SI Vault
Peter King
May 11, 1998
Getting a Grip
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May 11, 1998

The Nfl

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You know Cowher will do some wild things. He's not afraid to experiment with quirky lineups, knowing that the unexpected keeps the Steelers revved up, and he just might lead the league in throwing young players into the fire. Here's a possible case in point: If outside linebacker Greg Lloyd can't rebound from a badly sprained right ankle and subsequent staph infection that sidelined him late in the 1997 season, second-year defensive lineman Mike Vrabel could take his spot. "Mike's a lot like Kevin Greene," said Cowher, who firmly no-commented reports that he might try to leave the Steelers in 1999 for a lucrative coach-general manager position. "Put him in the game and he makes plays." That's a common thread running through the Steelers of the '90s.

Giant among Men
Jurevicius Is Mr. Versatile

When the Giants' offensive coaches met after a postdraft minicamp to discuss how their prospects fit in, they couldn't figure out what to do with rookie wideout Joe Jurevicius, the 6'4", 231-pound second-round choice out of Penn State. He could line up inside when New York goes to a three-or four-wideout formation or he could be split wide or he could be a flanker. "We decided that he could fit in all those spots," says coach Jim Fassel, "and we'll try to train him at every one. I was in Denver with Shannon Sharpe, and you could see he was too physical if the other team put a defensive back on him and too fast if it put a linebacker on him."

The Giants hope Jurevicius can become a cross between Sharpe and another Bronco, wideout Ed McCaffrey, a big man who's more than a possession receiver. "In college I caught a lot of deep posts and streaks," says Jurevicius, who averaged 20.3 yards per catch at Penn State. "I think I have deceptive speed."

If he can get off the line against the quick and physical corner-backs in the NFC East—one rival personnel man said last week that slowness off the line will be Jurevicius's downfall—the Giants might finally have the receiver to complement their run-oriented offense. That would be welcome news for a team that hasn't had a Pro Bowl wideout since 1968.

He's No Bench Warmer
Full-time Duty For Reggie

Forget all those stories about Reggie White's playing one last season as a spot player for the Packers. Green Bay general manager Ron Wolf sees White and rookie first-round pick Vonnie Holliday starting at the defensive ends. The Packers sent White to a back specialist, who told them that there was no need for surgery to correct a damaged disk and that White could be at full strength if he can handle strenuous off-season rehab. "If he makes the commitment to get in shape for football," Wolf says, "there's nobody we have who's better." Since his announcement that he would return, White has been putting in five-hour days at the Packers' training facility.

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

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