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Elway awaits football withdrawals

Retirement hasn’t sunk in yet for John Elway, who guided the Denver Broncos to the past two Super Bowl titles.

“I’m sure when training camps comes around that’s when it will really set in,” said Elway during a practice round for the American Century Celebrity Championship on Tuesday at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.

“I’m glad I’m not going to training camp. Camp wasn’t that bad, but it was just being away from the family that I didn’t like.”



Speaking of families, the Gretzkys, Wayne and Janet, are expecting their fourth child early next year.

Gretzky reportedly made the announcement at an annual fund raising dinner for a Los Angeles hospital Monday night, according to his agent.




”He’s very excited with the thought of another baby,” agent Michael Barnett said from California.

The newest Gretzky will be the fourth child for the famous couple. Paulina, 11, Ty, 8, and Trevor, 6, were all in the spotlight earlier this year when their dad announced his retirement from the NHL.

”With the age of the three present children,” Barnett said, ”it will be interesting to watch them welcome the new arrival.”

Gretzky will make his celebrity championship debut on Friday at Edgewood.

Gene Upshaw, the executive director of the National Football League Players Association for the past 16 years and a former all-pro guard for the Oakland Raiders, will probably boat to today’s practice round.

That’s right. Upshaw has a summer home on the North Shore and routinely boated to Edgewood during his five years in the event.

Upshaw, who finished 60th in last year’s tournament, uses the event to satisfy his competitive spirit.

“Of course I thought I’d still be competing. That’s all I did my whole professional career, and that’s what I do in the board room every day. This is no different. I enjoy competing. I enjoy being out here and seeing all of the guys. It becomes like a tradition every year. This is what you should be doing each year at this time,” Upshaw said.

The NFL players and owners are on better terms than most of professional sports, easing Upshaw’s job.

“We went through the bumpy years during the early 80s and middle 80s, and we finally got it turned around. We have an agreement that works for the players and it works for the owners. We all seem to be pretty happy, and we extended that agreement two times since we originally negotiated in 1993. We now have labor peace until 2003, so things are really good for the NFL,” he said.

And he hasn’t given up on the Raiders.

“They have all of those (Heisman) trophy winners, but you still have to go out on the field and win. Believe me, no one wants to win more than Al Davis. He doesn’t get enough credit for that. He gets a lot of criticism when they don’t win. All he’s trying to do is find the players and put them on the field so they can compete. They’re very close,” Upshaw said.

Quinn, who was so happy to see his friend and former Penguin teammate Mario Lemieux win the championship last year he cried, said his buddy is again playing sound golf. “He’s playing really well today. He’s had a lot of things to do the last six, eight months (with the purchase of the team). But now that’s behind him and he’s in a great frame of mind.”

Mark Rypien, the winner of the first CGA event in 1990, says the competition has dramatically improved.

“And now that a lot of guys are retired, guys like Elway, Lemieux, Jordan and Mike Schmidt are playing all the time, they’re going to have a chance,” he said.

Rypien was playing well early in his practice round, hitting birdies on No.s 6 and 7.

“I’ve been playing a lot, so I’ll have no excuses,” the former Super Bowl MVP said.

Tim Parsons and Associated Press contributed to this story.


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