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Striking a blow against chop blocks
Jill Lieber
October 20, 1986
What is the most dangerous place on a football field? This season it seems to be the line of scrimmage, thanks to one of the most vicious practices in the game: chop blocking.
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October 20, 1986

Striking A Blow Against Chop Blocks

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•Neil Lomax, Cards quarterback: "The professional athlete has to live with too much pressure. One minute he's up on the pedestal and everyone caters to him for years. Then he hits the bottom and people discard him. It's a turbulent experience, and you see it ruin so many people. They can't cope when it's over."

•Chris Dieterich, Lions guard, who has an artificial left hip and a bad left knee: "A kid can get the same kind of team participation and achievement in baseball and soccer without messing up his body."

•Jimmy Williams, Lions linebacker: "In this day and age, particularly for the black family, I think it's extremely important to pursue, to the fullest, academic endeavors."

•Barry Krauss, Colts linebacker: "I'd let my kid do whatever he wants to do. Of course, as soon as he's born, I'd get him a golf club."

During the Jets' playoff years of 1981 and '82, quarterback Richard Todd was the toast of New York City. One of his closest friends and staunchest supporters was Joe Walton, who was then the team's offensive coordinator. But in '83, Walton was named head coach and the Jets went 7-9. The relationship between coach and quarterback soon became strained; Todd believed Walton had turned on him, making him the scapegoat for the mediocre season.

The Jets sent Todd to New Orleans in '84, where he started. In 1985, he sat on the bench, and last summer was waived during training camp.

Two weeks ago, Todd was returning to New York City—to enter a training program in trading at the Wall Street firm of Bear, Stearns & Co.—when Walton called, asking him to rejoin the Jets on a week-to-week basis.

"It took me about 15 minutes to reply," says Todd, who signed as an $18,000-per-game replacement for Ken O'Brien, out with a knee injury. "I had gone home to Alabama, was making runs to the beach in my plane to pick up seafood and playing with my seven-month-old son. We call him Pea Pod. Pea Pod Todd. My life was nice, very nice.

"There were so many hard feelings when I left. I wanted to remember the good times. I grew up with the Jets; some of these guys are my best friends. I wanted to come back to straighten everything out in my mind. I think Joe Walton wanted that, too. We haven't talked about the bad times, but we don't need to. Now, he and I will remember the good times."

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

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