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Just another Pleasant Valley Sunday in the NFL. In Indianapolis, Colt defensive tackle Steve Emtman tore two ligaments and a tendon in his right knee. In Philadelphia, Bear wideout Wendell Davis snapped the patellar tendon in both of his knees, and Eagle linebacker Ken Rose broke his leg. In Cleveland, Dolphin linebacker John Offerdahl (surprise!) separated his right shoulder. In Phoenix, Patriot quarterback Drew Bledsoe sprained his left knee.
But on the list of the day's carnage, one name in particular leaped out: Dan Marino. The man who had started 145 games in a row at quarterback for the Dolphins—every game since Sept. 2, 1984—tore his right Achilles tendon in Miami's 24-14 win over the Browns.
On Sunday night defensive end Bruce Smith and linebacker Darryl Talley of the Bills sat in their Buffalo hotel awaiting their Monday-night meeting with Houston, and they talked about the fall of Marino in stunned and even mournful terms. Smith and Talley have been chasing quarterbacks together for nine years, and they have terrorized Marino in 17 games during that span.
"The Lord has blessed him to keep him healthy at that position," Smith said. "But he's strong and he has such a quick release, and he doesn't get hit as much as other quarterbacks. That's helped him. Even though it helps our situation because he won't be there, this cuts deep. I want to see Dan Marino out there."
"It's a shock," Marino said after the game. "I line up every week and play and nothing happens to me." The prognosis, coach Don Shula said on Monday, is for Marino to miss the rest of the season but to make a full recovery and continue his career next September, at age 33.
Let's hope so.
THE LAST ROUNDUP?
Off came the black ten-gallon hat and the sunglasses that hide the bloodshot blue eyes. Atlanta coach Jerry Glanville is not one for introspection, but he was in a reflective mood last Thursday as he discussed his future in light of the Falcons' 0-5 start. What would he do, he was asked, if he got fired? Where would he be without coaching?