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Fassel wants teamquiet and focused


© St. Petersburg Times, published January 26, 2001

TAMPA -- The Ravens have been nothing if not mouthy about Super Bowl XXXV. A few of them have all guaranteed a victory over the Giants -- even going so far as to suggest a shutout.

To that, Giants coach Jim Fassel has this to say: "Oh, be quiet!"

Not to the Ravens. To his players.

"It was a long time ago, back about the time I was talking about what I wanted the team to be," Fassel said Thursday. "I just said, "Hey, listen. Shut up and play the game. We don't need to talk about it; we need to play. We don't need to get into the evaluation of what we're doing, how they're doing or anything else. We need to just go out and play and prove ourselves on the field. The less said, the more done, the better I like it.' "

Fassel said his players have followed those instructions to the letter and they're focused strictly on their own game. "It's not about who we're playing and what they're about," he said. "It's about us getting ready. ... I haven't had to say a lot to them. I don't say, "Don't say anything.' They're on their own and they're doing a good job with it."

Hero worship

Former Alabama tight end Howard Cross of the Giants would like nothing more than to follow in the path of another former Alabama tight end, Ozzie Newsome, Ravens vice president of player personnel.

"Ozzie was my hero when I was coming up," Cross said of the Cleveland Browns' all-time receiver among tight ends. "I watched him at Alabama -- they were running the wishbone back then but he did a great job -- and in the pros. Now he's one of my heroes, watching him put together a great team.

"He was a great role model when I was a kid. Then me being recruited by Alabama. It's kind of hard to leave the state. We have two great schools there."

He reconsidered that for a moment.

"Okay, one great school, one pretty good school."

Watch your mouth

Defensive end Michael Strahan was asked about the role linebacker Jessie Armstead plays in getting the Giants psyched before a game.

"He plays absolutely no role in that," the irrepressible Strahan said, grinning widely. "I think Jessie is a very overrated player. He went to the University of Miami; only bums come out of Miami."

Two hours, thirteen days

For cornerback Jason Sehorn, happiness is a large dark room.

A movie theater.

"I've seen every movie there is to see," he said. "It's relaxing to get in a theater. Nobody's around. It's dark. You watch a movie for two hours and just kind of vegetate on something else. You kind of escape everything else. It's nice, peaceful."

Sehorn's favorite so far: Thirteen Days, about the Cuban missile crisis in 1961. "I couldn't believe ... reporters were kept in a fog like that. They allowed the whole country not to know anything ... "

Split personality

On the one hand you have defensive linemen like Strahan, Tony Siragusa, Warren Sapp -- outspoken, sometimes seemingly one step short of out of control.

On the other hand, offensive linemen like Glenn Parker, Harry Swayne and Jeff Christy -- quiet, introspective.

This is not to stereotype them -- there are both kinds on both lines -- but there are personalities that would seem to best suit each position.

"They're very different," said Parker, the Giants left guard. "I once heard this: You can tell offensive linemen and defensive linemen when they're kids. Line 'em up, then walk down the line and smack each one in the face. The one that smacks you back is a defensive lineman; the one that just smiles and says "I'll get you back,' that's an offensive lineman.

"We're smarter and better looking, too."


Fassel on Baltimore's special teams: "The Ravens have made a lot of big plays and that has been a secret to their success. Actually it's not a secret; it's pretty obvious." ... Wide receiver Ron Dixon on what the title of his life story would be: "From the toilet bowl to the Super Bowl. The reason is that I used to work in this gas station and that was part of my duties. I had to make sure the bathroom was clean."

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