Broncos' Sharpe Out With Hurt Knee
Monday, February 1, 1999; 2:44 a.m. EST
MIAMI The Atlanta Falcons shut Shannon Sharpe down. They could not, of course, shut him up.
Sharpe, usually a key element in the Denver Broncos offense and the player who has caught more touchdown passes from John Elway than anyone else, twisted his left knee in the first quarter of the Super Bowl on Sunday.
After returning briefly later in the quarter, he was out for the rest of the game.
Sharpe was hurt when he was hit on his knee and flipped over by cornerback Ray Buchanan's tackle on a 14-yard reception to the Atlanta 1. Howard Griffith scored on the next play, giving the Broncos a 7-3 lead.
Sharpe, who caught 64 passes for 768 yards and 10 touchdowns this season and was voted to his seventh straight Pro Bowl, limped off the field after his catch. He returned later in the quarter but had a pass bounce off his shoulder pads, and cornerback Ronnie Bradford intercepted.
Sharpe, whose outspoken commentary was a highlight of pre-Super Bowl media interviews, went to the locker room at the end of the quarter to have his knee retaped but was ruled out of any more action.
"It's sore,'' said Sharpe, who nonetheless was able to limp into the interview area without assistance while wearing a styrofoam horse's head with Broncos insignia.
"On that play, I bounced off Eugene [Robinson] and then I dipped around [Jessie] Tuggle and I saw the end zone. I was trying to go upfield and I saw Ray Buchanan coming in, and I thought I would try to go over the top. I think he knew that and his helmet caught me right in my knee. I wasn't able to get my knee of the ground. He got my knee pretty good.''
It was somewhat ironic that it was Buchanan who injured Sharpe, since the duo exchanged the most outrageous quotes during the week, trading insults and impugning each other's character.
"There were never any hard feelings,'' Sharpe insisted. "I didn't take it personally because I know he was just getting his team ready to play and I was getting my team ready to play. It's like a heavyweight fight.''
Sharpe said he "tried to come back but my knee just wasn't stable enough. I knew it would do more harm than good to try to play on it.''
It was undetermined whether Sharpe might require surgery.
Sharpe said Elway, the Super Bowl MVP, "played flawless today. They say that when you stop Terrell [Davis], you have a chance to beat the Broncos. But as I said earlier in the week, if you want to stop Terrell, we don't have a problem asking No. 7 [Elway] to throw the ball.''
Weighing in on whether Elway will retire or elect to play another season, Sharpe said, "I think he wants to know that he left on top of his game. So many times you see guys hang around just trying to squeeze one more year. But I don't really think that if he played next year that he would drop off any.
"I think he has made up his mind, one way or the other. But he's earned the right to take as much time as he needs to be sure of his decision.''
© Copyright 1999 The Associated Press