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What is one small thing to give thanks for in sports this week? // APPRECIATE ALSTOTT, AN ATHLETE WHO IS ONE OF US

Published Nov. 27, 2005

Art Donovan and the Colts drank beers with fans in Baltimore. Neighborhood kids knocked on Bill Bradley's door and got the Knicks star out to the nearby court to shoot hoops. Larry Csonka and Jim Kiick did their jogging on Miami streets, smiling at good-natured taunts from boys who waited each day to show they could run faster than them.

The days of the Athlete Who Is One of Us are fading fast. That's why we should be thankful for Mike Alstott and his resurgence.

Knowing the fullback stays at the stadium for hours after every Bucs home game to take pictures with friends as his kids run around, hearing him talk about what a pleasure it is to block, seeing him make a big run and hand the ball to the referee without an obnoxious choreographed celebration - Alstott is the rare pro who deserves our admiration.

He has stayed with the same team his entire career. He overcame neck surgery. Callers to his radio show fall over themselves to tell him what a class act he is.

Seeing Mike Alstott playing a significant role when his career could very well already be over? Give thanks for that. You won't see many more like him.