Buford could run ball as well as bases


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Ex-Poly back Antonio Freeman set a school record at Virginia Tech, hauling back seven punts for 164 yards against Pitt Saturday. That helps one fully appreciate the old Oriole Don Buford's record show against Notre Dame in 1956 when he returned kicks for 189 yards.

* Here's what kind of guy Paul Wylie is. The Olympic silver medal-winning figure skater arranges for a sensational "Evening with Champions" show annually, calling upon colleagues to participate, and it's all for the Jimmy Fund charity.

* If competition shouldn't matter, as Steve McNair, Heisman Trophy hopeful from Alcorn State has suggested, how come Bentley, which has the longest college winning streak (25) and has outscored New England Conference foes 163-0, isn't anywhere to be found in the weekly AP and coaches' polls?

* Anfernee Hardaway, who was seeking a $100 million deal out of the Orlando Magic but had to be satisfied with $72 million over nine seasons, says, "It wasn't about money. I want to be paid for what I've done and on an economic basis. Michael Jordan was the best and he was underpaid. If he can be underpaid, I can be underpaid." See, money had nothing to do with it.

Juwan Howard's agent, David Falk, says, "There are times I've hung up the phone [after negotiating with the Washington Bullets] and wondered if I'm talking to the Houston Rockets, Phoenix Suns or New York Knicks and not a team that won just 24 games last season."

That team also probably lost many bucks and here his guy wants $24 million for six years. That's enough contract talk.

* Here's the difference between baseball and hockey players. During an extended strike, a ballplayer went home, spent all his time fishing and, when the strike ended, he was in no condition to play the first two weeks back. Eight New Jersey Devils players got together the other day, chipped in and purchased ice time for a practice.

* The reason Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard, Conn., (no resort, believe me) is going for quality instead of quantity with regard to staging boxing is some of the eight shows staged this year drew in the 400-450 range and those figures were padded.

* Until Phil Regan came along to manage the Orioles, I don't think I ever heard the word "exciting" placed upon the coaching staff. Usually, they're a rather faceless bunch not given to dispensing information, anecdotes or much of anything.

* So what if the defending champion of the New York City Marathon (Nov. 6) double-booked into the Big Apple and the Fukuoka Marathon in Japan in December? The 1992 champ, Willie Mitola, and the '91 victor, Salvador Garcia, are ready to go.

* It's a strain on the eyes, yes, but check out the page of high school football scores USA Today runs by state each Monday. For instance, in Texas, here's what some of the top-rated teams did to their rivals: Austin Westlake 84, Austin Johnston 0; Thorndale 73, Holland 0.

* Pete Rozelle's nirvana: Here it is the midpoint of the NFL season dead ahead and all 28 teams are still in the hunt for a playoff spot. Yes, even the Cincinnati Bengals with their 0-7 record.

* New Jersey Nets general manager Willis Reed on Yinka Dare, who fled George Washington University after two seasons for a $10 million contract: "The next two years are going to be developmental years for him." Still want to own a ballclub?

* A decade after winning the Heisman Trophy, Doug Flutie said the other day on his birthday, "I can't believe I'm 32 years old. I'm faster than I've ever been [recently running his fastest 40 ever, 4.37], stronger and I'm throwing the ball better than I ever have."

He'll probably scoop up his fourth MVP award for his sparkling CFL play soon and says, "With some of the guys playing quarterback in the NFL, I just shake my head."

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