I'M A DOCTOR, JIM, NOT A FOOTBALL...

I'M A DOCTOR, JIM, NOT A FOOTBALL PLAYER

49er quarterback Steve Young left during the second quarter of Sunday's game against the Cowboys because of a slight concussion. It was the second concussion in three weeks for Young, who was hit hard several times by the Cowboys before leaving the game. . . . Several Redskins were hurt in the game against Arizona, including tight end James Jenkins (bruised ribs and sprained lower back), wide receiver Leslie Shepherd (pulled left hamstring), running back Marc Logan (sprained right shoulder), linebacker Ken Harvey (sprained left knee) and running back Terry Allen (sprained right ankle). . . . For Arizona, tackle Mike Devlin aggravated a right knee sprain. . . . Atlanta defensive back Tim McKyer broke his left forearm playing against St. Louis and Ram running back Jerald Moore sprained his left ankle. . . . Pittsburgh suffered a few injuries against Cincinnati as cornerback Willie Williams strained his shoulder, tight end Jonathan Hayes sprained his right ankle and defensive end Orpheus Roye suffered a concussion. For Cincinnati, safety Greg Myers left the game because of a concussion. Tampa Bay receiver Rob Thomas sprained his right shoulder in the first quarter against Oakland and did not return. Offensive tackle Doug Reisenberg, who had played every snap this season, left because of a right knee sprain in the third quarter. . . . Raider linebacker Rob Fredrickson did not return after going to the locker room because of a shoulder injury in the second quarter. . . . Chief safety Mark Collins suffered a sprained left knee in the third quarter against Green Bay and did not return. . . . Colt quarterback Jim Harbaugh took a finger in the eye during the third quarter against Miami and did not return.

A GOOD TITLE AND NICE FOLDER MEANS AN "A"

If New York Giant running back Keith Elias is ever tackled by Tampa Bay safety Tony Bouie, they can compare titles of their senior theses.

At Princeton, Elias' was titled "Rites of Manhood: Walter Camp, College Football and the Revitalization of Upper Class Masculinity."

At Arizona, Bouie's was titled "Developing a University-level Academic Support Program Focusing On Literary, Learning and Study Assessment Instruction for Specifically Identified Incoming Student Athletes."

WHAT'S BLACK, WHITE AND NOT READ ALL OVER?

Detroit Coach Wayne Fontes on taking a lot of heat from the media for the Lions' recent losses: "I wouldn't read the newspapers if you paid me."

NOW ON DECK, PEPTO BISMOL

Always-quotable Dallas Cowboy guard Nate Newton now has his own Internet site. Here's Nate on how he put on some extra weight during high school:

"My dad came up with a way to give me some extra incentive for winning football games. Any time we'd win, he'd take me to Wendy's for a thing we called 'The Home Run,' which consisted of a single cheeseburger, a double cheeseburger, a triple cheeseburger, a large fries, a large [milkshake] and a large soda. We had a winning team that season. And I put on some pounds."

DON'T GO OUT ON SUCH A LIMB THERE, FRED

Miami receiver Fred Barnett, after catching two passes from Dan Marino for touchdowns:

"It's a great experience to be in the mix with one of the great quarterbacks ever to play the game," Barnett said. "He's probably going to go to the Hall of Fame."

HE LOVES THE SMELL OF BEN GAY IN THE MORNING

Fred Zamberletti was there when the Minnesota Vikings defeated the Chicago Bears in the first game in franchise history.

He was there for the Vikings' four Super Bowl losses too.

In fact, Zamberletti, 64, never has missed a Viking game, not even an exhibition. Minnesota's trainer is the only person who can claim to have attended each of the 707 games the Vikings have played since joining the NFL in 1961.

"I like the group, the camaraderie," Zamberletti said. "After a big game, just that feeling of togetherness, excitement that you have in a locker room. There's a lot of people who just never have an opportunity to experience that."

Zamberletti knows he won't be the Vikings' trainer forever, but he isn't thinking about retirement yet. He just can't imagine life without the team that has been so much a part of his life.

"If I never collected a day of my pension, I wouldn't regret it," he said.

ANYONE'S FOOTBALL CONFERENCE

Could someone explain the AFC? Please?

The Cincinnati Bengals have won three consecutive games for the first time since 1607. The Buffalo Bills continue to win despite an offense that sputters more than a car in Disneyland's "Autopia." Kansas City, that's right, Kansas City, holds Green Bay's high-powered offense to two touchdowns while amassing nearly 400 yards on the Packers' top-ranked defense.

The Houston Oilers can run--and pass--and are surprisingly in the playoff hunt. The New England Patriots play like a contender one minute, a pretender the next. The Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins, considered playoff teams at one time this season, are both 5-5.

Only the New York Jets seem to have any consistency--they lost again.

While the usual teams battle for supremacy in the NFC, this season's AFC race is as wide open as ever, and Sunday's action did nothing to straighten things out. Of the 15 teams in the conference, 13 still have a chance at a playoff spot.

Parity is here, and its name is the AFC.

WHAT COLOR IS THE SKY IN YOUR WORLD?

Baltimore owner Art Modell said he might still be in Cleveland had he not hired Bill Belichick as coach in 1991.

"I was sold a bill of goods on Belichick," Modell said. "To Bill, everything was like the Normandy invasion. I couldn't talk to him during practice because he was coaching.

"I really believe that much of the disdain and abuse I received was because of the feelings the media and the public had for Bill. Every day I thought it would change, that he would be more pleasant to people. He never did and it hurt all of us terribly."

It's fun to pretend, isn't it Art?

BUT THEY WERE REALLY, REALLY GOOD FRIENDS

Atlanta Falcon quarterback Bobby Hebert, talking about former teammate, now distant memory, Jeff George:

"The couple years he was here, I think his two best friends were one of the ball boys and, I think, a retired equipment manager."

--Compiled by HOUSTON MITCHELL

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