BY A NOSE by Fred & Vic Carucci Smerlas

BY A NOSE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Comic, slapdash, gossipy insider's account of NFL gridiron warfare by the veteran ex-Buffalo Bills' nose guard, here writing with Carucci, coauthor with Conrad Dobler of They Call Me Dirty, 1988. Five-time All-Pro Smerlas is as garrulous and rambunctious in print as he is on the field, where his reputation is for zany exploits and verbose braggadocio. Proudly ethnic (he calls himself ""Absorba the Greek"" for his ability to play while in pain) and self-deprecatingly funny--his body is described as a ""jukebox covered with hair""--Smerlas rattles through his 11 seasons with the Bills rating himself, opposing NFL linemen, quarterbacks, and running backs with wreckless, opinionated abandon. He has high praise for Joe Montana, Dan Marine, and the retired Dan Fours at QB; at running back he likes Eric Dickerson over Bo Jackson, Walter Payton over everybody. The Jets' Joe Klecko is the ""best defensive end ever,"" and former temperamental teammate Conrad Dobler gets high marks for his dirty, aggressive style. Others are objects of a candid wrath. Packers' bonus-baby Tony Mandarich is ""nothing more than a big goon."" Recently released Seahawks' lineback Brian Bosworth is a ""glorified safety with painted hair."" Smerlas also recounts the personal glories and frustrations of coming close but never winning a title in Buffalo. Jim Kelly's expected deliverance of the franchise never materialized, to Smerlas' dismay, and he wept the night earlier this year when he signed as a Plan B free agent with San Francisco. His career-long goal of bringing Buffalo a championship remains his greatest disappointment. Smerlas' lively persona, along with Carucci's clear transcription of his affable candor, makes this a better-than-average NFL book and a biting, peppy read.

Pub Date: Sept. 17th, 1990
Publisher: Simon & Schuster