MEDIA Ex-Raider Johnstone pays Vikings a visit : LUSENET : Purple : One Thread

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2001

nfl report

Ex-Raider Johnstone pays Vikings a visit

Pioneer Press ---------------------------------------------------------------------- -- FROM STAFF AND NEWS SERVICE REPORTS ---------------------------------------------------------------------- -- Former Oakland Raiders defensive end Lance Johnstone visited the Vikings on Wednesday at Winter Park. Although the Vikings have little room under the salary cap, the team hopes to land a quality defensive lineman such as Johnstone for a deal close to the veterans minimum of $477,000. Earlier in the week, former Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chester McGlockton and former Baltimore Ravens defensive end Keith Washington visited the Vikings. Johnstone had 21 sacks in 1998 and 1999, and he signed a seven-year, $35 million extension that included a $3 million signing bonus during training camp last year. But he suffered a groin injury and played hurt most of last season. He finished with 3 1/2 sacks, and the team terminated his contract last month before it had to pay him a $3.5 million bonus. Johnstone, a former second-round pick, is 6 feet 4 and weighs 250 pounds. He visited the Arizona Cardinals earlier. -- Sean Jensen, Staff Writer

Billy Ray Smith dies: Billy Ray Smith, the former Arkansas football star who played 13 seasons in the NFL, died after a two-year fight with cancer. He was 66. Smith, a tackle for the Razorbacks from 1954-56, played in two Super Bowls for the Baltimore Colts. ``He was a great football player, a great athlete, but that barely scratches the surface of the kind of person he was,'' said Billy Ray Smith Jr., also a former Arkansas and NFL player. The elder Smith was a member of the 1954 Arkansas team that played in the Cotton Bowl. The Los Angeles Rams drafted Smith in 1957 and traded him a year later to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Two years later, the Steelers sent him to the Colts. Smith is survived by his wife, Jenny; four children; three stepchildren; nine grandchildren; and two sisters. Watching Weinke: They came to Tallahassee, Fla., to see if Chris Weinke could move as well as he could talk, and NFL scouts, coaches and personnel directors got what they wanted, and then some. Weinke, the Heisman Trophy winner from Florida State who played quarterback at Cretin-Derham Hall, was under pressure to run the 40-yard dash in less than five seconds. He did it twice Tuesday. Florida State's offensive coaches, knowing Weinke, 27, had shed nine pounds since a 13-2 loss to Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, figured he would not disappoint, and consecutive times of 4.8 seconds confirmed their judgment. ``I'm probably in the best shape of my life right now,'' said Weinke, who weighs 226 pounds. Still waiting on alignment: The NFL must realign its divisions when Houston rejoins the league for the 2002 season, but the league will go down to the June 1 deadline before deciding. The league made that official Wednesday, saying the teams would not be realigned next week at the annual spring meetings in Palm Desert, Calif. Realignment probably will be up for a vote at a meeting scheduled for the f

-- Mark (Karch, March 22, 2001


I remember Billy Ray Smith very well! The Baltimore Colts had quite a legacy. They fielded great teams for many years until that fateful move to Indy in the middle of the night! Too bad he had to pass away so early in life. Of course, he is the same age I am - YIKES!


-- Jan Zumbo (, March 22, 2001.

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