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EGO BOOST

Dear Bruce Smith: You are great!

There. Now that I've stroked your ego, let me address a little less sensitive issue. Your latest beef regarding your salary was about as predictable as your perennial absence from training camp in Fredonia. Do you really expect us to believe you have been persecuted by the Bills? Realize this Bruce: When you were in your prime, you got those "Ted Washington-type dollars." The only thing you are victim of is bad timing. If the TV money came last year, you would have gotten yours. Maybe you should take a lesson from newly acquired free agent fullback Sam Gash who signed with the Bills for less money because he believes in what the Bills are trying to do . . . win a Super Bowl.

I find it hard to sympathize with a guy who makes more in six months than I will in a lifetime. What possible difference could a few more thousand make? So spare us your chronic plight for financial retribution. Ponder this while you convalesce in your Virginia Beach home (and as you turn 35): You are truly a great football player . . . and nothing more.
DENNIS TRASK
Blasdell