Wyche says he told Rucker that Brooks's problems were the result of blocking breakdowns, and that his only comment on the Bengals' talent was that he had anticipated doing better than 2-6.
Rucker later admitted making up the dinner.
Though Seattle's star running back. Curt Warner, injured his right knee in the opening game and is out for the season, and Franco Harris has been a bust, the Seahawks' running game has barely suffered. Through their first eight games last year, with Warner on his way to a 1,449-yard season, the Seahawks rushed 287 times for 1,041 yards—an average of 3.6 yards per carry and 130 yards per game. They were 4-4.
For the same period in '84, without Warner, Seattle has rushed 273 times for 909 yards—3.3 yards per carry and 113.6 yards per game. And the team is 6-2.
Coach Chuck Knox is spreading the groundwork among five runners, led by Eric Lane (278 yards) and including quarterback Dave Krieg, who has picked up 140 yards.
Says Ken Meyer, the Seahawks' quarterback coach, who calls the offensive plays, "The biggest thing we did was overcome the psychological part of losing Curt Warner. Chuck convinced the players that 'Hey. Curt Warner never made a tackle or an interception or returned a kickoff.' Last year we relied on Curt too much. Now everybody pitches in. We're much more productive.
"The other thing that keeps us going? Curt Warner. He's around all the time, always smiling and upbeat."
Eddie DeBartolo Jr. wants to sell the 49ers—to the DeBartolo Corp.—and then perhaps add the San Francisco Giants to the family and create a Bay Area sports package for cable TV. There's a problem, however. The NFL prohibits companies from owning franchises unless a firm's primary business is NFL football. The $1 billion DeBartolo Corp., of which DeBartolo has a 30% interest, owns more than 50 enclosed shopping malls, as well as the Pittsburgh Civic Arena, that city's NHL Penguins and MISL Spirit and three racetracks.
The 49ers, says DeBartolo, are draining his personal coffers. Since buying the club in 1977 for $17 million, it has spent $101.4 million, he says, while taking in $82.2 million. "The losses I've incurred with the 49ers, I can't use them as an individual owner," he says. "As a corporation I think I'd be better able to use all of the 19-some million as a tax loss."
With the NFL projecting that only five teams will make a profit in 1986, other owners are thinking along the same lines. Reportedly, Cardinals owner Bill Bidwill, for one, wants to sell all or part of his team to Anheuser-Busch, which already owns the baseball Cardinals.