O'Donnell also took offense to Johnson's claim that he was afraid to throw downfield. And he rushed to the defense of receiver Wayne Chrebet, and Erhardt, whom Johnson wrote was an ``old fool.''
``It's too bad,'' O'Donnell said. ``We have a new coach [Bill Parcells], a new staff, a new beginning. It's too bad all the concentration is on a piece of literature instead of winning. That really bothers me a lot.
``A lot of people have asked if I'm going to try to get even with Keyshawn. I'm not going to try to get even. I'm above that. He's just one receiver on our team. That's all. He was just as responsible for our 1-15 record as I was.''
O'Donnell made it clear that he doesn't consider Johnson a team player. ``Everyone can be happy when everything is going well, but when it's tough times, that's when you see who the true people are.''
In other news:
REPORT: PAINKILLER PROBLEM The use of painkillers is so widespread in the NFL that a few players trade game tickets for black-market pills, the New York Times reported.
The newspaper reported that dozens of players, coaches and league executives surveyed for the story estimate that as many as 10 percent of the NFL's 1,500 players have ``serious addiction problems with painkillers.''
Many of those surveyed were quoted anonymously and noted that the addictions most often come from pills obtained from those outside the team and its medical staff. It noted that some players get them from representatives of pharmaceutical companies in exchange for game tickets, access to locker rooms or invitations to parties with players.
``The game is played with pain,'' said Jim Kelly, the former Buffalo quarterback who retired after last season. ``If you can't play in pain you should be playing golf, like I'm doing a lot of now.''
The use of unprescribed painkillers and anti-inflammatories is illegal and the NFL tests for those substances. But few players acknowledge publicly they have a problem.
The most notable is Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre, who underwent rehabilitation in the spring of 1996 after saying he had an addiction to Vicodin, one of the most common painkillers.