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Tuesday, November 26, 1996 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Sideline Chatter

`Slobbering' Lambert Scared Elway

Most football fans would agree that John Elway has been winning games for the Denver Broncos for a long time, but how many know that the quarterback's NFL career almost ended before it started?

Elway, who will lead the AFC West-leading Broncos against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday in Denver, recalled this fall that as a Bronco rookie in 1983, his debut was traumatic.

On his first play, he looked across the line and saw middle linebacker Jack Lambert of the Pittsburgh Steelers glaring at him.

"He had no teeth, and he was slobbering all over himself," Elway said. "I'm thinking, `You can have your money back. Just get me out of here. Let me go be an accountant.'

"I can't tell you how badly I wanted out of there."

Statistically, Elway was awful in that game, completing one of eight passes for 14 yards with an interception. And he was sacked four times.

After two carries in his most recent victory, over the Minnesota Vikings, Elway is the NFL record-holder for carries by a quarterback, breaking Randall Cunningham's mark of 677.

Terrell who?

What do Ki-Jana Carter, Tyrone Wheatley, Napoleon Kaufman, James Stewart (not the actor), Rashaan Salaam, Ray Zellars, Sherman Williams, Terrell Fletcher, William Henderson, Curtis Martin, Zack Crockett, Joe Aska, Rodney Thomas, Larry Jones, Aaron Hayden, James Stewart (not the actor and not the previously listed James Stewart), Ryan Christopherson, Travis Jervey, Cory Schlesinger and Dino Philyaw have in common?

They're the 20 running backs selected ahead of the Denver Broncos' MVP candidate, Terrell Davis, in the 1995 NFL draft.

Still useful

Eighteen survivors of the United States Football League (1984-85) still play in the NFL. Among them: Steve Young (San Francisco), Reggie White (Green Bay), Nate Newton (Dallas), William Fuller (Philadelphia), Jim Kelly and Kent Hull (Buffalo) and Sam Mills (Carolina).

He said it

Cincinnati Coach Rick Minter, after his Bearcats edged Louisville 10-7 despite punting 12 times: "It wasn't pretty, but I've never met a win I didn't like."

He wrote it

-- Mike Lopresti, Gannett News Service, on the play of the year in college football: "Forget drama. For true immortality, we offer Ohio State's punt return for a touchdown against Pittsburgh when the Buckeyes had only eight players on the field. Did anyone ever find out what the four Panthers who had no one out there trying to block them were doing?"

Compiled by Chuck Ashmun, Seattle Times

Copyright (c) 1996 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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