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Names In The Game

June 5, 1997

DESTREHAN, La. (AP) _ The ring’s the thing, so former NFL linebacker Rickey Jackson was understandably upset when he found his 1995 Super Bowl ring missing when he returned home last week after visiting his mother.

Jackson, 39, who spent most of his professional football career with the New Orleans Saints, won the 4.25 carat diamond ring in the twilight of his NFL career as a member of the San Francisco 49ers.

He is now a member of the Saints’ front-office staff.

``It left a hole in my heart,″ Jackson said. ``It’s the first thing I look for. It’s something I’ve worked for my whole life and my whole career has been geared toward trying to get the Super Bowl ring. It was like taking a hole out of my heart.″

But much of the pain was short-lived.

Sheriff Greg Champagne returned it to Jackson in a news conference Wednesday at the St. Charles Parish courthouse.

The ring was recovered Monday after deputies searched an apartment, where they recovered Jackson’s ring and two gold chains, worth $2,000 apiece. But Jackson’s $8,000 Rolex watch and $4,700 Super Bowl diamond pendant weren’t recovered.

Authorities also found $10,000 worth of cocaine and $1,200 worth of marijuana, sheriff’s detective Rodney Madere said.

Authorities booked Monique Rouge, 26, on charges of possession of stolen property, possession with intent to distribute cocaine and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

They also issued an arrest warrant for Ms. Rouge’s boyfriend, Darryl Suarez, 33.

Suarez apparently was flaunting the ring, which officials said he bought for $2,000 from the people who stole it from Jackson’s home.

``That really hurt,″ Jackson said. ``I would have given the guy who took it $2,000. I would have given him $32,000. I’m glad somebody who saw him with the ring knew he didn’t earn it, but I did.″

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PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) _ The Al Dittrich recreational hockey team usually skates on a rink in suburban Detroit around midnight, after all the kids have played their games.

The players are over 30. Many condition themselves by repeatedly lifting 12-ounce aluminum cans and draining the beverage inside.

But it’s one of the few teams in a no-checking league to enjoy a drink from Lord Stanley’s Cup, thanks to a former member now playing for the Detroit Red Wings.

Joe Kocur joined the team in 1992 to keep in shape during the NHL players’ strike. He kept in touch with the team after going to the New York Rangers in 1992. Two years later, the Rangers won their first Cup since 1940 and Kocur’s name went on it.

When released by the Vancouver Canucks earlier this season, Kocur went back to nights at Lakeland Arena in Waterford Township.

``He was a real gentleman,″ said Murray Percival, 42, a manufacturer’s representative who plays center on the team. ``He never overstepped his boundaries. He always played as if he was one of us.″

Kocur played about 15 games with the Dittrich team this year, all of which they won. Ducharme noted that Kocur’s 400-pound bench press was a bit higher than the rest of the team.

``Joe was in unbelievable shape,″ Ducharme said. ``I knew if one of the (NHL) teams picked him up, they were going to get a prize this year. He had put on 25 pounds and it was all muscle.″

``I think he only had two goals,″ Percival said. ``He mainly had assists. He would pass the puck so hard it would knock the stick out of your hand.″

Kocur had a brief stint in the International Hockey League and joined the Red Wings after Christmas. But he stopped after a road trip to coach Dittrich’s team in the playoffs. They lost on a last-minute goal.

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MOBILE, Ala. (AP) _ The pressure of trying to win a fifth state amateur championship will be nothing compared to what Sam Farlow will face when the tournament is over.

That’s when the 49-year-old golfer will have to decide whether to give up the amateur status he cherishes for a shot at the Senior PGA Tour.

``I probably would turn pro if I won,″ said Farlow, who began the annual four-day tournament at Mobile Country Club. ``It would be completing something I’ve really wanted to do, winning it five times. That would make it easier to move on and try something else.″

But Farlow, who last won the amateur tournament in 1988, remembers the last time he tried going pro. His short bid at the PGA Tour came in the 1970s. It was unsuccessful and when it was over, it took years for him to regain his amateur status.

``I enjoy the amateur life,″ Farlow said. ``I can play in 10 or 12 amateur tournaments a year and be competitive. I’m not sure you can do that as a pro. You almost have to convert full time to it. And I’m not willing to do that.″

Farlow would get an exemption to play at the Bruno’s Memorial Classic next year. He might be able to take the same route into this fall’s Emerald Coast Classic.

But other than that, Farlow probably would have to make tournament fields through Monday qualifying rounds, a difficult process that seldom results in long-term success on the Senior Tour.

Still, Farlow said the prospect of competing against Hale Irwin and Jack Nicklaus is enticing, as is the prize money.

``It is tempting to play in about 10 or 12 tournaments a year, the ones throughout the South,″ he said. ``It’s something I’ve thought about. But I have not made a decision yet.″

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