Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

George Is Ready for the Boo-Birds Raiders QB Prepared for Hostile Crowd

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

George Is Ready for the Boo-Birds Raiders QB Prepared for Hostile Crowd

Article excerpt

SUWANEE, Ga. -- Boos, catcalls and posters challenging his

manhood will greet Jeff George tomorrow when he takes the

Georgia Dome field as an Oakland Raider.

In other words, things won't be much different than when George

played for the Atlanta Falcons.

"I didn't really receive a nice reception when I played there,"

George said. "So I don't expect it to be any different."

Perhaps the most unpopular 4,000-yard passer in NFL history,

George returns to a city in which he never won the admiration of

the fans or the respect of his teammates, despite record-setting

statistics.

George wears No. 3 now, and he's throwing to Tim Brown instead

of Terance Mathis. But he's the same quarterback he was as the

Falcons' starter from 1994 through the third game of last year,

when a sideline outburst at then-coach June Jones effectively

ended his tenure with the team.

He's as gifted as they come, a rifle-armed passer with a

hairtrigger release. But George still has that penchant for

undoing his good work, mistakes that defy explanation.

His latest came in Oakland's 28-27 loss to Kansas City Monday

night. With his team ahead by 11 point, George improvised under

pressure and tossed an underhand pass in the direction of Rickey

Dudley. Darren Anderson intercepted and ran 55 yards for a

touchdown.

Such plays drew the ire of Atlanta's fans, who came to dislike

almost every thing about George -- from the way he wore his cap

(backward) to his choice of airline when visiting family in

Indiana (ValueJet).

"I used to go to dinner, and people would be mad at what I

ordered," George said. "At Halloween, they'd be mad at what I

gave out. I had to make sure I gave out big candy bars."

George's dispassionate temperament on the field contrasted

sharply with his occasional outbursts off it. He never inspired

much emotion from his Atlanta teammates, so it isn't surprising

that the Falcons are almost ambivalent about facing him.

But they know how to beat him.

"If we can get to Jeff and knock him around a little bit, he's

not as good a quarterback," said defensive end Lester

Archambeau, who leads the NFL in sacks with four. …

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