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NFL not reserved only for big shots

Q: Can you name some NFL players who took the "back door" to stardom, meaning they either came from obscure colleges or were passed on by most teams or cut in training camp but still made it big?

Ron Croft, St. Pete Beach

A: Start with the greatest runner and greatest receiver _ Walter Payton (Jackson State) and Jerry Rice (Mississippi Valley State). And one of the greatest quarterbacks, Johnny Unitas, drafted ninth in 1955 and released that summer by the Steelers and, after a year of $6-a-game semipro ball, signed by the Colts. You might include Phil Simms, drafted by the Giants out of Morehead State in 1979. And Joe Montana was the 49ers' third-round draft choice that year, which means virtually every team _ including San Francisco _ passed on him at least twice (virtually, because the Redskins had traded away their picks in the first three rounds).

Q: When and where is the next Super Bowl?

Many readers

A: Jan. 28 in Phoenix, 6:18 p.m. kickoff.

Q: How many stitches on a major-league baseball?

Patti Montefusco, Carrollwood

A: According to the Rawlings Sporting Goods Co., which makes them, there are 108 stitches.

Q: Who were the 1993 and 1994 Associated Press and Sports Illustrated male athletes of the year?

Rodney Brown, Tampa

A: In 1993 the AP picked Bulls star Michael Jordan and SI (which selects Sportsman of the Year) picked Dolphins coach Don Shula. In 1994 the AP named boxer George Foreman and SI selected speed skater Johann Olav Koss.