NFL Notes: Pass the Ben-Gay

New York Giants' Chris Canty tackles St. Louis Rams Cadillac Williams during the second quarter of...

New York Giants' Chris Canty tackles St. Louis Rams Cadillac Williams during the second quarter of their NFL football game in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Sept. 19, 2011. (REUTERS/Mike Segar)

BILL LANKHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:53 PM ET

Giants’ defensive lineman Chris Canty figures the NFC championship game will be decided in the trenches.

And, it will not be pretty.

Both the Giants and 49ers try to play a physical, intimidating style, which means Candlestick Park will be turned into a 100 yard cage match worthy of the MMA.

“This is not going to be a cute football game. It’s not going to be for the meek and mild,” Canty said. “This is going to be a bloodbath, that’s what it’s going to be.

“(The Niners) do not try to make it a secret, they try to beat you up. We pride ourselves on being a physical football team. Something’s gotta give on Sunday. Something’s gotta give.”

San Francisco has been virtually impossible to run against, giving up an average of just more than 77 yards a game. The Giants are healthier and should present a better pass rush than in their last meeting.

All of which means that the team whose offensive line holds up best will likely earn a Super Bowl invitation, not to mention, extra time in the whirlpool with a nice, soothing drink and their own extra-large tube of Ben-Gay.

JOHN BOY WALTON’S TEAM

The catchword around the 49ers this season has been “team”.

Harmony. It’s new head coach Jim Harbaugh’s mantra and it seems to fall just short of having John Boy Walton come out for the pregame talk.

He drills it into his players and, it turns out, he practises what he preaches.

The game-winning toss from Alex Smith to Vernon Davis last week didn’t come from Harbaugh or even offensive coordinator Greg Roman. It came thanks to quarterbacks coach Geep Chyrst.

The play, called “Vernon Post,” was only installed a week ago. It used Chyrst’s familiarity with the Saints from his days in Carolina.

Unlike most quarterback coaches Chyrst, called all the plays during the 49ers two-minute drill against the Saints. Harbaugh said he didn’t call the keeper play that Alex Smith turned into a TD run either. That suggestion came from Roman.

“We all work together, pretty much suffice it to say,” Harbaugh told CSN. No word on whether he ended the interview by getting everyone to sit around and hold hands for a stirring chorus of Kum-Ba-Ya.

MANNING, BRADY BACK PRACTISING

Eli Manning and Tom Brady were back on the practice field Thursday after their absences the previous day had drawn minor interest.

Manning missed Wednesday’s practice with a stomach flu. Brady took the day off to rest a left shoulder that has bothered him much of the season.

Manning’s absence might’ve raised some eyebrows but his teammates showed no concern he’d be bothered at game time Sunday.

“Are you kidding me? He’s Eli Manning,” defensive lineman Dave Tollefson said. “They probably have some kind of special virus-killing medicine that only Eli Manning can use. I’d be out for two weeks; he’ll be good (Thursday).”

Brady dismissed any concern about his shoulder, hinting the coaches just told him to take an extra day to rest. “It’s not the first practice I’ve missed over the years,” Brady said. “Coming off a game on Saturday or Sunday, you’re just doing everything you can to be prepared. When coach (Bill Belichick) feels it’s best to do other things to get yourself ready, that’s what you do. You can still use all that time very wisely. You’re not lounging around taking naps or anything like that ... I’ll certainly be as prepared as I possibly can be.

“It’s going to be a very physical, tough, hard-nosed game. We need everyone at full strength.”

SCHLICHTER CAN’T STAY OUT OF JAIL

By the time Art Schlichter turns 60 years old he will have spent one-third of his life in prison and another third in various courtrooms trying to stay out of jail.

Schlichter’s problem isn’t just that he can’t stop gambling. His problem is that he can’t stop being a lousy gambler.

Thursday, the former Ohio State star quarterback — already under house arrest while waiting to start a 10-year jail term — was arrested after his probation officer reported he had violated his bond conditions when he twice tested positive for cocaine.

Schlichter, now 51, is the prime example of how addictive gambling can derail a career and a life. He was the fourth pick in the 1982 NFL draft. But his gambling contributed to the loss of his football career when the NFL suspended him following the 1983 season.

Since then he has spent almost a dozen years in custody for various scams, thefts and frauds to feed his gambling addiction. A few years ago he went into 12-step programs for both gambling and substance abuse.

Apparently it’s not a good idea to whisper to the guy sitting in the next chair: “betcha a two-four I can get to step 10 before you.” Who knew?

Not Art, apparently, Anyway that didn’t work either.

Last year he pleaded guilty to swindling 50 people out of $2.5 million as part of a scheme to sell fake tickets to sporting events, then gambling away the money he stole.

He was under house arrest awaiting a judge’s approval of a plea agreement that calls for him to serve about 10 years behind bars when the cops again showed up.

JACOBS WANTS NINERS TO “HIT ME IN THE HEAD”

Brandon Jacobs wants to use his head in Sunday’s NFC championship.

Which is fine because he isn’t using it for much else. Like, you know ... for thinking.

Jacobs Thursday invited the 49ers to hit him in the head. The Giants running back, in fact, says he prefers it.

“I wish like hell they’d hit me in the head,” Jacobs told NFL.com. “A helmet-to-helmet hit. I want one of those. Because that means they’re staying high, you know. They’re not going to the ground and trying to make tackles at the shoe strings.”

Lovely. The league and players’ association spends the whole season warning of the dangers of helmet to helmet hits, and here on the biggest stage of the season, they’ve got a feature back sticking a bulls-eye on his own forehead and saying: “Hit Me”.

Last week, the Niners’ Donte Whitner knocked Saints’ running back Pierre Thomas out of the game with a helmet to helmet hit. Jacobs is unfazed: “I really don’t care how physical they are,” Jacobs said. “It’s going to be a football game. They’re a physical bunch; we’re a physical bunch. We’re going to be out there playing ball. I’m not afraid of them, I’m not afraid of anybody on their team, I’m not afraid of anybody in their organization. I’m ready to play football.”

BENGALS’ SIMPSON BUSTED

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Jerome Simpson has been indicted after a drug shipment was delivered to his home in September.

Simpson’s girlfriend, Aleen Smith, 27, signed for a 2.5-pound package of high-grade marijuana delivered to Simpson’s Kentucky home. The indictment alleges that Simpson, who along with Anthony Collins was in the home, “knowingly and unlawfully possessed more than 8 ounces of marijuana with the intent to traffic in marijuana.”

He faces one to five years in jail but authorities say he has been cooperative and would be eligible for a lesser sentence. Collins was cleared.


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