William (The Refrigerator) Perry, the Bears' wildly popular all-purpose player, has gone back to school to learn how to cope with the hundreds of requests he's receiving for interviews, speaking engagements and endorsements (the latest has to do with an inflatable refrigerator mover). Perry is taking a $2,400 speaking course from Communispond, Inc., which usually works with CEOs and other upper-level management folks at Fortune 500 companies.
Perry is being tutored in three mock settings: a studio talk-show setup, locker-room minicamera interviews and sports banquets. He watches himself on videotape playbacks.
Says Communispond's Jim Smith, "We're coaching him on how to remember funny stories or funny lines about himself and how to get rid of the non-words, like 'uh-huh.' William wants to create a favorable impression of himself, but we don't want him to appear too smooth."
Joe Fields, the Jets' center and team captain, is tickled to have his No. 65 jersey buried in a time capsule beneath the Marriott Marquis, a new hotel in Manhattan's Times Square area. The capsule contains artifacts depicting life in the United States in 1985, including a pair of Calvin Klein jeans, Bruce Springsteen's Born in the U.S.A. album, a Lite beer commercial, a videotape of The Tonight Show and a football autographed by the New York Giants.
Says Fields, 32, "I wish I could hang around until then just to see the aliens' faces when they pull out my jersey. I bet the beings won't be as big in 100 years. And I wonder what football will have evolved to by then. Chess?"
Brian Holloway thinks colleges have missed the most important part of a football player's education: schooling him about agentry. "The public knows that agents take advantage of college kids," says Holloway, the Patriots' All-Pro tackle from Stanford and an NFL Players Association rep. "And who's to blame? The universities. They make the mistake of looking at their players as amateurs. As a result, agents fill the informational gap between college and the pros."
Last spring, Holloway talked to Nebraska's football players about how to select an agent; he's planning a 10-school tour this spring and also hopes to address the NCAA about reforms he proposes for educating athletes.
"Every school ought to have a seminar for athletes on how to select an agent," Holloway says. "And each college should put three or four pro alumni on retainer so that current players have someone to talk to about the NFL. The hardest part will be getting colleges to admit that some of their players will be pros. It's their responsibility to educate them."
Who was that masked man who sold the San Antonio Gunslingers' paraphernalia? And how can the USFL team get it back? Gunslinger owner Clinton Manges, who owes his players $600,000 in wages, swears he didn't sell the team's gear to pay his debts. (In fact, Manges claims he will fork over the cash so his franchise can play in the fall of '86.)
Fred Rugen, a sports collector in San Jose, Calif., says he bought the equipment—he won't divulge the price—from a friend, who told him he had purchased it from a Gunslinger assistant coach. But Rugen, who says he has since sold the gear, won't name anyone. The haul: 55 jerseys, five helmets, 14 jackets, one sweat suit, three T shirts, five jogging suits, one coach's shirt and one sweater. "There's no doubt the gear is authentic," Rugen says. "The jerseys were torn."