NFL ROUNDUP | News and notes
Multi-media locker room: Forget boom boxes and CD players in the Tennessee Titans' locker room. Linebacker Keith Bulluck has had a Phillips flat screen TV perched in his locker for months along with some Bose stereo speakers. Receiver Derrick Mason and running back Robert Holcombe have laptops with DVD players, while left tackle Brad Hopkins claims to have the loudest package with his small TV, stereo and speakers. But Bulluck's locker features a different movie every day and usually is the place where players congregate. Call it Bulluck-vision. "It keeps us entertained during two-a-days," said linebacker Rocky Calmus, whose locker is next to Bulluck's. "You come here, relax and watch a little TV. It takes our minds off what's going on. It's a neat thing." During training camp, the Titans have watched movies as different as "American History X" to "Life" and "Barbershop" on Bulluck's TV, while Mason had a vintage "Purple Rain" playing one day recently. The biggest challenge? Getting dressed with up to 20 people trying to watch the movie. But Bulluck said the movies have been a good diversion. "Every day, while people are getting dressed and ready, we watch a movie. No one's been late to practice. Jeff Fisher is a pretty chill guy. He's a great coach. ... If it becomes a distraction and causes people to be late for meetings, I'm sure he'll definitely crack down," Bulluck said.
Filling a hole: When linebacker Marcus Washington left the Indianapolis Colts as a free agent in March, coach Tony Dungy figured he already had a replacement on his roster. Second-year player Cato June, a sixth-round draft pick from Michigan a year ago, was given the first chance to win the job. He's turned it into a one-man show. Dungy has called the converted college safety the most impressive player in camp and he's provided the evidence. During the first practice of training camp, he picked off a Peyton Manning pass and hit a running back so hard his helmet popped off. June also got off to a good start in his first preseason game, making three tackles against San Diego and looking solid in pass coverage. If June continues to play well, the Colts may have found a low-cost replacement for Washington, who was second in sacks with six and fourth in tackles for the team last season. "Cato's doing pretty well. He's playing, reacting, playing fast," Dungy said. "The question is what happens when it's for real, but he's doing pretty well so far."
Banks on it: Heading into his third season backing up David Carr at quarterback for the Houston Texans, Tony Banks hasn't given up hope of someday returning to a full-time starting role. "That's the plan," Banks said. "That's always the plan." The last time the 31-year-old Banks started was 2001, when the Washington Redskins plugged him into the offense after the Dallas Cowboys cut him during training camp. Banks, who delighted in Houston's 19-10 upset of the Cowboys in the franchise's inaugural game, used to wear his distaste for Dallas owner Jerry Jones on his sleeve. Now he's over it. "I wanted to throw the football at him when we were playing them," said Banks, who has been on the opposite sideline six different times since his release, counting regular season, preseason and a scrimmage. "But now I'm over that. I still make Dallas home, and I've got no problems with the Cowboys."
Miami project: The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and the Buoniconti Fund will honor nine athletes during their dinner in September. Barry Sanders, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer, will be joined by golfer Greg Norman, soccer player Mia Hamm, Hall of Fame baseball catcher Gary Carter, figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi, auto racer Michael Andretti, former hockey star Cam Neely, jockey Jerry Bailey and basketball Hall of Famer Robert Parish as the 2004 class of great sports legends. Athletes are chosen based on their contributions to sports, commitment to high ethical standards, dedication to worthy causes and achievements as positive role models. Since its inception in 1985, the annual event has raised more than $23 million for the Buoniconti Fund and the Miami Project, which was founded 19 years ago after Hall of Fame linebacker Nick Buoniconti's son Marc sustained a spinal cord injury during a college football game.
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