- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
One question remains: Did Kush resign or was he forced out as the result of a locker-room squabble with owner Bob Irsay on Nov. 25? Kush's wife, Fran, said, "I hate to leave before the end of the season. It wasn't planned that way. I don't think Frank had any choice. You must remember Bob Irsay is unpredictable."
The NFL's wedding of the year for 1985 involves not a player but Leigh Steinberg, the 35-year-old superagent-hunk, who will tie the knot in April with Lucy Semeniuk, a Newport Beach ( Calif.) lawyer who was the 1972 University of California homecoming queen. The list of ushers—all Steinberg clients—reads like a Who's Who of Young Millionaires: the L.A. Express's Steve Young, Houston's Warren Moon, Atlanta's Steve Bartkowski, San Diego's Rolf Benirschke, Seattle's Kenny Easley, the Baltimore Stars' Irv Eatman and St. Louis's Neil Lomax. Says the groom, "They ought to take out a Lloyd's of London insurance policy for the church."
The Classless Play of the Year Trophy goes—hands down—to lame duck Tampa Bay coach John McKay. With the Bucs in front 41-7, McKay instructed his defense to let the Jets score so that the Bucs' James Wilder could get some more cracks at Eric Dickerson's single-season all-purpose rushing record of 2,234 yards. Johnny Hector of the Jets walked in a TD with 56 seconds left and Wilder got three additional shots, but came up 16 yards short. Jets coach Joe Walton called it right: "A total embarrassment to the NFL."
By showing up in a Chicago Bears uniform for two games, quarterback Greg Landry became eligible for a nice little nest egg—$70,000 in NFL "severance pay." That's what the league calls a certain lump sum payable on retirement. It was a feature of the players' contract negotiated in 1982, a year after Landry had retired from the NFL. The longer you've played, the more you get. Landry had put in 11 seasons with the Lions, three with the Colts. He spent the springs of '83 and '84 in the USFL but became eligible for NFL severance only when he signed with the Bears. Chicago is responsible for $17,500 of it, Detroit $48,125 and the Colts $4,375. Landry dragged down approximately $22,500 in salary for his two Bears games and will get a full share of the team's playoff payoff.
Ah, yes—he started Sunday and beat the Lions 30-13.
A.J. Duhe, the Miami linebacker, suffered through the worst season of his career. Off-season knee and shoulder surgery kept him out of the Dolphins' first four regular-season games, and two weeks ago his lack of mobility and generally subpar play caused him to be benched. Yet he was selected as a Pro Bowl starter. "I can't even make the starting unit on my own team," Duhe says.
Cowboy free safety Michael Downs is having his best season. He leads the team in tackles (131), blocked an extra point and a field goal, and had 3� sacks—but he wasn't even picked as an alternate. One starting safety for the NFC is 49er Dwight Hicks, who played cornerback most of the year. Says Downs, "It's just a popularity contest." But Cowboy corner-back Everson Walls thinks it's a conspiracy. "We need to send one of [ Dallas security director] Larry Wansley's boys to San Francisco," kids Walls. "I think they stuffed the ballot box."
The big mystery in Detroit: Will Monte Clark stay on after his 4-11-1 season? Reportedly Clark has three years left on his five-year contract, and the payoff to get rid of him would be about $1 million. Meanwhile, talk has surfaced in Seattle that the Seahawks' Chuck Knox is a candidate for the Lions' head coaching job. Knox, Detroit's offensive line coach from '67 to '72, had the Lions job dangled in front of him in '77. Miffed that the Lions were courting his coach, L.A. owner Carroll Rosenbloom made the move impossible. For openers, he wanted 12 Lions players in return.
Knox denies he wants to leave Seattle for Detroit. However, NFL sources insist that, where Knox is concerned, money talks. Then, there's this: The four-year pact Knox recently signed with the Sea-hawks reportedly has a clause allowing him to break the pact if he got a promotion—say, general manager/coach—with another team.
The Vikings gave coach/Lieut. Colonel Les Steckel and his staff the boot Monday. And according to eight-year veteran nose tackle Charlie Johnson, Minnesota's 3-13 record—worst in club history—wasn't the only reason for the dismissal. "Les pushed [religion] a lot," Johnson says. "A lot of guys felt he was trying to make them too much like him. We're here to win football games. Hell, leave us alone and let us play football."