These Gridders Don't Mind Getting Clipped

Miami Dolphin players who are short on time but long on hair are turning to defensive back Stephen Braggs for trims.

None of his clients have griped about his work.

"When I have them under the blade, its hard for them to complain," Braggs observed.

Trivia time: Name the school that had the most former players on opening-day NFL rosters.

Countdown: New England cornerback Reyna Thompson, who played for Bill Parcells when he was the New York Giant coach, said that Parcells' patience is being tested with the 0-3 Patriots.

"He's about to blow," Thompson said. "We've got to do some things right real soon."

Like today against the New York Jets.

Ouch: San Francisco Examiner columnist Art Spander, writing before China lost its bid to host the 2000 Summer Olympic Games:

"If China does get voted the 2000 Olympics, rumor is the two exhibition sports that year will be diving in front of moving tanks and escaping from holding cells."

Ryan's legacy: Phil Niekro, a retired knuckleball pitcher with 318 victories, on Nolan Ryan:

"You're not going to find anybody who is going to throw 5,000 strikeouts, or seven no-hitters. The innings pitched, the 324 wins. You won't see that anymore. He's the last pitcher in baseball who is ever going to do that."

Get lost: From USA Today: "All of the hullabaloo about baseball fans disrupting play on the field calls to mind former Baltimore Colt linebacker Mike Curtis, who tackled a drunken man trying to run off with the football during a big game against Miami in 1971.

"The fan sued, then tried to settle for an autographed ball. 'I told him to go to hell,' " Curtis said.

The King and I: Clay Matthews, a former USC player who is a 37-year-old linebacker with the Cleveland Browns, explaining his strange gyrations after intercepting a pass against the San Francisco 49ers:

"That was my tribute to Elvis. You've got to understand, he was still singing when I was a rookie."

Frustration: Cincinnati Red pitcher Jose Rijo is frustrated over his bullpen blowing apparent victories for him in the ninth inning.

"If I have to go through another year like this, I'll die," Rijo said. "I'll have a heart attack. They say there's always a light at the end of the tunnel, but I've been in this tunnel forever.

"When I do find the light, it will probably only be a flashlight, or a train coming at me."

Trivia answer: UCLA, with 37, followed by USC and Miami, with 36 each.

Quotebook: Chicago Cub broadcaster Thom Brennaman, during a recent game in New York: "A lot of good ballgames on tomorrow, but we're going to be right here with the Cubs and Mets."

--MAL FLORENCE

MORNING BRIEFING

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