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Early Sunday morning, the parents of Gary, Brian and Rich Baldinger will arrive at the Stardust Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

The Baldingers won't be there to gamble. They will be there to watch their sons play football in the NFL. Each Sunday, in an auditorium-like room at the Stardust, each NFL game is shown on the large television screens in the sports book room.

"You have to get there early by 8 a.m. (10 a.m. Buffalo time) to get a good seat," says Jim Baldinger. "That's why we go to Mass on Saturday so we can get an early start.

"Sometimes all three are playing at the same time," says Jim. "It can get confusing."

Sunday, it won't be nearly as confusing. Gary, who is a reserve defensive lineman with the Buffalo Bills, will be playing against his brother, Brian, who will be the Colts' starting right tackle.

Ironically, when the Bills and Colts met opening day, Gary was still a member of the Indianapolis team.

Later Sunday, Rich Baldinger will start at right tackle on offense for the Kansas City Chiefs in a key game against the Denver Broncos.

So it will be another full day of football for the Baldingers, who are the NFL's first family.

There is a strong possibility that Gary and Brian will be lined up against each other at some time during Sunday's game. They butted heads during blocking drills at the Colts training camp last summer.

"This will be the first time in a game," Gary said. "We're both going to treat it as business as usual. I'm sure after the game it will be fun to talk to him and stuff, but during the game it will be business as usual."

Gary is also trying not to get too psyched because he is going against the team that released him in September.

"I've just got a job to do," he said. "There might be a little added motivation. I don't want it to be a distraction. I've got to treat it like any other week."

Gary knows from first-hand experience that the Colts feel they have a score to settle with the Bills, who defeated them, 26-10, in the opener.

"I tell you the whole team really felt like maybe if things had gone our way in the third quarter when it was 16-10, we had a real shot to beat the Bills," Gary said. "I'm sure they feel the same way now."

Who will Jim Baldinger be rooting for?

"It would be kind of nice, in a way, if Indianapolis would win because the Bills are in and the Colts have a slight chance of making the playoffs," he said. "I really believe they (the Bills) have got a chance to win the Super Bowl.

"It was really a good break for Gary to end up with Buffalo. I think he's got a good chance for a Super Bowl ring and the money that goes with it. I like Buffalo. We used to visit when our oldest daughter was at Buffalo State."

Jim Baldinger was an end on the 1950-51 Navy football teams, spent 12 years in the Marine Reserves and has retired from the Federal Aviation Administration. He and his wife recently moved to Las Vegas to start a business, manufacturing and marketing a non-slip bathtub coating.

At 27, Gary is the youngest of the three Baldingers. Brian, 31, and Rich, 30, were born in the same year. All three played at Massapequa Park High on Long Island, even though Brian was born in Pittsburgh, Rich at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and Gary in Philadelphia.

Brian (6-foot-4, 272 pounds) played at Duke, while Gary (6-3, 265) and Rich (6-4, 292) played at Wake Forest.

Rich was the Giants' 10th-round pick in 1982, Gary was Kansas City's ninth-round selection in 1986 and Brian made Dallas as a free agent in 1982 and signed with the Colts as a free agent in 1988.

Jim Baldinger is already plotting the next time two of his sons will oppose each other.

"I'm looking forward to Kansas City playing Buffalo in the playoffs," he said. "Now wouldn't that be something?"
Bills coach Marv Levy said Thursday that a report in USA TODAY saying he lodged a complaint with the NFL about dirty play by the Eagles is erroneous.

"I never said it," Levy said. "I didn't call the league office. I feel it's unfair to the Eagles and Buddy Ryan." Levy reportedly called Ryan, the Philadelphia coach, to tell him the report was erroneous.

"I wanted to clear it up. I didn't want that kind of thought unfairly hanging over our heads. I didn't think there were dirty tactics."
Smith (knee), starting cornerback Nate Odomes (groin) and center Kent Hull (groin) were held out of Thursday's practice, which was held inside the bubble.

"We held Nate Odomes with the idea he will be able to go out tomorrow," Levy said.

Smith developed some swelling in his knee after the Philadelphia game. Hull was injured slightly in practice Wednesday.

The Bills expect to have starting cornerback Kirby Jackson (hamstring, knee) back for full-time duty at Indianapolis Sunday. He played in only some "dime" situations against Philadelphia.

Another cornerback, David Pool, is doubtful for Sunday's game with a knee injury.

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