In Denver's system, everyone is.
Aaron Brooks Takes Off
A Star Grows In New Orleans
Here's all you need to know about Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks, who in his first NFL start engineered a 31-24 upset of the heavily favored Rams: He backs up his promises, and he has fun doing it. Last week Brooks told friends that New Orleans would score 30 points against St. Louis. Then, facing a third-and-eight from the Saints' 28 in the fourth quarter of a 24-24 game, Brooks stepped into the huddle and cracked a smile.
A second-year player acquired in a July 31 trade with the Packers, Brooks rolled right on the play and completed a nine-yard sideline laser to wideout Robert Wilson, who was blanketed by cornerback Taje Allen. The 6' 4", 205-pound Brooks capped the 85-yard drive by leaping the final yard for the winning score, his second touchdown run of the day. He completed 17 of 29 passes for 190 yards and a touchdown. "To see him smiling in such a big situation," said New Orleans wideout Joe Horn, "that showed us his poise. And he can play."
Viking Nears 1,000 Catches
One Phone Call Changed His Life
On Labor Day 1990, following three mediocre seasons as a pro, Cris Carter sat in his apartment in Cherry Hill, N.J., having just been cut by the Eagles. The phone rang. It was Giants coach Bill Parcells, who said his team had claimed Carter on waivers. "How soon can you be up here?" Parcells asked. Carter said it would take him 30 minutes to pack up the apartment and a couple of hours to drive to the Meadowlands. "Good," Parcells told him. "As long as no one else claims you, you're ours."
A half hour later Carter recalled last week, Vikings coach Jerry Burns phoned to say that his team had claimed him, too. NFL rules state that when more than one team makes a waiver claim before the start of the season, the player goes to the club that had the poorest record the previous year. The Giants had finished 12-4 in 1989, the Vikings 10-6. So Minnesota picked up Carter for $100.
"I've thought about what that meant to my career," Carter said with a chuckle. "If I'd gone to the Giants, I'd have a Super Bowl ring and probably 600 fewer catches."
Born again athletically and spiritually after the move to Minnesota, Carter entered this Thursday's game against Detroit with 995 receptions. He said he's "totally in awe" when he contemplates his 1,000th catch, considering that on the day he joined the league, he hoped to catch 500 balls. The 35-year-old Carter seems to be getting better with age. In his first seven seasons he averaged 47 receptions for 654 yards and six touchdowns. Since the start of the 1994 season, his annual averages are 95 receptions for 1,151 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Also impressive is Carter's durability. Since turning 30 he hasn't missed a game. "That's the amazing thing about my career," he said. "I've played 14 years on artificial turf, and I feel good. I'm just put together well."