Glen Kozlowski is called "Speedy" by his Chicago Bears' coach Mike Ditka.
In a couple of ways, Kozlowski's following in the pretty-quick footsteps of his Bear teammate Neal Anderson, called by many the NFL's best running back.1. Anderson coerced five Bear teammates including Kozlowski to leave Soldier Field in Chicago after a recent game and head to a suburban bowling alley to participate in the Brunswick World Open pro-am. Anderson, a third-year bowler, rolled 213 and then departed because he's a guest commentator on a Chicago Sunday-night TV sports program.
Kozlowski, the former BYU wide receiver, bowled a couple of games, then rolled 220 after Anderson left. According to the Chicago Tribune's Mike Conklin, Koz had been so upset with his scores in the earlier games he quipped, "It's hard to believe I'm Polish and don't bowl well."
2. When Anderson was a rookie backing up Walter Payton, Anderson was one of the Bears' best defensive special-teams' players, using his speed to make crunching first-hit tackles on punt and kick returners. Now Kozlowski is the Bears' special-teams specialist.
Kozlowski received a game ball for his work at Denver two weeks ago, when he led Bears' special-teams tacklers. He had 15 special-teams tackles for the season then. Sunday against Detroit (a 23-17 Chicago win in overtime), Kozlowski made three more tackles.
"This is what feeds my family," Kozlowski told the Chicago Tribune.
Kozlowski led the Bears in special-teams play last year, too, with 22 tackles.
Koz's dream, of course, is to make the tackle, cause a fumble and return the ball for a touchdown. "It takes a little luck to get everything else going right, but you can control the hit," Kozlowski says.
Kozlowski's former BYU/Bear teammate Jim McMahon, now with Philadelphia, has been losing a lot of his NCAA records to current BYU QB Ty Detmer. He's also lost another Bear record. Current Bear QB Jim Harbaugh recently passed McMahon in lifetime record for lowest interception percentage. McMahon's team record was 3.70. Harbaugh was at 3.06 two weeks ago and has cut that to 2.70 after the Detroit game. Harbaugh has thrown 146 consecutive passes without an interception to achieve his percentage.
In that Detroit game Sunday, ex-Aggie Bob Gagliano wasn't as fortunate as Harbaugh. He did throw an interception, picked off by Chicago's Ron Rivera, and Ditka called that the key play of the game. Gagliano, 10-for-19 for 128 yards and a TD, had taken the Lions from their 10- to the Bear 22-yard line late in the game before giving the ball over to Rivera. The Bears used that possession for the game-tying field goal by Kevin Butler to put the game into OT.
"I played well, but one play, the interception, is really frustrating to me," said Gagliano. "They were in a blitz look and for some unknown reason, the outside linebacker (Rivera) dropped off and was in the throwing lane. He backed off."
"I was frozen by the action to the back," said Rivera. "I dropped off when (Jim) Morrissey put pressure on him. The ball was right there at my head. It was the biggest play of my career. Sometimes Christmas comes early."
Gagliano, the reliever who ends up playing nearly every week, runs the team's run-and-shoot offense of assistant coach Mouse Davis. That offense has Detroit sitting at 4-8 and in last place in the NFC Central.
The Detroit News recently polled readers asking for a better name for the sputtering run-and-shoot/Silver Stretch. Among the suggestions: The Run 'N' Hide, the Silver Zilch, the Silver Slugs, the Mouse That Snored, the Shoot 'N' Miss, the Third 'N' So Long, Honey I Shrunk the Receiver, the Catch 'N' Drop, the (Barry) Sanders Limited.
Houston middle linebacker Al Smith of Utah State tied for the best-tackling day in the NFL Sunday. He had 10 solo tackles, matching the 10 by Mike Johnson in the Browns/Rams game. Smith also had one assist, but the game was won 13-10 in overtime by the Seahawks.
The Seahawks finally activated second-year offensive guard Warren Wheat of BYU. Wheat injured his back in the preseason and had to sit out four games on injured reserve, then never could get back onto the active roster until Monday. They made room when they placed Thom Kaumeyer, safety, on injured reserve.
Other notable achievements from Sunday: Dallas cornerback Manny Hendrix (Utah) had five tackles and an assist in a 17-13 win over New Orleans; San Diego H-back Craig McEwen (Utah) had three receptions worth 50 yards in the 38-17 win over the Jets.