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Original Issue

The Beat

You'd think the guy who played the title role in The Passion of the Christ would have a little pull at Notre Dame. Actor Jim Caviezel was so moved after he heard that Irish football coach Charlie Weis had let a dying boy call the first play in Notre Dame's win over Washington last month that he made a pilgrimage to South Bend for the USC game. But when Caviezel (below) volunteered to speak at the Friday-night pep rally at Notre Dame Stadium, he was turned down by school officials. Former walk-on Rudy Ruettiger, as well as former Irish standouts Joe Montana, Tim Brown and Chris Zorich, had been booked, and with all due respect, Jim Caviezel is not the one J.C. who could invite himself into that crowd. Says school spokesman John Heisler, "We didn't want to shortchange their time."

■ Jerry Rice, who retired recently, hasn't taken up shuffleboard--yet--but he is learning some new games. Rice will team with jocks including Karl Malone and Bo Jackson to compete against a team of amateurs in a variety of sports on Spike TV's new reality show Pros vs. Joes. The 13-time Pro Bowler doesn't think his football prowess is necessarily going to help him. Says Rice, "I'm a Joe in stuff like tennis, basketball. I even tried squash, and it's a whole other world."

■ Rice isn't the only ex-jock to hit the reality circuit. Former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes has been booked by VH1 for a celebrity American Idol knockoff that premieres on Oct. 30. On But Can They Sing?, Holmes--who has opened for Kool & the Gang with his soul band, Marmalade--will put up his pipes against a field that includes actors Joe Pantoliano and Morgan Fairchild. The boxer turned businessman, 55, says he's getting his vocal cords in shape by singing in his car and at the gym. "I always try to sing in the shower, too," says Holmes, "but I find I'm too busy trying to get my shower over with."

■ How does Sixers guard Allen Iverson feel about David Stern's new dress policy, which makes sneakers, hats and thick chains taboo at league events? At a party in New York City celebrating the release of Reebok's Answer IX sneaker, Iverson was asked if he'd approach Reebok about designing some conservative threads. "That would be great," Iverson told SI, "but when you do something to appease someone, you get a bad feeling. Dressing up is not always my style. And you don't judge a person for what they have on. You find out what they're about as a person."... To mark the 50th anniversary of the Bums' 1955 World Series win, ESPN will air a five-part miniseries, Brooklyn Dodgers: The Original America's Team, starting on Nov. 8. It was directed by Mark Reese, whose late father, Pee Wee, starred at shortstop for Brooklyn. Reese recently optioned a screenplay, People's Choice, about the race relations on the team, and he has a candidate in mind to play his dad: "We saw Matt Damon play once, and my dad said, 'He's pretty good.'"


Meet the Eatles, whose album, Flabby Road, features the hits Why Don't We Chew It in the Road?, Here' Comes the Ton and, of course, Carry That Weight. Before the World S.U.M.O. Challenge at Madison Square Garden last Saturday, a group of wrestlers waddled, nearly garmentless, through Manhattan's Garment District. Maybe next time they'll be able to afford a cab: A crowd of 8,000 came out to see them compete.


A man who pleaded guilty to charges of attempt to kill and robbery asked to have three years added to his 30-year sentence so his prison term would match Larry Bird's jersey number.

They Said It


Texans QB, explaining why he fumbled a snap after switching centers:

"Some guys' butts are bigger, and some are smaller. I'd go into more detail, but we'd have to turn the cameras off."