Veteran's day

Hawks follow Sonic experience strategy.

IN A MOVE taken straight out of Wally Walker's playbook, the Seattle Seahawks have signed their own Big Apple marquee player to lend much-needed leadership and maturity to their ailing franchise. At a press conference held yesterday, Seahawk Coach/GM/VP/Hot-Dog-Eating-Contest Winner Mike Holmgren made the surprise announcement with a very pleased Joe Namath at his side.

"Last month's Patrick Ewing trade gave me the idea," Holmgren explained. "I realized that more than one team in town could use a legendary New York all-star. Our new starting quarterback will give our offense tremendous experience and confidence."

The deal came at a price. The 57-year-old Hall-of-Famer will receive $50 million over his 10-year, no-cut guaranteed contract. For the trade, the Hawks also exchanged their first, second, third, and fourth round draft selections through 2010.

"He's worth every penny," Holmgren exulted. "We're thinking long-term." Namath himself seemed thrilled about the opportunity: "It's better than putting on panty hose for a living, and the people from Viagra weren't calling. And, frankly, the film work has kind of dried up since C.C. and Company."

Asked whether his new QB's age was a concern, Holmgren scoffed. "Are you kidding? He's in much better shape than Franco Harris was back in '84. Look at Joe's lifetime yardage and completion average. Check out the films of him scrambling from the pocket. Why he even outran Kitna in the forty this morning!"

The injury parallels with former Knick Patrick Ewing are unfounded, the coach added. After Namath's seven knee operations, 16 concussions, and double hip-replacement surgery, said Holmgren, "He's completely recovered and fitter than ever!"

As part of a generous compensation package, Seahawks owner Paul Allen threw in a swank Capitol Hill bachelor pad. "This way we'll still be able to call him Broadway Joe," said the multibillionaire, "and I'm hoping he'll be able to introduce me to some groupies."

Though the AFL's 1965 Rookie of the Year hasn't picked up a football in three decades, he's still the brazen gunslinger of old. "When I said before Super Bowl III that we'd beat the Colts, my knees were shot, we were three touchdown underdogs against the champs, and nobody gave us a chance. Now I'll say it again: I guarantee we'll beat the Baltimore Colts, anywhere, any time. Bring 'em on."

Informed that the Colts had moved to Indianapolis during his long hiatus from the league, Namath simply flashed his cocksure smile and asked for a latte, a blonde, and some Tylenol.

 
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