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Raiders Ended Up Being ‘It’ in This Game of Seek and Hide

How did the Denver Broncos sign former New England Patriot running back Leonard Russell when the Raiders had been the front-runners to sign him for weeks?

The old-fashioned way, according to the Boston Globe’s Ron Borges: They hid him.

While the Raiders negotiated with Russell’s agent, Steve Feldman, Borges wrote, the Broncos had Russell practically under lock and key:

“While the Raiders were scrambling to reach Russell, he was stashed at the Denver Broncos’ hotel in San Francisco from Thursday night until he agreed to a one-year-contract Friday evening.”

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Add Russell: And why were the Broncos so intent on getting Russell under contract?

“It was Russell’s effort, not to mention the Raiders’ effort to sign him, that inspired Denver to make its move,” according to Borges. "(Denver) Director of Football Operations Bob Ferguson once worked for the Buffalo Bills and recalled a game when all-pro defensive end Bruce Smith stormed into the locker room during Russell’s rookie year and said to Coach Marv Levy, ‘We can’t tackle that man! You better figure out something.’ ”

Trivia time: Of Miami Dolphin Coach Don Shula’s NFL-record 327 victories, how many were scored in postseason play?

Salisbury’s stake: Former USC quarterback Sean Salisbury bristled recently when asked if he thought his role as backup to the Houston Oilers’ Cody Carlson was in jeopardy.

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“I’m as good a backup, if not the best, in the NFL,” Salisbury said. “They expect me to be Superman, to jump over buildings. I don’t mean to be arrogant, but I’m a heck of a football player. Check my track record.”

That’s exactly what Bob Glauber did for the Sporting News.

“Let’s see,” Glauber wrote, “Salisbury was undrafted in 1986 and was signed as a free agent by the Seattle Seahawks that year but didn’t play. Then, he joined the Indianapolis Colts’ replacement team in 1987 and was cut the next summer. After spending two seasons in the Canadian Football League, Salisbury was signed by the Vikings in 1990 but didn’t suit up for two seasons. Then, in 1992 and ’93 with Minnesota, he threw for a combined 1,616 yards, 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

“Wow.”

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Two-year plan: Newsday’s Mike Lupica decided to go to the person he figured was losing the most during the baseball strike--Bobby Bonilla’s wife, Millie Quinones Bonilla.

Bonilla would be earning $31,148 a day from the New York Mets if he wasn’t on strike.

“How long before you tell him to go get another job?” Lupica asked Millie Bonilla.

“I told Bobby I’ll give it two years,” she said. “If they haven’t settled by then, he’s got to go play in Japan.”

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Trivia answer: Shula has 18 victories in playoff competition.

Quotebook: Offensive coordinator Steve Crosby, on Cleveland Brown quarterback Vinny Testaverde’s record-setting 21-for-23 passing against the Rams last season: “What Vinny did in L.A., some people might say, ‘Hey, it was against the Rams’ defense. Big deal.’ Well . . . I’ve seen quarterbacks who can’t complete 21 of 23 against the air.”


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