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Original Issue

The Beat

In the film TheGame Plan, scheduled for release next year, former WWE star Dwayne (The Rock)Johnson plays a pro quarterback who can't give up bachelorhood. The story mightsound familiar to Tom Brady, whom Johnson met last week while in Boston to workon the movie. Johnson and Brady (below) ran into each other at Sports Club/LAand made plans to have dinner and to work out at Gillette Stadium. Maybe Brady,who has missed just one start in five years, can offer advice about stayinghealthy. On June 20, Johnson, who played defensive end at Miami, was working onhis pocket rollout with Arena league quarterback Pat O'Hara when he tore hisAchilles tendon. He had surgery, and work on the movie will be delayed for atleast four months. Said Johnson, "I anticipate that with some TLC, pizzaand a lot of doughnuts, I will be making a speedy recovery."

• ESPN assembleda musical supergroup to help Hank Williams Jr. record this year's version ofhis Monday Night Football theme song, All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on MondayNight. Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen, Aerosmith's Joe Perry,ex--Parliament bassist Bootsy Collins, the E Street Band's Steven Van Zandt andClarence Clemons, Little Richard, Roots drummer ?uestlove and fiddler CharlieDaniels met at the House of Blues in Orlando last week and laid down multipleMonday Night versions that will open the show and include lyrics tailored toeach game's participants.

• It was only amatter of time: Anna Benson, the, um, outgoing wife of Orioles pitcher KrisBenson, is writing a novel. The behind-the-scenes baseball book will befiction, but her agent, Lori Perkins, promises the tome will draw heavily fromreal-life experiences. "Readers will definitely recognize some of thesecharacters," Perkins tells SI. Baseball Wives, which Benson is cowritingwith erotic fiction author Cecilia Tan, will be shopped to publishers thisweek; Perkins hopes for a release on Opening Day of the 2007 season.

• ShaquilleO'Neal egged him on, but the Big Diesel can't be blamed for Pat Riley's movesat the Heat's celebration last Friday. The coach was inspired by BruceSpringsteen--he had seen the Boss play in New York City the night before. Rileymade sure Springsteen's The Rising, a Heat anthem this season, was played atthe parade, and he and his wife, Chris, will spend part of the off-seasonfollowing Springsteen's tour around the country. "We'll be doing a lot ofthat over the next month or two," Riley said.

• The future onceseemed so bright for Matt Leinart and Paris Hilton. In the days after the NFLdraft in April, the Cardinals quarterback and the hotel heiress appeared to bean item, but on June 18 Hilton escorted Avalanche goalie Jose Theodore to theMuchMusic Video Awards in Toronto, where she told a Canadian website, "I'msingle, and I love it." Meanwhile, Leinart is getting settled in his newtown. While he works out with the Cardinals this summer, his friend and Coyotescoach Wayne Gretzky has offered him the use of the pool house at the GreatOne's Phoenix home.


Iran's national soccer team didn't make it out ofWorld Cup pool play, but with a little practice perhaps this club can qualifyfor the women's rugby World Cup, which begins on Aug. 31 in Edmonton. Women arefree to play sports in the Muslim country--these ruggers met at Tehran's Azadisports complex last week--but being a fan is still frowned upon. Last month theIranian government renewed a ban on women in the stands at soccer stadiums.


Major League Baseball has licensed a funeral productscompany to produce a line of caskets and urns with the logos of all 30 bigleague teams.

They Said It

TORII HUNTER, Twins outfielder, on his current battingslump:

"In batting practice, I've been like ReggieJackson. In the game, I've been like Michael Jackson."