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NFL Hall of Famer Hirsch dies at 80

After a long touchdown run for the University of Wisconsin in 1942, Elroy Hirsch was described as looking like a "demented duck," whose "crazy legs were gyrating in six different directions all at the same time."

From that day on, Hirsch was known as "Crazy Legs." He went on to become one of the NFL's most exciting players and earn a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Yesterday, Hirsch died of natural causes at age 80 in Madison, Wis.

Best known for his unorthodox running style, Hirsch starred at Wisconsin for one season, played nine years in the NFL and led the Los Angeles Rams to the league title in 1951. He spent time in the Rams' front office and had a brief movie career before returning to Madison as Badgers AD from 1969-87.

The Wausau, Wis., native was inducted into four other halls -- college football's Hall of Fame in 1974, two in his home state, and Michigan's Hall of Honor. Hirsch was assigned to Michigan in 1943 while serving in the Marine Corps.

Following his stint in the Marines, he played three seasons for the Chicago Rockets of the All-American Football Conference. He switched to receiver when he joined the Rams in 1949 and was a key part of their revolutionary three-end offense.

Seller's market

CBS Sports president Sean McManus said, as of Tuesday, the network had "just two or three" commercial spots remaining for Sunday's Super Bowl and was holding out to get the full price of $2.3 million. "There are several buyers standing by, hoping for a price drop," he said . . . Jim Nantz, the host of CBS Sports programming and the driving force behind Monday night's first-ever Opening Ceremonies for the Super Bowl, called the event "a natural thing to integrate the community with the game." A crowd of 5,000 at Reliant Hall cheered 34 of Houston's all-time sports heroes. As the introductions began Texans quarterback David Carr handed a football to Nantz (a University of Houston graduate), who handed it to former Oilers great Earl Campbell. The ball circulated through all the honorees, winding up with NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who then announced it would be Sunday's "game ball." . . . The Raiders hired Jimmy Raye as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator. Raye spent the last two seasons with the Jets, serving as assistant head coach last season and senior offensive assistant in 2002 . . . The Packers promoted assistant Bob Slowik to defensive coordinator and hired former Lions assistant Kurt Schottenheimer as defensive backs coach. Slowik, who had served as defensive backs coach, has been a defensive coordinator in the NFL twice before, with Chicago from 1993-98 and Cleveland in 1999 . . . Former Packers general manager Ron Wolf said he will be a personnel specialist for the Browns, who plan to announce his hiring today . . . Free agent wide receiver Marvin "Snoop" Minnis signed with the Dolphins. Minnis was inactive for two games with the Buccaneers last season . . . Fullback Daimon Shelton, a six-year veteran, was one of two free agents signed by the Bills. Shelton missed all of last season, released by Chicago after two years with the Bears. The Bills also signed offensive lineman Lawrence Smith.

Bill Griffith of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

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