Last week, as his league was filing papers in Federal District Court in New York City seeking injunctive relief against the NFL, USFL commissioner Harry Usher was pondering his own future and packing for his return home to California.
Usher, 47, who has lived in New York since taking office in 1984, had shuttled coast to coast at least twice a month to see his wife and four children.
"In terms of where the league stands right now, I just don't see a need for my being on-site in New York. I don't have to physically be here to be commissioner," Usher said.
When asked what toll the job had taken on him, Usher laughed and said, "Besides having a heart attack? Besides heart surgery?" Usher underwent quadruple-bypass surgery last year; it was his second such operation.
The USFL will reduce its front office staff to three people—controller Joe Cussick, director of operations Peter Hadhazy and general counsel Jane Ellison.
Meanwhile, the USFL will hope for help from the courts. The most intriguing proposal presented to Judge Peter Leisure suggests that the AFC, NFC and USFL hold separate player drafts, have separate negotiations for TV contracts and share revenues by division.
Ernest Givins, the Oilers' No. 2 draft pick out of Louisville, is causing a lot of commotion in Houston. The little wide receiver—he's 5'9", 168 pounds—isn't afraid to go over the middle. "If you concentrate on the football and not the defenders, it doesn't hurt," says Givins, who is averaging 18.7 yards per catch. "When you worry about the collision, it'll really hurt."
After a spectacular catch, Givins spins the ball on the ground like a top. "It feels sooooo good," says Givins, nicknamed Spinner by his Oiler teammates.
The rookie, who has run a 4.36 40, has two veterans to thank for his success—John Jefferson, the former San Diego and Green Bay All-Pro, who had tried out with the Oilers, and Tim Smith, the two-time 1,000-yard performer whom Givins has replaced in the starting lineup.
Jefferson pulled Givins aside in practice one day in July and said, "I've heard a lot about you. I'd like to help you." J.J. taught Givins how to cut on the run, to round off his routes.