GOOD CATCH Keyshawn Johnson already carries himself like a TV
star: He's brash and egocentric, and the camera loves him almost
as much as he loves himself. So less than 72 hours after the Bucs
deactivated the mercurial receiver, Fox hired him to serve as an
in-studio guest analyst on its Sunday NFL pregame show. Fox plans
to use Johnson just two or three more times this year, but based
on his Nov. 23 debut, our advice to the network is simple: Just
give him the damn mike. Johnson needs to lose some of his
smugness, but his candor and willingness to mix it up with his
colleagues, as well as his solid football insights, make him
compelling. Asked about the Cowboys-Panthers game, Johnson was
prescient: "The secondary of the Carolina Panthers, let's face
it, is not that good. [The Cowboys] just got to throw the ball
down the field." Dallas quarterback Quincy Carter ended up with
the most attempts (44) and completions (29) of his career in a
24-20 win. When Jimmy Johnson grilled him about his employment
status, saying, "They're paying you $170,000 a week not to play
football. How does that make you feel?" a smiling Keyshawn calmly
responded, "I didn't ask out of 2003. I was talking about 2004.
You're right, I shouldn't be sitting here with you guys today."
We're glad he was.
PUNCHER'S CHANCE Can Vitali Klitschko attract viewers if Lennox
Lewis isn't in the ring with him? HBO will find out on Saturday
when Klitschko (32-2, 31 KOs)--who was leading Lewis when their
June 21 fight was stopped after six wild rounds because of cuts
over Klitschko's left eye--takes on Kirk Johnson (34-1-1, 25
KOs). The Lewis-Klitschko fight was watched in 4.6 million homes,
the highest rating for an HBO fight in four years. --R.D.