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The Super Scene: Celebrity-packed events from the Tampa Bay area

Franco Harris Golf, Innisbrook

Celebrities: Football players Harris, Hank Bauer, Mel Blount, Willie Buchanon, Parnell Dickinson, Dave Duerson, Jimmie Giles, Brian Kelly, Eddie Payton, John Stallworth and Charlie Taylor. Golfers Lee Elder and Renee Powell.

Highlights: Harris laughed when asked to make a prediction for Sunday's game but did add, "I guess everyone knows who I'm rooting for. No surprise there, but it does make this that much more exciting that (the Steelers) are in town playing (in the Super Bowl)." … Lydell Mitchell, who played six seasons with the Baltimore Colts as a running back, says he's pulling for the Steelers because they have the better defense. "Though, just like the Colts two years ago, Arizona's got an offense that can do some damage."

Mike Camunas, Times staff writer

Doug Williams Celebrity Golf, Bayou Club

Celebrities: Williams, Jeff Black, Earl Carr, Johnny Davis, Parnell Dickinson, Jimmie Giles, Toby Hall, Kevin House, J.R. Reed, Mark Royals, Donald Smith, Micheal Spurlock, Maurice Stovall, Everson Walls, Dan Wheeler and Otis Wilson.

Highlights: Wind and rain delayed the start but did not dampen the spirits of the 20 or so former NFL players and others who helped Williams raise money for All Children's Hospital and other charities. The gang of WingHouse girls handing out beer and hot wings between the ninth and 18th greens might have helped. "I can play in anything," former Buc Jimmie Giles said. "When it is wet like this, the offense always has the advantage. It doesn't matter if you are playing football or golf."

Terry Tomalin, Times staff writer

NFL Alumni Golf, Hunter's Green

Celebrities: Football players Earl Morrall, Chuck Foreman, Karl Mecklenburg, Stu Voigt, Donny Anderson and Larry Ball.

Highlights: The event was hit hard by the economy, filling fewer than half its normal field. "We typically have 32 fivesomes, and corporate America did not really respond all that much this year, with so many things going on," said Marty Lerch, executive vice president for NFL Alumni, who had 14 groups for the morning event. Participating in the golf tournament cost $5,000 for a foursome, grouped with a former NFL player, with proceeds benefiting Shriners Hospitals for Children. The rain and even a flat tire on the drive in couldn't stop former Dolphins quarterback Earl Morrall, 74, from playing. The 1968 NFL MVP, who lives in Naples, said he likes golfing for the company, "Now that they're not trying to knock me over anymore."

Greg Auman, Times staff writer

Hall of Fame Luncheon, Ybor City

Celebrities: Roger Staubach, Bob Griese, Merlin Olsen, Steve Largent, Thurman Thomas, Bob Lanier and Anthony Munoz.

Highlights: Thomas, inducted just two years ago, is still starstruck by the company he now keeps. "Are you kidding me? I have to be," Thomas said. "It's unbelievable. I never thought growing up as a kid that this would happen, so when it does, every time I see these guys, I'm in awe of some of the people I'm now associated with." … Staubach is busy this week as head of the host committee for Super Bowl XLV, which will be in the Cowboys' new stadium in two years. He says Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner deserves a place in the Hall of Fame. "You look at all the things he's done — I played 11 years (like Warner), and this is his third Super Bowl," Staubach said. "His stats are awfully good, and he fell off for a while, but he's now back up. I think he's a Hall of Fame quarterback." … The Columbia went to great lengths for Friday's guests — literally, renting some larger tables to help accommodate a few of the linemen in attendance.

Greg Auman, Times staff writer

Inside the Huddle Dinner, Tampa

Celebrities: Host Don Shula. Football players Bob Griese, Brian Griese, Kevin Carter, Ronde Barber, Chris Hovan, Warrick Dunn, Tony Richardson, Luke McCown, John Gilmore, Anthony Becht, Rosevelt Colvin, Vinny Testaverde, Earl Morrall, Garo Yepremian and Dick Anderson. TV announcer Al Michaels.

Highlights: The event benefited Judi's House, a charity for grieving children created by Bucs quarterback Brian Griese in 2001 in honor of his mother, who died of breast cancer when Griese was 12. … It also benefited the Kevin Carter Foundation, which Carter founded in 2002 to assist those in need. … The event boasts being one of the more intimate gatherings of Super Bowl week. The event is capped at 150 guests and the athlete guest list is about 30. "It's not a party where there are 1,000 people," Griese said. "We've got a lot of athletes and not a lot of people." … The event, which is in its third year, raised $150,000 last year.

Eduardo A. Encina, Times staff writer

NFL Alumni Player of the Year Dinner, Tampa

Celebrities: NFL legends Don Shula, Franco Harris, Deacon Jones, Carl Eller, Dave Wilcox and Joe DeLamielleure. Current NFL players DeMarcus Ware, Jason Witten, Albert Haynesworth and James Harrison.

Highlights: Ten current players were selected by NFL retirees as players of the year at their various positions, including Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and Steelers linebacker James Harrison (who showed up despite another pressing commitment this weekend). … Dolphins coach Tony Sparano was awarded the Don Shula coach of the year award by Shula himself. … Sotheby's would have a hard time matching the items up for auction at this event, held at the Hyatt Regency. The inventory included electric guitars autographed by the Rolling Stones ($2,400 opening bid), Paul McCartney ($1,200) and B.B. King ($1,200), and Joe Montana's autographed, Irish-green Notre Dame jersey ($795). Proceeds benefit the youth-oriented programs of the NFL Alumni.

Joey Knight, Times staff writer

Gridiron Greats Autograph Extravaganza, Hard Rock

Celebrities: A smorgasbord of prominent NFL alumni, ranging from iconic to I-remember-you status. Among the signers — Don Shula, Billy Kilmer, Rocky Bleier, Dave Casper, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Steve Largent, Mercury Morris, Jim Kiick, Dwight Clark and Vinny Testaverde. Mike Ditka hadn't arrived when we were there but was set to show up later.

Highlights: When the event began at 2 p.m., a line of roughly 50 yards had formed inside the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. … A bulk of the proceeds, including the $20 admission and sale of all merchandise, went to the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund, a Ditka-led group trying to raise money for disabled and financially needy NFL players. … In addition to the admission fee, players charged a "donation" (ranging from $20 to $50) for each autograph, though most gave some or all of it right back to the GGAF.

Joey Knight, Times staff writer

Cato June Celebrity Basketball, University of Tampa

Celebrities: June, Bucs coach Raheem Morris and players Ike Hilliard and Aqib Talib, ex-Buc Simeon Rice, boxer Floyd Mayweather, Steeler LaMarr Woodley, Cardinal Edgerrin James and Raider Darren McFadden.

Highlights: "Every football player swears they can play basketball, so we'll have to see," said June, who coached a team of Bucs players against other NFL stars coached by McFadden, with proceeds benefiting June's foundation. The crowd of about 800 cheered loudest for the 5-foot-8 Mayweather, who showed slick moves and quickness all over the court. Woodley officiated as a guest ref, while James watched from courtside. … Morris stopped by in a suit: "I've got to support my guys," the rookie coach said. "I told him I'd pop my face in, and you're lucky I won't take my suit off and get to business." Mayweather, who had 15 points in the first half playing for June's team, said he's pulling for Arizona on Sunday: "Kurt Warner. The guy went from stocking shelves and bagging groceries to winning the Super Bowl with the Rams, now taking another team to the Super Bowl. It's truly an amazing story."

Greg Auman, Times staff writer

Off the Field Players' Wives Fashion Show, Tampa

Celebrities: NFL current and retired players Tim Brown, Ike Hilliard, John St. Clair, Stockar McDougle, Chris Hovan, John Gilmore and Ray Brown. Christian music star Kirk Franklin.

Highlights: Bucs wide receiver Hilliard working the catwalk, showing off a white Dior clutch during a live auction. (The clutch fetched $400). … Buccaneer wives Lourdes Hilliard and Melissa Bryant shivering backstage, shedding their heels for comfy Uggs and white socks before they modeled in the fashion show. … Live music performance by Georgetown student "Qui," a.k.a. Jaqui Rice, the daughter of Jerry Rice, retired 49ers wide receiver.

Letitia Stein, Times staff writer

The Super Scene: Celebrity-packed events from the Tampa Bay area 01/30/09 [Last modified: Friday, January 30, 2009 11:23pm]
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