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The stunning part, though, was that Murray had been Tose's closest friend. When Tose woke up in a Houston hospital in 1978 after open heart surgery, the first person he saw was Murray, saying the rosary. "...he had two things that count" was Tose's quote in the 1982 Eagles' press guide, "brains, and a sincere concern for people. And what a friend!" Tose had given Murray a 1% interest in the Eagles, and privately he was fond of calling Murray "my adopted son."
And now Murray was gone. But why? Tose cited excess spending as the reason for Murray's demise. Tose said that when Murray had signed Quarterback Ron Jaworski to a $400,000 contract in 1981 Tose wasn't told of the deal. "I almost fell through the floor when I saw it," he said.
"Of course Tose knew about it," Jaworski says. "It took a week to finalize, because. Jim had to run it by Leonard."
Murray will not comment on any aspect of the situation. With Rozelle acting as arbitrator, he's trying to reach a settlement on the remaining eight years of his contract. Borden and Procopio are trying to settle their contracts, too.
Tose stuck by his excess-spending statement, even though he admitted, "The fault lies with me. Do you expect me to fire myself?" A source close to both Murray and the Eagles says the fault lies with the 10-year contracts, signed by Tose, that Murray drew up for himself, Borden and Procopio two years ago.
"No NFL employees outside of coaches have long-term contracts like that," the source says. "Susan got upset at the idea of so many people in the organization locked into multiyear deals. Leonard accepted it, but Susan felt that people aren't as productive when they're on long-term contracts like that. She doesn't like cronyism."
Fletcher is vivacious. She smiles a lot and answers all questions, sometimes with a question of her own. "What would you do?" is a favorite expression. When she was 21 and fresh out of Boston University, she married Ira Schneider, a public relations man, and went to work as a history teacher on Long Island, at Meadowbrook Junior High in East Meadow. In 1971 the marriage broke up, and she packed up her 3½-year-old daughter, Marnie, and headed south, to Lighthouse Point, Fla. A year later she was running a business out of her garage, designing and manufacturing tennis dresses under the brand name Papillon. "There were moments of great despair," she says. "I had to do the selling, too, and it was tough, taking my dresses into a pro shop and hearing the guy tell me, 'No. They're ugly.' "
After four years, the business was growing quickly. She had a partner, Dennis Kalodish, and a new husband, Harold Fletcher, a sporting-goods rep. Both relationships broke up. The business partnership nearly ended in the courts. "He wanted to sell goods quicker than we could produce them," Fletcher says. The marriage ended in a divorce that will become final, she says, "any day now."
"My father is very frank about my marital choices," Fletcher says. "He feels I'm 0 for 2." Tose himself is currently on his fourth marriage.
In 1978, at the age of 37, Fletcher entered Villanova Law School. Friends of the Toses say that Murray, a Villanova alumnus and the school's former sports information director, helped her get in. She passed the bar exam on her first try, became the Eagles' legal counsel in 1980 and was made vice-president by her father last fall.