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Intellect tires, the will never.
Roger Staubach has never been short on willpower. He cannot understand why anybody would smoke a cigarette or drink too much or get two pounds overweight. When he first came to the Cowboys as a 27-year-old rookie, after four years in the Navy, Staubach could hardly believe what he was seeing: Meredith and Morton behaving like chums. "Are they always like that?" Staubach asked a Dallas columnist. He said they usually were. "I can't see being that friendly with a guy when I'm trying to take away his job," Staubach said.
Staubach still fails to see it although he knows Morton a lot better now and respects him. "Craig and I get along as well as we can in this situation," he said after Dallas had beaten the Giants with Morton appearing only as a holder. "We understand each other's problems. Craig had his run at this job after Meredith left. Two years ago Craig and I were both doing well statistically, but the team was losing too many games. So a coaching decision was made, and I took over.
"I don't care if it's golf or pool or what, I love to win. You can carry that attitude too far, of course. I don't advocate it for kids in the pee wee leagues. But in pro football winning is all there is. If you don't win, you haven't done what the game is about."
At 31 Staubach is a year older to the day than Morton. They played on the College All-Star team together before Staubach went on active duty. Staubach knew while he was at the Naval Academy that he wanted to play pro football and that service time would be a handicap, but the discipline appealed to him. "I've always been a disciplined person," he said. "I liked that Naval Academy educational discipline, the idea that you had to get your work done. I was a natural athlete, starting with baseball at the age of six. But I've worked hard at athletics. I gave up golf because I could see I'd have to play all the time to be good, and I didn't want to be bad."
It eats at him that he was not much of a problem to the Redskins in the playoffs last year. He asked a Cowboy publicity man to deliver the game film to his home, and then did not show up around the office for weeks. "What was there for me to say?" he said. "I was a non-factor in that game. The quarterback is supposed to attack, make things happen. I couldn't make anything happen."
So Staubach concentrated on beating Washington on Oct. 8, and got yanked instead. "I was very hot at being taken out," he said with a tight smile. "The game wasn't out of control. We were leading, and I'd thrown a touchdown pass. Coach Landry said I was hurt, but there were at least a half dozen guys on the field who were a lot more hurt than I was. Tom and I have talked about it. He knows how I feel."
That discussion may account for Morton having been used sparingly since.
"I meant it when I said I wouldn't want to stay here unless I was No. 1," Staubach said. "It's a human reaction to root against the guy you're trying to beat out. That's a bad position to be in, and it's bad for the team, but I don't see how you can help it."
When I was a kid I used to buy bubblegum to get those neat little football-card pictures. Now I am one.