Steroids are another matter. Said one NFL executive, "Thirty percent of the players in the league are on steroids. Fewer than that are on cocaine. We may never get the union to agree to a drug-testing policy if we say we'll test for steroids. Their constituents won't go for it."
Said George Young, the Giants' general manager, "Steroids are something we've got to stop. But they aren't the same thing as cocaine. Steroids give them a competitive edge. Steroids are a competitive problem."
Just listening to Mike Ditka's schedule the week before the meetings was exhausting: "I went from Chicago to Florida to Houston to Chicago to L.A. to Phoenix to Indy to Chicago to Pittsburgh to Palm Springs in one week."
After the meetings, the Chicago coach was scheduled to fly to Miami and back home—on the same day—just to make a bon voyage speech for a Bears fans' cruise to Nassau. He was supposed to take the ship trip himself, but was too tired.
Ditka has recently raised his speaking fee from $2,500 to $3,000, which mayor may not—deter some of the business.
Pete Rozelle finally had a chat with Patriots general manager Pat (John L.) Sullivan about his scuffle with Raiders linebacker Matt Millen following the Patriots-Raiders playoff game in January. "I told him that I didn't plan on being on the sidelines anymore," Sullivan said, "and the commissioner said, 'That sounds like a good idea.' End of conversation." The point is probably moot because, said Sullivan, "I don't think we'll own the team next season."
One gag gift Sullivan received after the fight was a Raiders helmet with the mandatory label altered to read: WARNING: THIS HELMET SHOULD NOT BE USED TO BUTT, SPEAR OR RAM IRISH MANAGEMENT TYPES. Sullivan claimed Millen hit him with his helmet.
Millen, who hasn't heard a word from the league, begged to differ. "I hit Pat with my fist," he said.
Gene Stallings, the Cardinals' new coach, may be best remembered for the controversy he created while head coach at Texas A & M from 1965 to 1971. In his first year on the job, some 60 players resigned from the Aggies' squad because of Stallings' strict discipline. He was also opposed to an integrated team, saying, "I've got nothing against the Negro athlete, but I don't believe he fits into our plans right now."
Stallings, the Dallas Cowboys' defensive backfield coach for the last 14 years, has learned from his mistakes. "I was 29 when I had that job," says Stallings, now 51. "I was perhaps a little young. I was also too tough, although I didn't think so at the time. You know, I've coached a jillion blacks since then. Looking back, I think we were way behind recruiting blacks, the whole Southwest Conference was. I'll always regret that.