New York Giants linebacker Mike Barrow has an interesting perspective when it comes to the controversy swirling around Ray Lewis and Rae Carruth. He played with both, as a teammate of Lewis at the University of Miami and of Carruth with the Carolina Panthers.
Barrow said that he didn't see Ravens coach Brian Billick's opening news conference here, but he can understand how Billick came to Lewis' defense.
"He's doing what a father would do for a child," said Barrow, who preceded Lewis as the middle linebacker for the Hurricanes. "That's his son in a sense, and he's protecting him. Who wouldn't do that for their child? This thing happened a year ago.
"I don't want to be insensitive about it. I saw last night [a report on] the families of the victims. I was crying inside. Their voice wasn't heard when it happened. You ask yourself why did it come out now? It's kind of sad from their standpoint, because they feel like they're being bamboozled."
As for Lewis, Barrow said: "Let Ray live. Everyone's trying to do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, bringing it up again. He overcame it once, he's going to do it again. The court system found him not guilty [of the murders]. We've got to respect the court system.
"As long as God has forgiven him, it just don't matter. This society is very unforgiving. I don't know what happened in Atlanta, but in every article printed about him, they've got to bring it up."
It was a different result for Carruth, who was found guilty last week of conspiracy to commit murder and was sentenced Monday to no less than 19 years in jail.
"It hurts," said Barrow, who played the last three years in Carolina before signing with the Giants last March. "On everybody's side of it, it just hurts."
Giant fan of the president
Backup Giants tight end Dan Campbell is a happy man these days.
Not only is his team in the Super Bowl, but a fellow Texan is now president of the United States. Campbell, a second-year player out of Texas A&M;, is a "big fan" of President George W. Bush.
Campbell grew up in Glen Rose, Texas, about an hour south of Dallas.
"I have relatives who live about 10 miles away from [President Bush's] ranch in Crawford," said Campbell.
Campbell was not exactly the center of attention yesterday. In fact, he was barely on the radar screen.
Had he not been wearing his Giants uniform, nobody would have known that he's on the team.
"Sometimes you'd like to feel like one of the elite," said Campbell, pointing to the swarms surrounding players like Michael Strahan and Kerry Collins. "At the same time, I love not being hassled. I can go to the movies and nobody knows who I am."
Not that Campbell hasn't contributed to his team's Super Bowl drive. He caught eight passes this season for 46 yards and three touchdowns while backing up Pete Mitchell and Howard Cross.
"I can't believe I'm here," Campbell said. "When you're a kid, you hope and dream of going to the Super Bowl and now I'm here in my second year. That's amazing."
Giants co-chief executive officer Robert Tisch came pretty close to being on the other side of the field for Sunday's Super Bowl.
Tisch was all set to purchase the Baltimore franchise had the NFL awarded the city an expansion team in the mid-1990s. Instead, the league chose Jacksonville and Carolina, and Ravens owner Art Modell moved his franchise to Baltimore in 1996.
"If you remember, I was going to be the owner of Baltimore, and either Carolina or Jacksonville wouldn't have made it," Tisch said. "I had it all set with [then] Gov. [William Donald] Schaefer, and I'm 99 percent sure that I would have been the owner."
Tisch went on to buy half the Giants with the urging of Modell, who wanted to see Tisch going into business with New York co-owner Wellington Mara.
"Art called me and said, 'Bob, you know Wellington's my closest friend.' I said, 'Yes, I know that.' He said, 'We hear that Timmy Mara is now going to think seriously about selling 50 percent interest. Would you be interested?' I said, 'Yes, I would.' "
Ravens defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis isn't the only hot assistant.
The name of Giants defensive coordinator John Fox has been tossed around as a possible candidate for one of the two vacant head coaching positions.
New York's defense finished fifth in the league. Fox's squad shut out the high-scoring Minnesota Vikings in the NFC championship game, and contained Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb to just 17 yards rushing and 181 passing the week before.
"It's something that I've aspired for and I've worked for my whole career and something I'm obviously interested in," Fox said of becoming a head coach.
"But that is something that is on the back burner for next week. All of my focus is on preparing our team for the Super Bowl."
Still a Gator
Giants tackle Lomas Brown, a 16-year veteran, on whether he still closely follows his alma mater, Florida: "If you're not a Gator, you're Gator bait, baby!" he said.
Staff writers Brent Jones and Glenn P. Graham contributed to this article.