MINNEAPOLIS -- Bruce Smith, the Buffalo Bills' All-Pro defensive end, issued a revised version of the trade demand he made this week. Although it made front-page sports news -- which focused on the racial hate mail he has received from time to time -- Smith said the whole thing was overblown.
"Someone asked a question, and I answered it," he said. "I made a couple of comments. I don't know how it turned into a cover story."
Tuesday, Smith had said he couldn't "forget" the racial insults sent to him in Buffalo, N.Y., over the last three years, and that he would "explore his options" after Sunday's Super Bowl.
However, Bills coach Marv Levy said the team had no desire to deal Smith, who has two years remaining on his five-year, $7.5 million contract.
"We're not going to trade Bruce Smith," Levy said flatly yesterday. "I haven't spoken to him about it, but what I want to tell him is: 'You received three or four bad letters and thousands of good ones who decry racism. Don't let a bigot or two chase you out of town. You're a bigger man than that. The problem is with the guy who sent the letters, not with you.'"