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When sundown came, Staubach and his family went to a friend's house for a first night of Passover seder. "I wore a yarmulke," he said. "The kids got a tremendous kick out of the hiding of the matzo and then ransoming it; the food was terrific. It was a good way to end a very tough day."
For the Cowboys the tough days are only beginning. Landry will spend more time coaching the defense this season, and former Cowboy Halfback Danny Reeves will have more responsibility for the offense. It's not hard to figure out why Landry is so interested in his defense. The Cowboys gave up 313 points last year, the most since 1963, when Don Meredith and Eddie LeBaron were battling to quarterback a 4-10 team. The rushing defense was 11th in the league, and the Cowboys had the fewest interceptions (13) in the NFL. Staubach pulled out four games in the last two minutes. "He was the difference between a good year and an average year," Landry says. And now there's no Staubach to carry the Cowboys anymore.
Everyone says White has the potential to produce points, but what about the defense? "It's the kind of challenge that Landry handles best," Harris says. "Somehow I get the feeling he'll find exactly the right pieces to fit into the puzzle. I think his genius will really come out next season."
Landry still isn't convinced Harris will stay retired. "He's impulsive," the coach says. "He does things the way he plays. He gives so much, just like Roger, that he needs the spark, and if he doesn't think it's there...well, then he just doesn't feel he can give what's needed. I think he might get the spark back."
Harris likes to talk about the oil firm he works for, U.S. Companies Inc., which acquires property, makes tests, then drills. He gets excited when he tells you about the chances of hitting a big one. Staubach has already become an investor in U.S. Companies. Harris doesn't sound as if he really wants to drill receivers anymore.
"Listen to this," he says. "One of the guys who called me when I retired was Lynn Swann. Can you imagine? Swann, of all people. Such a bitter rival, for so long. He said, I don't mind your leaving. It'll extend my career.' "
Harris was one of four players, along with Staubach, Breunig and Tony Dorsett, who came up with $2,000 apiece to help Hegman cover those checks. Hegman himself covered the rest, and the bank. Republic National of Dallas, is supposedly satisfied, but the Dallas DA's office has not yet decided what to do about the case.
Henderson is gone. "Landry has had it up to here with him, and so have a lot of us," one player says. "The guy would always pick defensive day to come up with a sore back or something. When he pulled that sideline stunt in the Washington game [Henderson was fooling with a bandanna for a TV camera] it was the last straw. We were getting blown out, and he wasn't making any tackles—that's the wrong time to clown."
"The offers we've had on a trade for him are embarrassing," says Brandt. "Nothing as high as a first- or second-round draft, which we need. I don't know, Butch Johnson [a backup wide receiver] keeps talking about wanting to be traded. Maybe we can put together a package with him and Thomas."
Pat Thomas, L.A.'s left cornerback, is mad at the Rams and wants to play for Dallas. He's visited the Cowboys' office, which is only a short trip from his home in Piano. But not many people seriously expect the Rams to trade their best defensive back to a traditional playoff rival.