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Mother Boxes for African

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Washington Redskins’ cornerback African Grant, a free agent from the University of Illinois, was named by his father, who was a black activist when the boy was born in Englewood, N.J.

Says the Sporting News: “The story goes that at a high school game when the public-address announcer said, ‘Tackle by African Grant,’ a woman sitting behind Grant’s mother said, ‘Who in the hell would name their child that?’

“Said Grant: ‘I remember I looked up in the stands and saw my mom boxing.’ ”

Chi Chi Rodriguez said he took a friend for a drive in Puerto Rico, and when he went through a red light, the friend said, “What are you doing?”

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Chi Chi: “I told him my brother does it all the time. I go through another red light, and he screams again. I tell him my brother does it all the time. Then I come to a green light and stop. He says, ‘Chi Chi, what are you doing?’ I tell him, ‘My brother might be coming.’ ”

Trivia Time: What does Minnesota’s Frank Viola, the winningest pitcher in baseball at 19-4, have in common with Cincinnati’s John Franco, the National League leader in saves with 26? (Answer below.)

Dallas rookie Michael Irvin from Miami, the first Cowboy to wear No. 88 since Drew Pearson, told the Dallas Times Herald: “I think I’m an 88 kind of receiver. The year is 1988. I became a rich man in 1988.”

Add Irvin: After trading blows with Derrick Crudup, an old adversary from Oklahoma, in a scrimmage with the Raiders, he said: “It was Tyson and Spinks. I was Tyson. He was Spinks. The Raiders have bad manners. They’ve been listening to that silver and black stuff too long.”

Add Cowboys: Herschel Walker, who did a stint with a ballet company last winter, recently issued a challenge to Mike Tyson, prompting Dave Kindred of the Atlanta Journal to write: “He might be better off punching Baryshnikov and dancing with Tyson.”

Dave Mann of Los Angeles, a former publicist for the Washington Redskins, recalled this line from former owner Edward Bennett Williams, who died Saturday: “Having George Allen as a head coach is like riding in the sidecar alongside Evel Knievel.”

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Add Williams: Commenting on Allen’s trades, which produced the Over-the-Hill Gang, he said: “I once gave George a 5-year-old dog and he swapped it for two 10-year-old cats.”

More Williams: Bobby Mitchell, assistant general manager of the Redskins, said that Williams, a great courtroom orator, sometimes would give fight talks to the team.

“It would work for a half,” Mitchell said. “He was trying. But then someone like Ernie Stautner would hit you in the mouth and you’d forget everything he’d said.”

After Stanford assistant coach Dave Wollman was named head track and field coach at Southern Methodist, SMU Athletic Director Doug Single said, “He should make a smooth transition because SMU has similar academic and athletic priorities as Stanford.”

Think they’ll buy that in Palo Alto?

Trivia Answer: They were teammates at St. John’s in New York.

Quotebook

Lester Hayes, overweight at 220 pounds, remaining upbeat after flunking a tryout with the Houston Oilers: “I’m the black J.R. Ewing. I own half of Texas.”

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