On the first day of the week in which he will serve along with gymnast Shannon Miller as co-grand marshall of the Rose Parade, Carl Lewis planned a leisurely Sunday.
He would sleep late, catch an afternoon flight from Houston and arrive at LAX in time for dinner and a full night's rest before today's appearance at Niketown Los Angeles. He will be there to donate 400 copies of his new book, "One More Victory Lap," to the L.A. County Office of Education.
Then his beloved Philadelphia Eagles made the NFL playoffs and were scheduled to play Sunday afternoon. That forced Lewis to change his itinerary so that he could be here in time to see the kickoff on television, like he watched the Eagles for so many years with his late father, Bill, in his hometown of Willingboro, N.J.
Lewis was interested at one point in getting much closer to NFL action.
He was a late-round draft choice in 1984 of the Dallas Cowboys, who had success with track stars such as Bob Hayes and Mel Renfro. Unlike them, Lewis didn't play the sport in high school or college but figures he could have adapted.
"I would have had a lot to learn, but I'm sure Tom Landry and Tex Schramm would have nurtured me," he said. "If they had drafted me a year or two earlier, we might have been able to make a deal. Renaldo Nehemiah had signed with the 49ers, and at the time it didn't look like a bad idea economically."
By the time Lewis negotiated with the Cowboys after the '84 Summer Olympics, however, he had added some zeros to his annual income.
"We talked for about two minutes," he said. "When I told them what I would need, they said, 'That's more than Tony Dorsett makes.' That was the end of that. Sometimes I look back and wish it could have worked out."
That deal the Dallas Mavericks reportedly are discussing with the Clippers--Jamal Mashburn and Eric Montross for Brian Williams and either Terry Dehere or Malik Sealy--is no slam dunk. But if I were in the Clipper front office, I'd do it. . . .
I wonder if Jerry West was as interested in Jason Kidd as some say. To prevent defenders from mugging Shaquille O'Neal, Del Harris contends the Laker offense needs a three-point threat like Nick Van Exel at point guard. . . .
It doesn't seem like Ohio State Coach John Cooper's decision on a starting quarterback should be so perplexing. Stanley Jackson this season was 10-0, Joe Germaine was 0-1. . . .
Two of today's toughest athletes to beat, Arizona State quarterback Jake Plummer and skier Picabo Street, are children of flower children. . . .
For the official mascot of the Orange Bowl game between Virginia Tech and Nebraska, Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News suggests Bail Me Out, Elmo. . . .
The Christmas card from Anita DeFrantz read: "1984--The Perfect Games." If they hadn't been so proud, Atlanta officials could have spared themselves much embarrassment by dialing 213 more often. . . .
To paraphrase Casey Stengel, without argument the Kings' Larry Robinson could say, "I coached good; they played bad.". . .
We can all take heart when "Michael," a movie about an angel, becomes more popular than "Jerry Maguire," a movie about a sports agent, and "Beavis and Butt-Head Do America.". . .
Julie's Restaurant, for 57 years the favorite hangout for USC fans, closed for the final time Saturday with an auction of everything from knives and forks to the photographs on the walls.
Some of the latter obviously were prepared for sale by an outsider. A photograph of Anthony Davis was marked, "Framed Picture Football Player #28," and one of Pat Haden spelled his name "Hayden."
Faith in human nature was restored when bidding for an autographed picture of O.J. Simpson remained short of feverish. It sold for $210, the same as paid for a ticket from the 1932 USC-Notre Dame game at the new "Football-Olympic Stadium."
There was one last insult to a UCLA Bruin. An autographed picture of Marques Johnson sold for $10, half as much as one of former Trojan basketball player Derrick Dowell.
There was one more hurrah for a Trojan. Amid the auction, several of the restaurant's loyal patrons, sitting at the outside bar for the last time, cheered while watching television as Jacksonville offensive tackle Tony Boselli, USC '94, repeatedly whipped Buffalo's Bruce Smith.
While wondering what Tiger Woods needs for his 21st birthday today, I was thinking: the 49ers are probably looking forward to going to Green Bay for better weather, Natrone Means shouldn't let success go to his head in Jacksonville like he did in San Diego, Eddie Jones is beginning to play defense like Bobby, we're going to have to live with those "Great Dayne" headlines for awhile.