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Peep Show - ESPN - 6/13/2003


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Peep Show

By Darrell Trimble

Friday, June 13

Updated: June 13

11:12 AM ET

Cleveland Browns: WR Dennis Northcutt, whose contract expires at the end of this season, said he is interested in a contract extension with the team beyond 2003. Unfortunately for the Browns, they are in a salary-cap squeeze that may keep them from presenting a serious offer, which means should Northcutt have another season like last year, the Browns will have to spend more if they want to keep him after he becomes a free agent. In 2002, despite missing three games with a sprained knee, he caught 38 passes for 601 yards and five touchdowns, with a 15.8 per-catch average. Plus, Northcutt's 14.7 average on punt returns was second in the NFL to Santana Moss for players with at least 25 returns. And if he mirrors that year, he'll definitely be looking for the big bucks. "This is a business," Northcutt told the Canton Repository. "Let's not lie. It's all about the money. Anybody who says it's not is lying. When I go out there, I'm not worrying about the money. I love to play this game. But at the end of the day, I have to feed my family."

Philadelphia Eagles: The team took the field at its new stadium Thursday for the first time, and it seems everyone was pleased by their new surroundings. The biggest thumbs up was for the field's turf, long a problem at Veterans Stadium. "It's a great surface," coach Andy Reid told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "They have natural grass down and then they have a weave in it of artificial surface, and it held up well. The guys were kind of digging on it to see how it would hold up, and they were very impressed." The other thing the players liked was the proximity of the playing surface to the stands. Eagles players who score touchdowns can do their own version of the Lambeau Leap, popularized by Packers players. "The fans are going to be right on top of you, and I heard the players saying that," Reid said. "They realized that the fans were going to be close, but it's real close when you're out here. It should be very intimidating for the other team."

Detroit Lions: Coach Steve Mariucci is demanding attention to detail from his new team. During a recent practice after a drill was completed, Mooch gave the command to begin a new one at the other end of the field. Most of the players moved at a brisk jog and a few moved with less purpose while a few more straggled. Mariucci then called them all back so that they could jog briskly to the spot of the next drill together. He's also demanded the same in team meetings. Recently, Mooch stopped a meeting and called players from one position to the front of the room. He asked to see their notes -- to make sure they are absorbing what is being taught, and not doodling away their time. "He wants you to study the game," DT Luther Elliss told the Detroit News. "He stresses that. If you just have a lot of doodles, he knows you're not paying attention." It's that kind of discipline that was missing during the two-year Marty Mornhinweg tenure, and everyone on the team is confident the difference will result in wins.

New Orleans Saints: QB Akili Smith visited the team Thursday and was impressed by what he saw. Smith did not work out, but he met with members of the coaching staff and front office and watched the club's two-hour practice. Between snaps, Smith discussed the offensive checks and play calls with starting quarterback Aaron Brooks. "This is a good situation," Smith told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "Everything has been great. I feel real comfortable around [offensive assistant Mike] Sheppard, and I was very impressed with Coach [offensive coordinator Mike] McCarthy -- very impressed." Smith returned to his home in San Diego on Thursday night. He said he plans to discuss his options with agent Kennard McGuire this weekend and have a decision by Monday. A possible roadblock could be the length of a deal. Smith wants a one-year contract, but the Saints prefer a two-year deal. With backup Todd Bouman working on a one-year contract, the club doesn't want to risk losing both of its reserves next season.

Seattle Seahawks: TE Jerramy Stevens faces jail time and more community service for violating his court-enforced probation. Stevens will serve five days in jail and perform 40 hours of community service, a Seattle municipal-court judge ordered Thursday morning. The city recommended a 10-day jail sentence, citing Stevens' guilty plea on the charge of reckless driving three days ago. But the judge sentenced Stevens to 10 days of jail, five of those converted to eight-hour days of community service. Stevens has 60 days to complete his community service. He is scheduled to be at Seahawks training camp in Cheney when it opens July 25. Stevens' lawyer, Jon Fox, told the court his client had completed an alcohol and driving information class and that he is seeing a counselor. Fox also said that Stevens has taken three random urinalysis tests, administered by the NFL, and results have been negative for alcohol in his system. "Any failure of any one of these will cost Mr. Stevens dearly," Fox told the Seattle Times. "While he has some growing up to do, he's doing it very quickly."

Pittsburgh Steelers: A city magistrate dismissed charges against LB Jason Gildon and two companions after learning that they had performed the community service ordered during their preliminary hearing on charges stemming from a confrontation at a Strip District night club, a City Court spokesman said. Gildon and his two cohorts were each charged with defiant trespass and disorderly conduct following a March 15 confrontation with the manager of the establishment who refused them entry because their attire did not meet the club's dress code. Gildon performed 60 hours of community service. "Jason is happy this is behind him and he can focus on the 2003 season," Gildon's agent, Peter Shaffer told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "Jason doesn't feel community service is punishment because it's something he does all the time anyhow and will continue to do," Shaffer said. "He feels it's an obligation to a person of his stature and he's happy to do it any time he can."

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