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Utley to attend AFC game today


DENVER -- Mike Utley will make his first public appearance today since his paralyzing spinal-cord injury.

Utley, hospitalized in Denver's Craig Hospital, is scheduled to attend the Broncos' AFC semifinal against the Houston Oilers. He has requested, through the hospital, that no pictures be taken of him at the game.

Utley, a Detroit Lions guard, was injured Nov. 17 against the Los Angeles Rams.

Since his transfer Dec. 11 to Denver, Broncos tackle Harvey Salem, a former Lion, and coach Dan Reeves have been frequent visitors. They invited him to today's game.

Utley, through a hospital spokesman, said he wished the Broncos and Oilers well, but his primary interest was seeing the Lions make it to the Super Bowl.

"I just want to be another spectator and enjoy a good football game," he said. "In time, I'll make myself more available, but for now I appreciate everyone's patience while I concentrate on my rehab goals."

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