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Times NFL writer T.J. Simers poses--and answers--the burning questions on . . . GAME DAY

1. Question: What’s the definition of bad luck?

Answer: Washington linebacker Patrise Alexander.

Alexander spent 10 months rehabilitating his knee, never missing a team meeting or practice. Two days after he was activated, he got a chance to block on the game’s opening kickoff against Arizona, and was on top of the world, clearing the way for Brian Mitchell to run 100 yards for a touchdown.

Just one problem: That yellow flag on the ground.

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Holding on Alexander, touchdown wiped out. Two days later, Alexander was cut.

2. Q: What’s the definition of really bad luck?

A: A woman in Fredericksburg, Va.

The Redskins’ radio network drew the woman’s name and she would win a car if Washington ran the opening kickoff back for a touchdown. The Redskins did.

Just one problem: That yellow flag on the ground.

Holding on Alexander, touchdown wiped out. No car.

3. Q: What should Alexander do now?

A: Take up deep snapping.

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Danny Villa was cleaning chimneys, earning $59 for each one, when the Patriots called and offered him $134,000 for the rest of the season to work three or four plays a game as their deep snapper.

“I’m not stupid,” Villa said. “The seven weeks I hope I’m here, I’ll make more than in 10 years of chimney sweeping.”

4. Q: Who has the better trio of receivers, the Vikings or 49ers?

A: The Vikings, although the statistics favor the 49ers.

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Jerry Rice, J.J. Stokes and Terrell Owens have combined to catch 129 passes for San Francisco, while Cris Carter, Randy Moss (32 catches for 599 yards and six touchdowns) and Jake Reed have 103. Keep in mind that Stokes is a stiff.

5. Q: Who backed up quarterback Jimmy Jones at USC in 1969?

A: Jim Fassel and Mike Holmgren.

The two former Trojan backup quarterbacks meet this week as opposing head coaches. They were roommates in college.

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Fassel still wears his Rose Bowl ring from 1969, although he completed only seven of 22 passes for 94 yards and two touchdowns that season. That was better than Holmgren, however, who never played because of a shoulder injury.


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