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Friday - 02/08/2001

By Brian McCarthy
Special to

KAUA'I, Hawaii (Feb. 8, 2001) � Trent Dilfer's life has been a month-long Truman Show. Every move the Super Bowl champion quarterback has made � on-and-off-the-field � has been televised, scrutinized and analyzed. He estimates he's answered a couple thousand questions since the Ravens navigated their way to the playoffs.

But even two weeks after guiding his Baltimore Ravens to the Super Bowl victory, Dilfer can't escape inquiring minds. He faced yet another throng of people wanting to know every detail of his life. But this was one session he enjoyed in shorts and flip flops.

More than 250 barefoot children from Hanalei Elementary School on the Hawaiian island of Kaua'I grilled Dilfer Tuesday in their open-air cafeteria during his hour visit.

Dilfer is one of six quarterbacks on the island for Thursday's taping of the DIRECTV Presents the NFL Quarterback Challenge. The quarterbacks � Dilfer, Jeff Garcia of the San Francisco 49ers, Rob Johnson of the Buffalo Bills, Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts, Donovan McNabb of the Philadelphia Eagles, and Jake Plummer of the Arizona Cardinals � will compete in a skills competition. CBS Sports will air the competition in late July.

Dilfer, who actually spent five weeks on the island (population, 98,000) for his high school summer vacation in 1987 as a 14-year-old, was asked 48 questions in 20 minutes following his speech to the assembled children.

"I rather face these children than the media," said Dilfer. "The kids ask better questions � some that I've never been asked before."

A sampling of the questions and answers: Do you surf? (yes, but better on the boogie board); Who's your favorite guy to throw to? (Shannon Sharpe); How old are you? (turns 29 in March); Have you ever met Kurt Warner? (yes, he's a nice guy); Were you nervous in the Super Bowl (our team was so focused that once we hit the field it was just like another game); How does it feel to win the Super Bowl? (a dream come true, used to lay in bed as a kid and think about playing in it); Does it hurt when you get tackled (at first, but then it goes away); How many touchdowns do you have (think about 90); How many years will you play (hopefully five to seven more); Where's your Super Bowl ring? (gets it in June).

In front of homemade sign that read, "Aloha Trent Dilfer, Super Bowl Champion," Dilfer talked to the children about perservence � a trait the seven-year veteran displayed throughout the 2000 season. "When things get tough, it's important you surround yourself with good people and work through problems," he said. "Trust yourself that you can get through things. Make sure you enjoy the good times."

Dilfer's visit was one of five trips members of the NFL Quarterback Club made throughout the island. Also speaking at schools were Johnson, McNabb, Jim Kelly, former star quarterback of the Buffalo Bills and Jim Everett, former quarterback of the Rams.