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No love in their X's and O's

Page 4 of 4 -- "I have nothing but great things to say about Bill [Belichick] and Scott [Pioli] and the Krafts. They treated me so well. They gave me a chance to play again after the Jets, and I got to win three championships. You can't put that into words."

Phifer has not ruled out playing again.

"My first priority is to get my shoulder right, and I have the desire and the fire to still play," he said. "But right now I'm just going to enjoy my family and if the time comes when I'm 100 percent and there's a team that needs an old linebacker, I'll be ready.

"I have no idea what the future brings, but I'd be open to returning to the Patriots if they had a need. But if I don't play again, I'm all right with that, too. I've had 14 years in the NFL, which is a blessing. But I know I can still play and after you win a championship, you have that fire to keep playing."

Getting all the names straight

When Louisiana State professor Leigh Clemons went to NFLShop.com to order a Patriots jersey with the name of one of her former students, cornerback Randall Gay, she was rejected, according to Rex Wockner, a columnist for 365gay.com, a website for gay- and lesbian-related news and issues. Clemons was told that the league's official online merchandise center does not print "naughty words" on jerseys. She had to make a series of phone calls to get "Gay" on a jersey. Columnist Jim Buzinski of Outsports Magazine, which covers the gay sports community, did further research and found there are 1,159 banned words in the NFLShop filter. Among the acceptable words were "Hitler," "Fag," "Terrorist," and "Bin Laden." Buzinski's story got the NFL to revise its filtered list, and now Randall Gay fans can order a jersey with his name on it.

QB was cast in supporting role

Former Patriots quarterback Michael Bishop, now playing for the Grand Rapids Rampage of the Arena Football League, was one proud guy last Sunday when his cousin, Eric Bishop, better known as Jamie Foxx, won an Academy Award for best actor for his portrayal of Ray Charles in the movie "Ray."

Coates is in position to know

Former Patriot Ben Coates, who was just hired as tight ends coach by the Browns, on Drew Bledsoe, his former teammate, signing with Dallas: "I know that tight end over there [Jason Witten] is going to help Drew out a lot. I worked with Jason last training camp when Bill [Parcells] brought me in for the minority coaching internship program, and he has a lot of ability. He went on to have a big, big year. The tight end is important to Drew, and I think when he went off to Buffalo he really didn't have that. Witten has a lot of speed for a tight end. I think Dallas is a good fit for Drew. He knows Terry [Glenn]. Terry had his best year with Drew throwing him the ball and he's got a good possession receiver in Keyshawn [Johnson]. I think it could definitely be a place where Drew can revive his career."

They're at the head of Law's list

Ty Law, recently released by the Patriots, said last week he would love to play for either Herm Edwards (Jets) or Tony Dungy (Colts), two coaches he admires.

League has a business plan in place

In the Life After Football Dept., the NFL and the Players Association will provide business education for as many as 70 NFL players at Harvard and Wharton business schools, beginning in April.

He remembers dealing with Dante

Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia has been around so long that he was special teams coach in New England in 1985 when one of his players was Tom Condon, the super-agent. "Being around this long and being around so many head coaches is a tribute to what an outstanding coach he is," Condon said.

Material from personal interviews, wire services, other beat writers, and league and team sources was used in this report. 

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