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Strader and his staff have talked about these 1,500 biographies for months. Tonight they start talking about them again. They talk about which of the players they want will be grabbed by other clubs, which will be grabbed by a Canadian football team, which by the U.S. Army.
In 11 other suites 11 other staffs are reviewing their encyclopedias of flesh.
The phones ring during the night. These are the hours for the deals, the trade of a 265-pound tackle for a 180-pound defensive back or of three experienced players for a high position in one of tomorrow's draft rounds.
The clubs draft in the reverse order of their 1954 standing in the league. The 49ers are ninth (three other teams finished ahead of them last season) and must wait during each round until eight other clubs pick players. Strader has been on the phone to Joe Stydahar, whose Chicago Cardinals ended last and therefore have first place in the draft, and to Weeb Ewbank of Baltimore, who is in the No. 3 spot.
Baltimore needs experienced players, Strader needs a higher place on some of the early draft rounds so he can get the new muscles on his new team. He and his staff edge in on Ewbank in the booth. Their talk is soft, their eyes flicker at the other coaching staffs in the dining room.
In the next booth two men make a phone call. In the 49ers' booth Red Hickey jerks and exclaims angrily. Told he's spy-happy, he bursts out: "Listen, I've been a coach too many years. I don't even trust my wife." The banality raises a laugh.
Before 9 a.m. the twitchy breakfast ends. Two assistants go to get the files. Strader looks at the tiles as he moves among the lobby couches, waiting for a phone call from Stydahar.
"How do I feel?" Strader answers. "I got a game edge." His voice and face are deep-lined. He walks over to the elevators and spits drily in the sand vase. "I've been through these before, you know." He wastes another trip to the sand vase. He cannot spit.
By 10 a.m. the green covers of the 12 tables have disappeared under binders, card files, portfolios, briefcases, scratch pads and the elbows of the club owners and their coaching staffs.