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A loud blast from the past: Dilfer never liked cannon

By JOHN ROMANO

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 20, 2001


OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Not that he ever heard it much, but quarterback Trent Dilfer says he did not care for the cannon at Raymond James Stadium that blasts when the Buccaneers offense enters the red zone.

"That cannon drove me nuts. Hopefully they'll plug that thing up for the Super Bowl or have Terry Bradshaw sitting on it," Dilfer said. "I always disagreed with it. It was a distraction."

ALIAS SMITH & JONES: Ray Lewis was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, but defensive tackle Tony Siragusa said fellow linebackers Peter Boulware and Jamie Sharper deserve credit for the team's success.

"When you have a guy as good as Ray Lewis, those other guys are going to get overlooked," Siragusa said. "Peter plays two positions. He's asked to play pass coverage, and in nickel (packages) he comes to the line in a three-point stance and rushes the quarterback as well as anybody I know.

"Jamie Sharper has done nothing but get better and better. He's probably the reason we're in the Super Bowl with the game he had last week -- two sacks, an interception and nine tackles. Teams are concentrating on Ray more and now Jamie and Peter are getting a chance to hit more people."

OPENING SHOTS: Coach Brian Billick was not impressed when given Jason Sehorn's analysis of the Super Bowl offenses. The Giants cornerback reportedly said the difference was that New York asks Kerry Collins to make plays and Baltimore asks Dilfer to avoid mistakes.

"I appreciate Jason's coaching abilities, helping us define what it is we do with our offense," Billick said. "I imagine that what we ask Trent to do is the same thing they've asked Kerry to do at different times in different games."

Dilfer was even less interested in the Sehorn analysis.

"That's not true, but I'm not going to get up here and get in a p------ and moaning match with Jason Sehorn," Dilfer said.

TIES THAT BIND: Billick's friendship with Jim Fassel has been noted, but tight end Shannon Sharpe also is closely acquainted with the Giants coach.

Fassel was on Denver's coaching staff when Sharpe entered the league.

"He was the one that put me on the map. He gave me a chance. He figured out a way to get me the ball," Sharpe said. "He was lining me up out wide when it wasn't in vogue. Everybody does that with tight ends now, but he was doing it in '93 and '94 when no one else was."

STREET LIFE: On Thursday, the Ravens had a brief ceremony outside their training complex with a local politico temporarily changing the name of Owings Mills Boulevard to Ravens Boulevard. Four Ravens Boulevard signs were attached to poles in sight of the complex's main driveway.

By Friday afternoon, two signs had been stolen.

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