- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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Modell walked over to his coach, Bill Belichick, embraced him and kissed him on the right cheek. Holding Belichick by both shoulders Modell whispered into his right car, "Take a month off."
Modell is the most emotional owner in the league, and this had been an emotional week. The press and the fans were still all over Belichick for his decision a few weeks back to go with Testaverde over Cleveland icon Bernie Kosar. (On Sunday, Testaverde was lost for eight to 10 weeks with a separated right shoulder.) In midweek Modell handed Belichick—who is 18-21 with no playoff appearances in 2� years with the Browns—a two-year contract extension, through the 1997 season. Said Modell, "I had to give him the extension to send word to certain people in the community that I was behind Bill 100 percent. I back him unconditionally. He's giving me an honest shake. I trust him to build a champion."
For one idyllic Sunday at least, that doesn't seem all that improbable.
A STERLING SEASON
The league's quietest megastar is at it again, wowing us on the field for three hours each week and then shying away from the spotlight. According to his friends, Packer wide receiver Sterling Sharpe rarely does interviews because he has no interest in becoming famous. In Green Bay's 37-14 win over Tampa Bay, the quiet man ripped the Bucs for 10 catches, 147 yards and four touchdowns—the best day of his pro career. "He doesn't want anybody to praise him," says Green Bay defensive lineman Matt Brock. "He just wants to catch balls and make defensive backs look like fools."
Last year Sharpe set the NFL season record for receptions, with 108, and after six games this fall he's on pace to haul in 115. He is the Midwest's Jerry Rice. At 6'1", 210 pounds, Sharpe is an inch shorter but five pounds heavier than Rice, Since 1989 Rice, with abler quarterbacks, has had 388 receptions to Sharpe's 377. Sharpe has been playing in pain—he has Achilles tendinitis—but he can still turn on the afterburners. His touchdown catches on Sunday left Tampa Bay's director of player personnel, Jerry Angelo, shaking his head. "That was one of the finest exhibitions as a wide receiver I've ever seen," Angelo said. "I don't think I've ever seen him run so strong after the catch."
STATS OF THE WEEK