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Notebook: Jeremy Shockey opens up a little

| Friday, Aug. 22, 2003

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Jeremy Shockey spoke Thursday for the first time since apologizing for published comments about his sexual preferences and others critical of Dallas coach Bill Parcells.

He didn't say much.

Shockey talked for less than two minutes in his first interview in 11 days, spending most of the time discussing the rib broken Aug. 15 in a game against Carolina.

Shockey usually has walked past the media after eating lunch.

"You guys ready to talk?" Shockey asked Thursday as he left the team's training camp cafeteria at the University at Albany.

When someone asked him about fishing during a team outing at Lake George on Wednesday, Shockey made it clear his personal life was off limits.

"Y'all had your chance, y'all blew it," the former Miami product said.

Shockey walked another 20 feet and then stopped when asked if a question about his ribs would have gotten a better response.

"It's pretty sore," said Shockey, who will not play Saturday in the annual preseason game against the Jets.

Coach Jim Fassel said Shockey might practice next week wearing a flak jacket.

"Right now, I am just trying to get healthy and stay in good condition for the season," Shockey said.

Marcellus Rivers, Darnell Dinkins and rookie Visanthe Shiancoe have been filling in for Shockey, who went to the Pro Bowl as a rookie after setting Giants' records for tight ends and rookies with 74 receptions.

Since being injured, Shockey has been acting as a coach on the field, talking to the tight ends after every play and patting the offensive players on the back after good plays.

Shockey said being sidelined has not been a problem.

"It's not tough. It's not real games, so it's good," Shockey said.

Even before the sentence was finished, Shockey was turning to go to his truck.

"Talk to you later," he said, already a couple of steps into his escape.

When asked if he would be ready for the Giants' season opener against the St. Louis Rams on Sept. 7, Shockey said:

"Don't know yet• We'll see," Shockey said.

BILLS COACH RETURNS TO PRACTICE AFTER PROSTATE SURGERY

Receivers coach Fred Graves was back at practice with the Buffalo Bills after missing nearly a month following surgery for prostate cancer.

Graves returned with both a new outlook on football -- "I knew I would miss it," he said -- and a new disregard for daytime television.

"TV is the worst thing in the world during the day," Graves said, smiling. "There's nothing on TV. You get all those infomercials and all that stuff. Yeah, I'm glad to be back with the team, coaching. That's what I do."

Graves, entering his third year with the Bills, said he was cleared by his doctor to resume full duties as coach.

"The only thing (the doctor) told me is that if I get tired, to just sit down," he said. "I don't want to put any hours or certain amount of days on it. I'll just go. And when I get tired, I'll sit down."

Graves, 53, had missed all but the first two days of training camp after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer following a routine physical last month. Graves had surgery July 26 and had been at home with his family in Buffalo recuperating.

It was difficult, considering he had never missed a training camp in his 26 years as a coach, including 19 at Utah, his alma mater.

Besides watching the Bills' first two preseason games on TV, Graves had practice tapes sent to his home to evaluate. Bills receivers Eric Moulds and Josh Reed also kept in close contact by phone.

"It was good to talk to those guys just to see how they were doing," Graves said.

Moulds was glad to welcome back Graves.

"It's a plus for me," Moulds said. "I'm used to having him in there and telling me exactly what I'm doing wrong, exactly what I'm doing right. It kind of felt empty."

EAGLES SEASON TICKET HOLDER SUES OVER NEW STADIUM SEATS

A Philadelphia Eagles season-ticket holder sued the team because he lost his 50-yard-line seats in the move to Lincoln Financial Field and his attorney said that he has heard from several others with similar complaints.

Attorney Scott Levensten said he hadn't determined whether to file additional lawsuits on behalf of those individuals or seek class-action status for the lawsuit he filed last week on behalf of Stephen Maslow, of Narberth.

Maslow, 62, a retired businessman, accused the Eagles of breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation and fraud. He said he held 50-yard-line seats at Veterans Stadium and paid $12,580 to get comparable seating at the new stadium.

Maslow said when he went to check his new location, he found his seats at Lincoln Financial Field were closer to the 30-yard line, which the lawsuit called "a material and real difference." He said he didn't get results when he called to complain or when he had his attorneys send a letter to the Eagles about the problem in July.

The Eagles didn't respond to the lawsuit, which asked that Maslow be returned to his 50-yard-line location and receive unspecified damages and attorneys' fees, Levensten said.

Eagles spokesman Ron Howard has told the Philadelphia Daily News the team wasn't commenting, and didn't immediately return a call from The AP about the lawsuit Wednesday.

POLICE OFFICER INVESTIGATED IN IDENTITY THEFT OF VIKINGS PLAYER

An Eden Prairie police officer is suspected of trying to steal the identities of five members of the Minnesota Vikings, according to an application for a search warrant filed in Hennepin County district court.

The officer, who had worked as a part-time security guard for the team for the past 10 years, allegedly used information about Michael Bennett to get a credit card in the name of the running back.

Bennett learned of the scam when he received bills totalling $118 from several gas stations for a credit card he didn't own. He contacted an NFL security representative whose investigation led to the Eden Prairie officer.

Players and other people identified the suspect from surveillance video taken when he used one of Bennett's credit cards.

According to the search warrant, Eden Prairie officers searched the officer's work locker on Aug. 14 and found personal information about several players, including tax documents belonging to quarterback Daunte Culpepper and a credit card application in the name of defensive end Lance Johnstone.

"When I received the allegations, it was very disturbing and it saddened me greatly that this sort of situation could arise," said Eden Prairie Police Chief Dan Carlson. He said the officer, an eight-year veteran, was put on paid administrative leave.

Team executive vice president Mike Kelly said, "Obviously all of us are surprised and unhappy about it."

No charges have been filed in the case. The Hennepin County sheriff's office was investigating.

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