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Among Cadillac's many options: a deal with the dealers

By MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer
Published September 25, 2005

Bucs running back Cadillac Williams is getting all kinds of fame and glory for his quick start.

He's also about to get a fast ride.

Williams has a Cadillac Escalade he bought as a predraft present. But sometime this week Cadillac's local marketing group plans to give him a snazzy XLR Roadster, the luxurious two-door sports car that features a retractable hard-top roof, all kinds of accessories and starts at about $78,000.

"Now he'll have two Cadillacs," said Jimmy Snyder, vice president of the Ed Morse Automotive Group that has Cadillac dealerships in Tampa and Brandon.

Area dealers, Snyder said, can't help but enjoy the attention the speedy rookie has brought them.

"It can't hurt business," Snyder said. "As long as they keep talking about you, it's good. As long as you guys keep putting "Cadillac' in the headlines, we can't complain.

"And we like going to the stadium and hearing the wheels squeal (as a sound effect). We hope that continues."

Cadillac's marketing people talked to Williams' representatives shortly after the draft about doing something, given the obviousfit. "Everyone thought it was a great idea," Snyder said. The deal is expected to be completed this week and, according to marketing rep Mark Heligman, Williams is likely to be part of their marketing effort, perhaps doing print and/or radio ads.

FLASHBACK: Former Times NFL writer Don Banks, who now works for SI.com, has a bit part as, believe it or not, an NFL writer in the upcoming Disney film, Invincible, about Vince Papale's inspirational effort to play for the Eagles in the mid 70s. The filming was boring and uneventful, but his wardrobe - a salmon-colored blazer, gray-plaid bell bottoms and a big-collared cream shirt - had Banks thinking he could walk the walk with Saturday Night Fever's Tony Manero. "It really would have been something had I not already owned this stuff to begin with," Banks said. "It looked like my high school graduation picture."

SEEN AND (OVER)HEARD: Details are top secret, but the championship banner the Lightning raises on Oct.5 might look a little different from the usual. And it wouldn't be a surprise to see all the trophies won in the championship season on display. ... Hernando County's Bronson Arroyo has been getting nearly as much attention for his singing on his first album, Covering the Bases, as his pitching for the Red Sox, and he's getting good reviews. Stone Temple Pilots bassist Robert DeLeo told Entertainment Weekly they liked the sound and style of Arroyo's version of their hit, Plush. "Well done, man," he said. ... Ex-Ray Bubba Trammell was strolling International Plaza recently, sporting newly blonded hair and saying he splits time between Tennessee and the Tampa Bay area and doesn't follow baseball much. ... Dewayne White and 12 Bucs rookies stopped by the North Tampa Boys & Girls Club last week to help kids with their homework and run some drills. ... In between two recent area shows, the singer Meatloaf was plenty busy, keeping track of his teams in around 20 fantasy football leagues. Among his tips, according to a New York Times interview: "Cadillac Williams down in Tampa Bay looks pretty good."

NEWS BRIEFS: Bucs defensive tackle Booger McFarland adopted Roland Park and Stewart middle schools for his 2005 I Can Wait program, which teaches kids to "get the facts before they act" when making decisions about things such as smoking, drinking, and using drugs. ... The St. Pete Times Forum staff is looking for magicians, jugglers, stilt walkers, dance teams, balloon animalmakers and other entertainers to perform during Lightning and Storm games and will hold an open talent call Oct. 9. Registration is $20; for more info call Hope Reep at 813 301-6877 or check www.tampabaylightning.com ... Derek Jeter's third annual celebrity golf classic, expanding to three days, is tentatively set for Jan. 14-16 at Tampa's Avila Golf and Country Club. ... The new Tampa Bay chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research has been named in honor of new Hall of Famer Wade Boggs. To join, call (813) 988-8269 or go online to www.sabr.org ... USF's Jordan Seabrook is among College Soccer News' 100 freshmen to watch and former Bull Brian Waltrip signed a three-year deal with Norwegian first division team Sandefjord Fotball. ... The Bucs' Ryan Nece and Jermaine Phillips are going unannounced to a key area high school football game each Friday, picking a player of the game and buying him two tickets to their next home game.

DID YOU KNOW? Lou Piniella's record with the Rays: 197-280, .413 pct.

Jon Gruden's record with the Bucs: 29-24, .547 pct.

John Tortorella's record with the Lightning: 142-148-37, .489 pct.

JUST WONDERING Was it just foolish and naive to think there would have been a happier ending to Lou Piniella's homecoming story than this one?

Wouldn't Tampa have been worthy of at least consideration as temporary home for the NBA New Orleans Hornets, especially since they chose Oklahoma City?

While it seems more and more likely that Vince Naimoli is going to soon turn control over to Stuart Sternberg, will anyone believe it until it actually happens?

Will the one-year delay in raising the championship banner make the Lightning's Oct. 5 ceremony less or more exciting and gratifying?

Jon Gruden's postgame suit may have been an odd fashion statement Sunday, but given the events of the previous week, which included the DUI arrest of his brother Jay, how much bad taste did (now former) Pewter Report writer Leo Haggerty show by asking Gruden if he had a "court date?"

And exactly how much more would Gruden have said than "I've got some thick skin, but that was a low blow, man," if the Bucs had lost their home opener Sunday?

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