PLAYING FOR PIZZA, by John Grisham. Doubleday, 272 pp., $21.95.

According to a news report from, “In “Playing for Pizza,” John Grisham leaves the confines of the courtroom for the NFL locker room. The pairing of the master of the legal thriller and America’s most popular professional sports league would seem to be a marriage made in bestseller heaven.”

“Perhaps he’d craft a potboiler about a star quarterback involved in illegal dog-fighting and gambling? Or a story about a retired Hall of Fame running back who’d beaten double-murder charges only to be charged with armed robbery? Maybe the plot would revolve around the genius head coach who broke league rules by stealing the defensive signals of the opposition?” said the story. “Playing for Pizza,” however, is Grisham without the legal machinations. Instead, we meet Cleveland Browns third-string quarterback Rick Dockery, who is lying in his hospital bed unconscious from a severe concussion. Rick, it seems, took the field at the end of an all-but-sewn-up game that would have propelled the long- suffering Browns into the Super Bowl.”

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