Friday, February 5, 1999
John Elway may be bidding aloha to the National Football League, but he won't count this Sunday's Pro Bowl as his fond farewell.
PRO BOWL NOTEBOOK
Elways final game?
Instead, his Super Bowl victory over Atlanta will be the last call for the 16-year veteran of the Denver Broncos, should he make his retirement official in the coming months.
"To be honest, I haven't looked that far ahead," Elway said after yesterday's AFC practice at Aloha Stadium. "Anyway, if it is the last one, the one I'll still remember was last week."
Although many of his fellow Pro Bowl standouts feel Elway will reconsider and try for a Super Bowl three-peat, those close to the future Hall of Fame quarterback believe his body will convince him otherwise.
Elway missed four games this year due to injury. His skills are eroding and he would like to spend more time with his family. Granted, at this point, he's feeling pretty good.
"The heat has been a big part of it; Miami, now here," Elway said. "It's good on the old joints."
But the former Stanford standout doesn't want to be hobbled in his old age. Sure, the lure is there to make one more run. History beckons. Even his Denver teammates would like to see him come back and go for an unprecedented third consecutive Super Bowl.
"I will physically threaten him," Denver teammate Terrell Davis said. "I will physically persuade him. I will sabotage every single vehicle he might drive away in. He has to come back because it's not over yet. We just got started. You go tell him I said that."
DIERDORF BIDS ALOHA: A frustrated Dan Dierdorf said yesterday that he will not be back next year as an analyst on Monday Night Football.
Dierdorf, who has been in the booth for a dozen seasons, is making his final appearance in this Sunday's Pro Bowl. His five-year contract that paid about $1.75 million annually expires in May. He said that ABC hadn't made him an offer.
"I wouldn't make this a financial issue -- it just reached a stage they wanted to go one direction and I'll go another," Dierdorf told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch yesterday afternoon. "I didn't want this to drag on, that's why I decided to announce this. But I'm glad it's finally over."
ABC is apparently interested in bringing in former Green Bay standout Sterling Sharpe. There also has been talk that ESPN's Joe Theismann could join the three-man broadcast team as well. The network had no comment, other than a brief statement from Brian McAndrews, who is the NFL executive vice president and general manager of ABC's sports division.
"On behalf of the ABC Television Network, I thank Dan for his many contributions to the success of Monday Night Football during the last 12 years," McAndrews said.
SOLD OUT AGAIN: This Sunday's Pro Bowl is a sellout, the National Football League announced yesterday afternoon.
It is the 16th consecutive time it has been sold out and the 19th in 20 years at Aloha Stadium. The only one that fell short was in 1983, following the 1982 strike-shortened season. Overall, it is the 29th time the AFC and the NFC will meet.
The game will be shown locally on Channel 4. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
NO MILLIONS THIS TIME: Hershey's sweepstakes winner William F. Simmons didn't hit the 40-yard, million-dollar kick during yesterday's NFL Battle of the Gridiron held at the Ihilani Resort. Former Hawaii kicker Jason Elam, who now plays for Denver, was the holder.
"But that's OK, because I still had a great time," the 57-year-old from Fort Wayne, Ind., said. "I'll never forget this experience. I've never kicked in my life, so I didn't think I would make it. But the $10,000 check is still nice."
After two people managed to make the kick the past two years from 35 yards out, Hershey's moved it back to 40, prompting Elam to say, "It's just about impossible for the average person to make it."
By Paul Arnett, Star-Bulletin