then we've got a problem."

HE QUOTETH THE MAN: Broncos tight end Shannon Sharpe has delivered some memorable barbs in his time, quoting Pythagoras, Copernicus and Shakespeare, but his take on Denver's upcoming game against the Lions is priceless.

Asked what he thought of the Lions' 17 consecutive road losses, Sharpe responded: "I remember Julius Caesar told Calpurnia, "You have a lean and hungry look, such women are dangerous.' Such teams are dangerous.

"You have to guard against these guys. We will guard against them."

One problem: Most historians say Caesar said that to Cassius, not his own wife, as he feared a plot against him.

WHO DIDN'T SEE THIS COMING?: Could there be a connection between Chargers receiver David Boston's gigantic, muscular frame, the 90-plus daily supplements he takes and the bizarre behavior he is exhibiting?

The latest incident, according to reports, was a verbal altercation between Boston and strength and conditioning coach Dave Redding last week. The two have feuded for months over Boston's unique training practices and his use of a personal trainer.

Boston, who signed a seven-year, $47-million deal with $14-million in upfront bonuses, apparently has missed rehab sessions, was late for meetings and had a shouting match with receiver Reche Caldwell, a former University of Florida and Jefferson standout.

Then Tuesday, Boston failed to meet the target weight of 235 pounds the team set for him and was fined. Boston apparently tossed the fine letter in Redding's face and made a disparaging remark about Redding and coach Marty Schottenheimer.

"There's no final straw," general manager A.J. Smith said.

"I don't know how to answer that; there have been several things. We have rules and regulations to adhere to, and David hasn't been doing that to our expectations fully."

CHUNKY PROBLEMS: Since quarterback Donovan McNabb signed his 12-year, $115-million contract extension in September, he hasn't exactly lit up the scoreboard.

Since then the Eagles are 6-5. McNabb has thrown 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

SMACK DOWN: "Like somebody just walked into the house and slapped my mom." - Raiders guard Frank Middleton on what it felt like to be hammered by the Broncos 31-10 on Monday night.

[Last modified September 28, 2003, 01:49:44]


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