Defensive backs get thrill covering Seahawks' Rice
By Bill Coats
Of the Post-Dispatch
Friday, Jan. 07 2005

Seahawks receiver Jerry Rice, 42, apparently is a bit touchy about his age.
Rams cornerback Jerametrius Butler recalled that his first meeting with Rice
didn't go so well.

"I went up to him and said, 'I used to play with you on Tecmo Bowl, the video
game,'" Butler said Friday on the eve of the Rams' first-round playoff game in
Seattle. "He said, 'Man, get away from me.' I guess he hears that a lot."

Rice has spent 20 seasons distancing himself from NFL defensive backs. He holds
virtually every career receiving record in the league, including receptions
(1,549) and yards (22,895). His 197 touchdowns also are an NFL record.

Traded from Oakland on Oct. 19, Rice became only the third player in league
history to play in 17 regular-season games. He started nine of 11 games with
the Seahawks, collecting 27 catches for 362 yards and three touchdowns.

Despite the initial brush-off, Butler said he regarded squaring off against a
wideout with Rice's credentials a thrill. "It's a blast," said Butler, a
fourth-year pro from Kansas State. "I don't want him to catch a ball on me, of
course, but it's just exciting going up against a player like that."

Fellow Rams cornerback Travis Fisher, a three-year veteran out of Central
Florida, added: "When I'm on Jerry, I'm excited. But during the play, I don't
really look at him as Jerry Rice. He's just another guy trying to beat me."

Rice had one catch for 9 yards in the Seahawks' 23-12 loss to the Rams on Nov.
14 at Edward Jones Dome. He was still with the Raiders when the Rams rallied
past Seattle 33- 27 in overtime Oct. 10 at Qwest Field.

Nutten gets the nod

The weeklong mystery as to who would open at left guard apparently has been
solved. After Friday's practice, coach Mike Martz said veteran Tom Nutten "will
probably start for us. The rest has really served him well. I think he's ready
to go."

Nutten, who has fought toe and knee problems through much of the season, was
knocked out of Sunday's game against the New York Jets when he reinjured his
left knee. Rookie Larry Turner took his place and as of Thursday appeared in
line for his second start.

But Nutten was back with the first unit for most of Friday's short session
before the team headed for Seattle.

Martz wasn't as hopeful about the availability of defensive lineman Tyoka
Jackson, who suffered a sprained ankle vs. the Jets and didn't practice all
week. "He's banged up pretty good," Martz said. "We'll see what he's like
(today), but I'm very pessimistic."

Defensive end Leonard Little (groin) practiced Friday for the first time this
week. He remained questionable on Friday's injury report but is expected to
play.

Running back Arlen Harris (hamstring) was listed as doubtful, although he took
part in some drills Friday. Nutten and T. Jackson also were questionable, and
wide receiver Isaac Bruce (hip), defensive end Bryce Fisher (ankle) and
linebacker Brandon Chillar (shoulder) remained probable.

Freshness factor

Center Andy McCollum, who along with guard Adam Timmerman make up the Doughnut
Brothers, revealed a trade secret Friday on how to "freshen up" their favorite
treats. It involves a microwave oven and a Styrofoam cup.

"The perfect time is nine seconds," McCollum explained. "You set it on top of
the cup and then you get better air flow through the doughnut hole. You could
even take one that's a couple of days old, you crank it in there, it's like a
fresh doughnut."

McCollum said he and Timmerman refined the process through exhausting research.