Brenda Warner questioned coach Mike Martz's honesty, on a radio call-in show last year. Thanks SI: The city of St. Louis had almost let Brendagate become a distant memory when your article on Kurt Warner (The Marked Man, Sept. 1) hit the newsstands! Seriously, though, the story was a fair and balanced look at Warner's situation. Regardless of the chatter at bars like J. Buck's, St. Louis still loves Kurt Warner!
Deborah Lettner, Sunset Hills, Mo.
The account of Marshall Faulk defending Kurt to a preppy in a bar was a great scene-setter. Your article gave great insight into the debacle that was last season, and without trying to once again stir up the pot.
Steve Midgley, Ellisville, Mo.
There is a huge mistake on the cover of your 2003 NFL Preview issue. The quarterback is wearing number 13, not 14, and a Rams' jersey instead of a Bucs'. Not only is Brad Johnson far more deserving of being on your cover than Warner, but also, as much as I hate to tell them this, the Bucs are again going to be seeing the 49ers in January, long after the Rams are done.
Tom Gagnier, Odessa, Fla.
Old School Ties
Imagine my surprise reading about the Houston Texans' Chester Pitts in SI's 2003 NFL Preview ( NFL SCOUTING REPORTS, Sept. 1). I had the pleasure of coaching Chester on his high school track team. At our league finals Chester won the shot put, the discus and the high jump, and was named league MVP. Coming from the academically oriented California Academy of Math and Science, Chester chased a distant dream of playing football—our school didn't have a team. His journey to the NFL proves that with talent and hard work you can overcome many obstacles—including starting your football career at the collegiate level.
Kevin Geddes, Lincoln, Neb.
How could your list of Who and Where for Maryland omit Mount Saint Mary's Jim Phelan (Sports in America, Sept. 1)? Bow-Tie Phelan coached the Mount for 49 years in an NCAA record 1,354 basketball games. His 830-524 career record makes him the third-winningest coach of all time, in all divisions. With never a scandal, recruiting violation or academic impropriety, Phelan is what college coaching should be about—integrity. On the day of his final game last season, then Kansas coach Roy Williams, Cincinnati's Bob Huggins, John Calipari of Memphis and Jay Wright of Villanova, to name a few, all paid their respects to Phelan by wearing bow ties while coaching.
Joe Gaba, Morristown, N.J.
I find it very hypocritical of Maryland sports fans to hold Bob Irsay as their No. 1 Enemy of the State because he took their beloved Colts from Baltimore—yet they welcome, with open arms, Art Modell, who took our beloved Browns from Cleveland. Before the NFL awarded us the new Browns, there was not a Cleveland fan that wanted a team from another city. We never wanted to cause the pain and sorrow we experienced. Obviously Baltimore is either heartless or short on memory.
G. Lincoln, Shaker Heights, Ohio
Peter the Great
Pete Sampras (SCORECARD, Sept. 1) provided my favorite sports moment. After beating Ivan Lendl in the quarterfinals of the 1990 U.S. Open, Pete closed his eyes as a smile crept across his face. He didn't beat his chest or urge the crowd to applaud him. He just quietly savored the moment. Pete knows he wasn't beloved by the masses, and that's probably O.K. with him. What he deserves to know is that his true greatness did not go unnoticed.
Paul Wenglewski, Ottawa, Ill.
Thanks to the courageous fight of Gunnar Esiason and the efforts of his dad, Boomer (CATCHING UP WITH..., Sept. 1), my one-year-old son, William, born with cystic fibrosis last year, has a great chance of leading a productive life. My family certainly appreciates all the Esiason family has done to raise awareness of this disease. William undoubtedly faces many struggles ahead, but he will join Gunnar in beating this thing.
Tom Adair, Richmond
Who says sports personalities don't make good role models? The Esiasons have shown how boundless love and determination can make all the difference in the world.
Dave Hutcheson, Stephenville, Texas
As Rick Reilly's story on Bill Romanowski went to press (THE LIFE OF REILLY, Sept. 1), Romotron took it upon himself, in a practice, to perhaps end the career of an unsuspecting teammate by pulling off his helmet, punching him in the left eye and fracturing his eye socket. This is the same guy who broke Kerry Collins's jaw, kicked Larry Centers in the head and ripped the helmet off Eddie George. Maybe Reilly should glorify someone worth a dime—and maybe Romo should spend more time controlling his anger than controlling his protein.
Matthew J. McGuire, Uniontown, Ohio