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Friday, October 01, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
By The Associated Press
NEW YORK Bill Parcells' players have tried to hit him and that's just fine with the two-time Super Bowl-champion coach.
"We've had a few" players take a swing at him, Parcells said in an interview with "60 Minutes" that will air Sunday. "That's OK. I think confrontation is healthy, because it clears the air very quickly."
The Dallas Cowboys' coach is rarely pleased, even when his team is doing well.
"This game and this business is not without a myriad of incessant problems ... even when you are successful ... when you win the game," Parcells said.
"About an hour after the game you have a litany of things you now deal with that are problematic: 'Who's hurt? Who am I going to replace him with? How am I going to get this team ready for next week?' So the times that you are happy are minute compared to the time that you are dealing with problems," he added.
In the interview with the CBS program, Parcells didn't sound like someone planning to be with the Cowboys for the long haul.
"You know the end is near," he said. "I really do know it, so I can enjoy it more. I am enjoying it a lot more than I did and I'm not beating myself up quite as much."
Former Steeler dies in crash after eluding
HERKIMER, N.Y. Justin Strzelczyk, a former player for the Pittsburgh Steelers, died yesterday in a fiery head-on collision with a tanker truck after he led state troopers on a 40-mile highway chase during morning rush hour.
Strzelczyk, 36, was an offensive lineman with the Steelers for nearly a decade until the team released him in February 2000.
"It could have been so much worse. We're fortunate that only one person died," said Trooper Jim Simpson, a state-police spokesman.
Strzelczyk, who lived in McCandless, Pa., near Pittsburgh, had been involved in another minor accident about an hour earlier just west of Syracuse, which started the bizarre turn of events, Simpson said.
Police identified the driver of the tanker as Harold Jackson, 60, from Bowman, S.C. He was treated at a hospital for minor injuries and released. No one else was hurt.
Denver Broncos QB Jake Plummer must remove the No. 40 decal he's worn on the back of his helmet since training camp that honors former Arizona Cardinals teammate Pat Tillman.
Tillman, the former safety who walked away from the NFL to join the U.S. Army Rangers and fight in Afghanistan, was killed in action in April.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Wednesday the league's long-standing policy prohibits personal messages on uniforms or helmets. Violators could face fines of $5,000.
"I'm not going to fight the NFL," Plummer said. "I'm looking for some kind of compromise."
Tennessee Titans QB Steve McNair didn't practice again and only tossed a ball lightly because of a bruised sternum. His chest still hurts when he takes a deep breath. McNair is officially listed as questionable, and coach Jeff Fisher won't rule out his quarterback playing. McNair admitted he couldn't play if the game was today.
QB Tim Rattay expects to return to the San Francisco 49ers' starting lineup Sunday after a two-week absence. Rattay separated his throwing shoulder during San Francisco's season opener Sept. 12 against Atlanta and hasn't played since.
The Carolina Panthers fined RB Rod Smart for missing practice when he was stuck in Florida during Hurricane Jeanne.
From his conversations with coach John Fox, Smart said he assumed he was not in trouble for missing practice.
Smart didn't know how much the Panthers were fining him, estimating it would be between "$5,000 and $10,000."
The league will hear Minnesota Vikings RB Onterrio Smith's appeal of a pending four-game suspension Wednesday. Smith faces a suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.
S Shaun Williams of the New York Giants will be sidelined the rest of the season after surgery on his left knee.
Rookie TE Kellen Winslow Jr., out for the season with a broken right leg, was placed on the Cleveland Browns' injured-reserve list.
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