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King's Corner
Peter King
December 22, 2003
TRADING E-MAIL WITH...Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck, the NFL's ninth-rated passer
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December 22, 2003

King's Corner

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Hasselbeck: Boston fans are fans because their great-grandfathers rooted for the Celtics, the Red Sox, the Bruins or the Patriots. Seattle fans are fans because their parents were.

SI: The person, other than a football player, who was the biggest thrill for you to meet.

Hasselbeck: President Bush. I met him in Green Bay. I made a fool of myself, but it was still pretty cool.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING
The Bills, the 49ers and the Jets were eliminated from postseason contention on Sunday, so when you include the old AFL, for the first time since 1954 no team from New York or California will make the playoffs.

STAR IN THE MAKING
Titans quarterback Billy Volek
Making his first NFL start, for the injured Steve McNair, Volek overcame the flu and a strong Buffalo pass rush to rally Tennessee to a 28-26 win on Sunday, completing 26 of 41 attempts for 295 yards, with two touchdown passes and a rushing TD. All season Jeff Fisher has been unbending in his praise of Volek, a fourth-year player out of Fresno State. Said Titans tight end Erron Kinney, "He has the same aura as Steve. He was real calm. He has a laser [for an arm] and can throw the ball in tight spots."

MY TWO CENTS

1. Coaching candidates should be flocking to Atlanta to replace Dan Reeves, who was fired last week. If the new guy can install an offense suited for quarterback Michael Vick, keep Vick healthy and build a defense around middle linebacker Keith Brooking, the Falcons will contend for the Super Bowl next season.

2. NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue must take us all for rubes. How else to explain his statement, in an HBO interview, that college football is no longer the farm system for the NFL it once was because the league has NFL Europe to develop players?

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