Originally created 01/26/99

Falcons notes: Two out with injuries



MIAMI -- Starting defensive end Lester Archambeau and fullback Brian Kozlowski were held out of the Falcons' first on-site Super Bowl practice Monday because of ankle sprains.

Kozlowski is listed as probable for the game, but Archambeau, who leads the team in sacks with 10, is only questionable. His status will be watched closely over the next few days.

The Falcons practiced for about an hour at the University of Miami, using the time primarily to acclimate themselves to their surroundings and temperatures of around 80 degrees.

"We got an opportunity to see our facilities, and they are outstanding," coach Dan Reeves said. "We've got no excuses as far as our practice facilities. All things went well -- great meetings, weight room, everything was good."

Glad to be here: Receiver Tony Martin says he feels fortunate to have gone from playing on a losing team (San Diego) for a coach he didn't like (Kevin Gilbride, who was later fired) to having a productive year with the Falcons and reaching the Super Bowl.

"I don't think Kevin Gilbride and I saw eye-to-eye," Martin said. "I thought getting traded was the best thing for me at the time. When the trade occurred, I was on the golf course, and my agent called and told me about it. I was glad it happened because it gave me a chance to start over and start fresh."

Martin was acquired last spring for the Falcons' 1999 second-round pick after Bert Emanuel, Atlanta's leading receiver in 1997, signed a lucrative free-agent contract with Tampa Bay.

Thought to be on the decline by some observers, Martin, 33, had one of his best years, catching 66 passes for 1,181 yards and six touchdowns. He had 13 catches of 30 yards or more during the regular season before adding a 70-yard reception against Minnesota in the NFC Championship Game.

Premium on experience: At 33, Chandler is easily the youngest of the four quarterbacks who will be on the active rosters for Sunday's game.

Chandler's backup, Steve DeBerg, is 44. Denver starting quarterback John Elway is 38, and his backup, Bubby Brister, is 36.

So, what does it say that all four quarterbacks have been in the NFL for more than a decade?

"It's a hard position to play," Chandler said. "The more playing time you get, the better you get. Being able to throw the ball is, I think, a bonus. Knowing where to throw it is the most important thing."

[bf]Another sore spot:[nf] Reeves has apologized repeatedly for opening old wounds last week when he agreed to discuss his falling out with Denver coach Mike Shanahan and quarterback John Elway. He has vowed to not discuss the controversy further.

However, Reeves was forced to relive another bad memory when he was asked to compare this Super Bowl trip with his last one -- when his Broncos were beaten 55-14 by San Francisco after the 1989 season.

"I really felt good going into the San Francisco game," Reeves said. "I would have lost my house, my car, everything if I was a better person. You don't have to bring up memories like that. Don't make me reflect back on that."

[bf]Bennett redux:[nf] Linebacker Cornelius Bennett was quick to correct a reporter who told him that if the Falcons lose Sunday, he would be the first player in history to lose five Super Bowls. "No I wouldn't," Bennett said. "Gale Gilbert, one of my ex-teammates, lost five in a row."

Indeed, Gilbert, a reserve quarterback, lost four times with Buffalo and once with San Diego between the 1990 and 1994 seasons.

In some circles, Bennett may be seen as a sentimental favorite -- the way Elway was last year, when the beat Green Bay in Super Bowl XXXII.

"It would mean a great deal to me," Bennett said. "Not only would it have helped me break a losing streak in the Super Bowl, but it also would have helped a struggling franchise -- a franchise that's been in the pits for 33 years or whatever. So, I would be part of a great legacy."

Asked if he enjoyed seeing Elway finally win a championship, Bennett said, "I didn't think about Elway. I thought about one of my ex-teammates, (defensive tackle) Mike Lodish. I lost four Super Bowls with him, and all I could think about when I saw him flash across the camera was, another one of my guys got a Super Bowl trophy. The year before, it was Don Beebe.

"And I was just hoping that one day I would get a chance to get back into the Super Bowl and the guys would be saying the same thing about me. `Man, Biscuit finally got a ring.'

In the meantime, Bennett is giving his teammates plenty of tips on how to avoid distractions.

Said running back Jamal Anderson, "He just talked about how not to lose a Super Bowl. He could write a book, unfortunately."