Tuesday February 1st, 2005

• I ran down Buffalo cornerback Troy Vincent on the phone Tuesday morning, and he says there won't be any bigger Eagles fan in the world on Sunday than him as he watches his former team take on the Patriots. Vincent joined the Bills during free agency last offseason after spending the previous eight seasons in Philadelphia.

Coming so close but missing out on the team's Super Bowl run after three consecutive NFC title game losses does not haunt him. Vincent even came to Jacksonville early this week to visit with all his friends in the Eagles organization.

"I don't have a selfish bone in my body,'' Vincent said. "I understand that moving on is part of the nature of this business. My assignment was up in Philadelphia. I did exactly what I was supposed to do there. It's not bittersweet at all. I feel exactly the same way I have for my 13 years in the NFL. You don't like watching two other teams going to the Super Bowl. But I'm overjoyed for them.''

• It's only Tuesday, and I've already heard the most ridiculous quote of the week. New England running back Corey Dillon, who some would consider a savior to the Patriots rushing game, actually linked himself to you-know-who when asked if his reputation as a malcontent in Cincinnati was deserved.

"No, because people are going to view me how they want to,'' Dillon said. "The way I look at it, people didn't think Jesus was Jesus. So who am I? That's the kind of approach I take, and people are going to think what they want to think.''

I love the Super Bowl, where blasphemy mixes easily with hyperbole.

• Uh, oh. Bill Belichick's not happy. The Patriots head coach didn't exactly endorse the facilities at nearby Bartram Trail High School, where his favored Patriots are being put through their paces this week. The NFL chipped in more than $250,000 this month to upgrade the field and install fresh sod and a new drainage system.

"We were kind of out there on an ice rink today,'' Belichick said Monday. "It's slick. We're not even going full speed and guys are falling all over the place.''

Imagine what good ol' Bartram High must have been like before the improvements.

• Patriots tight end Christian Fauria developed his soft hands catching bricks and cinderblocks on construction sites as a young man, working with his two brothers and his father, a Los Angeles County deputy sheriff who also worked part time as a bricklayer.

"When we were on jobs, we'd have to throw bricks up to Christian up on the scaffold,'' said Ashley Fauria, Christian's father. "You had to learn how to catch them softly, cradle it and ride it. You could bust your hands up if you caught them the wrong way. If you dropped one of them, you'd probably have a messed-up face.''

Catching bricks, huh? Feel free to insert your own Aaron Brooks joke here.

• Well I'm glad we cleared that up. Joe Gibbs says he's committed to coaching the Washington Redskins for the full five years of his contract.

Which is the same thing Steve Spurrier was saying right up until he bolted after the second season of his five-year Redskins contract.

Just for the record, in his first five years of owning the team, Washington's Daniel Snyder had four head coaches: Norv Turner, Terry Robiskie, Marty Schottenheimer and Spurrier.

So go slow in those clarifying news conferences, Joe. Five years is a very long time in Danny years.

• It's not like Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb doesn't know what it's like to have a huge day at Jacksonville's Alltel Stadium. As a Syracuse freshman on Jan. 1, 1996, McNabb threw for 309 yards and three touchdowns, and rushed for another, in the Orangemen's 41-0 pasting of Clemson in the Gator Bowl.

That game was nine years and a month ago Tuesday.

• Super Bowl kickers Adam Vinatieri and David Akers are tops in their field, but they might want to know that Alltel Stadium qualifies as harsh working conditions. Over the past five years, Alltel has been the toughest place in the league to make a field goal, with its 69.9 percent success ratio. And this season, there was nary a 50-yarder made at Alltel. Jaguars kicker Josh Scobey had the two longest boots, and both were 48-yard field goals.

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