Updated: July 3, 2003, 11:08 AM ETBy By Darrell Trimble
NFL: After two and a half years of planning and construction, the Hall of Fame unveiled its $1.7 million Hall of Fame Gallery Wednesday, an interactive display that allows fans a closer look at the men enshrined. Where two rooms of busts once were displayed in no specific order, now one room is encircled by the bronze sculptures, grouped by years of induction. In the center is a series of touch-screen kiosks, allowing visitors to view enshrinee profiles and NFL Films footage on each of the 221 inductees. "It makes a lot of sense," Hall of Fame linebacker Willie Lanier told the Canton Repository. "It's been hard to find myself some years. This creates a focus where someone can find their way." Buffalo Bills: Former Syracuse WR Maurice Jackson was released by the Buffalo Bills last summer, and at the request of his agent, he went to Canada to build up his resume. It worked. According to Harold Lewis, the New York Giants, Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints have all expressed interest in signing the 5-8, 175-pound wideout/kick returner. "He said that something will happen in the next few days," Jackson told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. "It looks like it was a move for the better.'' Of the three teams vying for Jackson's attention, none of them seem to need a returner. The Saints have Michael Lewis, the Giants signed Brian Mitchell and the Chiefs have Dante Hall. But the teams are interested in Jackson because he was timed running the 40-yard dash in 4.18 seconds during his senior year at Syracuse. Oddly enough, the Bills, who could use a good returner with speed, have no desire to bring Jackson back. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Not only does it look like RB Michael Pittman will be with the team for the start of training camp on July 18, he may even be allowed to accompany it to Japan for the first exhibition game 11 days later. Pittman's attorney said he hopes to gain permission for his client to travel to the Land of the Rising Sun. "When Michael had his initial [court] appearance, he was given permission to go to Florida and to participate in all club activities," attorney Joel Thompson told the Tampa Tribune. "The only difference here is he's leaving the country." The Bucs play the Jets in the American Bowl in Tokyo on Aug. 2. They are slated to leave July 29, one day before a pretrial conference is to be held to discuss the May 31 incident. "If I was going to guess, I'd say we're looking at another month before we have a [probation revocation hearing]," Thompson said. "I don't think [gaining permission to go to Japan] is going to be a problem. I expect Michael to make the trip."