Bobby Hebert, the Cajun Cannon, is worked up. This is a normal condition for the 24-year-old, 6'4", 208-pound quarterback from Cut Off, La., particularly when he is talking about his roots. "Yeah, Cut Off from civilization," he says of the town of 3,500, which stands a mere three feet above sea level.
"If there was a recession, the last place it would heet is back home," he says. "We Cajuns could live off de land."
"And so could we," says strong safety David Greenwood of tiny Park Falls, Wis. Greenwood is Hebert's teammate, best friend and personal gadfly on the USFL's Oakland Invaders.
Hebert (pronounced "a-bear") waves disgustedly at Greenwood.
"We got crawfish, oysters, sheemp and rabbits," he says. "I caught 96 redfish in two hours near our camp in Grand Isle, I caught a 200-pound blue marlin in de Gulf. We got bullfrogs thees big...." Hebert holds his hands two feet apart."
Hebert pauses for a moment. Greenwood has given up trying to break in.
"I just get emotional," says the Cut Off kid with a smile.
Oh, does he ever. The quarterback with the smile that never stops reminds one mostly of an eager puppy. You know he'll be a show dog soon, but right now he's out there yelping and stirring things up.
Indeed, Hebert, who has thrown for more yards than anyone else in the USFL's brief history, stands alone in this oddball league. He is the USFL's only star free agent. Everybody else of note—Jim Kelly, Herschel Walker, Trumaine Johnson, Kelvin Bryant, etc.—has already been drafted by an NFL team and their rights will shift to those clubs when the player's USFL contract, or the league itself, expires. Hebert, however, never was drafted by the big league and can sign with any team he wants as soon as the Invaders complete their season.
It took a unique set of circumstances for this to occur, but the bottom line now for Hebert—who has made $70,000, $80,000 and $100,000 in his three USFL years—is big cash. For the NFL it is need and greed. Just how badly does any team want him? Will owners who suddenly are mouthing platitudes such as "fiscal responsibility" shove heavy bucks at a man who once threw an in-stride pass, a majestic rainbow that traveled 76 yards in the air, to wide receiver Anthony Carter? Come now.