Cleveland's new coach, Marty Schottenheimer, whose debut Sunday ended in a 16-14 loss to New Orleans, was telling Terry Bradshaw, the Steeler-quarterback-turned- CBS-analyst, about his NFL playing days.
"I was a linebacker with the Steelers from '62 to '65," said Schottenheimer. "Then from '65 to '68, I played with the Bills. I was with the Boston Patriots in '69 and '70, and in '71 I was traded back to the Steelers. Jack Ham was a rookie. You were in your second year. Chuck Noll was my tutor. My career ended six weeks later, when I was cut."
Bradshaw nodded intently.
"Tell me, Terry," Schottenheimer said, "do you remember me?"
"Well, Marty, now that you mention it," Bradshaw said, "I don't remember you at all."
Schottenheimer shrugged his shoulders. "Oh, well," he said, "I didn't do anything memorable anyway."
This week's Foot-in-the-Mouth Award goes to Reggie Rucker, the former Cleveland receiver who is now an NBC analyst.
During the Browns-Bengals game on Oct. 21, Rucker mentioned on the air that he'd had dinner with Cincinnati coach Sam Wyche the night before and that Wyche had given him the inside scoop on what's wrong with the Bengals.
Rucker said Wyche had revealed that Bengal running back James Brooks, acquired in an off-season trade with San Diego, was having trouble learning the offense. He said the coach also admitted that he had greatly overestimated the Bengals' talent.
When told of Rucker's comments, Wyche blew his stack. "I never had dinner with him," Wyche said. "In fact, I've spoken to him maybe twice in my whole life." One of those conversations, Wyche said, took place shortly before the Browns game and lasted about 90 seconds because Rucker left in midsentence to approach Sam Rutigliano, then the Cleveland coach.