"Hey, I'm young and I'm old," says Jaworski, 35. "I certainly want to play. There's no question about that. But I'm a realist, too. Going into the season, I knew there were going to be a lot of changes with a new coach coming in, and I knew for a guy my age to hang on to my job, we had to win.... I knew I was dodging the bullet all along."
That's something Jaws has gotten remarkably good at doing.
"I've broken fingers on my right hand," he says. "I've broken my wrist, my shoulder. I've broken my ribs and played. I've broken my leg. I had a steel plate put in. Now I can rub my hand across my leg and feel six screw heads.
"My daughters know that if Daddy isn't home for dinner that I'm in the training room getting treatment. They understand. I've sat down with them and explained what I have to go through to play. They know not to worry about me."
Don Shula, the Miami Dolphins' coach, is in the last year of a contract that pays him $750,000 this season. Several weeks ago a report in the Los Angeles Times said that Shula was unhappy in Miami and that he was considering leaving. About that same time, Joe Robbie, Miami's president, added fuel to that report by saying that he would first have to "evaluate" the entire team from top to bottom at the end of the season. Folks assumed Robbie also meant Shula.
Well, that started talk around the league that had Shula coaching next season in Buffalo, San Diego and Tampa Bay. The latest rumor floating around has Shula succeeding Tom Landry on the sideline in Dallas.
The Bills and Chargers recently named new head coaches. Tampa Bay owner Hugh Culverhouse has called the rumor concerning Shula and the Bucs "baseless." And Tex Schramm, the Cowboys' president, who is Shula's buddy on the NFL competition committee, just laughs about the possibility of his coming to Dallas. "Oh, sure," Schramm says. "That's something Don and I dreamed up in a hot tub in Maui, during the last competition committee meetings. Me with my J. & B., Don with his white wine."
"By everybody else talking about all this," says one NFC general manager, "it only helps Don negotiate himself a better contract."
There had been some speculation last year that Shula wanted his oldest son David, who is the Dolphins' assistant head coach, to take over as the team's No. 1 man when the elder Shula, 56, finally decides to retire. However, because of the iciness of Shula's relationship with Robbie—the two rarely talk—that may not turn out to be the case.
So where does this leave Shula? He remains tight-lipped. "I'm not going to respond to every rumor somebody prints," he says. "I don't have any comment on my contract."