Favre draws ire, penalty

For a guy who said before the game that he feared he had a cracked rib, Brett Favre was pretty physical Monday during Minnesota's 17-10 victory at Houston.

Too physical, perhaps.

The newly unretired Vikings quarterback laid out Houston safety Eugene Wilson with a nasty crackback block in the third quarter. The play resulted in a 15-yard penalty on Favre and sent Wilson limping off with a bruised knee.

The cheap shot didn't go unnoticed in ESPN's broadcast booth. Mike Tirico and Ron Jaworski criticized Favre, saying he was jeopardizing Wilson's career.

It took the shine off an otherwise solid performance from Favre, who completed 13 of 18 passes for 142 yards and a touchdown.

Wilson said he didn't talk to Favre about the cheap shot, but he said he'd like to know one thing:

"What was up with that?" Wilson said. "Seriously, what was up with that?"

• NO FAKE MOUSTACHE? -- Was that really Steve Nash who showed up at a Beijing park last weekend to play pickup basketball?

Indeed it was.

The Phoenix Suns guard was in China for some promotional and charity work and decided to go looking for a game.

In an attempt to go unnoticed, the two-time NBA Most Valuable Player donned a bandana and a pair of protective goggles.

The other players saw through the disguise and ultimately embraced Nash.

"As soon as I walked on, they recognized me," he said. "It really didn't work."

• GAME ON -- After making a stink about not wanting to face the defending national champion, Florida International will play North Carolina in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic after all.

FIU wanted to play Ohio State. But the Gazelle Group, which runs the event, paired the Golden Panthers with Carolina in the first round. Florida International threatened to pull out of the tournament but had a change of heart.

Isiah Thomas' college coaching debut now will come Nov. 9 against the Tar Heels, who probably will make him long for his days with the Knicks.

• WHIZ KID -- Conclusive proof that people will buy almost anything related to their favorite team, a sports bar owner in Minnesota paid $750 for the "The Original Whizzinator" made famous by the Vikings' Onterrio Smith.

The Whizzinator is a urine-storing device that enables the user to cheat on a urine test. Smith was caught with the device at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in 2005.

Matt Little, owner of Buster's Sports Bar & Grill in Mankato, was the winning bidder. He plans to display the Whizzinator in a glass case next to jerseys of the Vikings' Adrian Peterson and the Twins' Justin Morneau. Little also wants to reunite the Whizzinator with its most famous user.

"I got a guy who knows Onterrio, so we want to do a reunion," he told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "How classic would that be?"