Tuesday, January 23, 2001

Giants have a curfew, Ravens don't


Coaches warn players of distractions

By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        TAMPA, Fla. — There are more than 70 strip clubs in the Tampa area, and the two Super Bowl coaches are taking different approaches to keep their players away from those and other potential trouble spots.

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Giants vs. Ravens
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        The New York Giants, who arrived Sunday, will have a curfew and bed checks all week. Tonight through Friday, lights out is at 12:30 a.m. The night before the game, players must be in their rooms at 11 p.m.

        “I talked to the team about all the things that could go on here,” Giants coach Jim Fassel said. “I told the team, "If you guys want to go and have a great time at the Super Bowl, go when we're not playing.' We're coming down here to work.”

        Ravens coach Brian Billick has never had a curfew except for the night before games and he's not going to start now. But he put it to his team in terms that if one player isn't responsible, he could undo what the organization has worked for all season.

        Billick, whose team arrived Monday afternoon, is trusting his players' maturity and sense of mission.

        “If they don't respect where we are, there's not much I can do between now and then to change that,” Billick said.

        The Ravens stayed in Baltimore an extra day not only to avoid the distractions but also to get some rest. As a wild-card team, they have had three postseason games, including the past two on the road at Tennessee and Oakland. The Giants played only two games as a division winner, both in New York.

        The patron saint of Super Bowl Week indiscretion is Atlanta Falcons defensive back Eugene Robinson. He was arrested in Miami for soliciting a prostitute 18 hours before the kickoff of Super Bowl XXXIII two years ago.

        Robinson's arrest derailed the Falcons' focus and was one of the reasons they came out flat in their 34-19 loss to Denver. Several teammates stayed up most of the night to console Robinson.

        The motivation to avoid trouble is twofold for many players. They don't want to hurt their team or their individual reputation.

        “Nobody wants to be that guy on SportsCenter, arrested,” Giants defensive tackle Keith Hamilton said.

        The issue is Tampa's law forbidding lap dancing in strip clubs. The law requires six feet — or in football-speak, two yards — between dancers and patrons. Police have promised to enforce the statute. Two members of hockey's Dallas Stars were arrested earlier this month for violations.

        Ravens tight end Shannon Sharpe arrived Monday afternoon and said his teammmates are not going to be distracted.

        “We realize why we're down here and I think the guys are going to be really smart in where they go and how they conduct themselves because we realize we represent the Baltimore Ravens,” Sharpe said.

        Both teams appear to realize that staying out of trouble, while it can't win the game, can't hurt their cause by the time Sunday rolls around.

       



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