The Jets' Mark Gastineau (East Central of Oklahoma) and the Cardinals' Roy Green (Henderson State of Arkansas) are two of the National Football League's best examples of small-college players making good. So, who will be the sleepers of 1986?
According to an informal poll of NFL scouts, here are the non-Division I-A players who merit consideration in the upcoming draft:
Quarterbacks: Tom Ehrhardt, Rhode Island; Marty Horn, Lehigh; Willie Tot-ten, Mississippi Valley State.
Running backs: Joe Dudek, Plymouth State; Robert Thompson, Youngstown State.
Offensive line: Tom Newberry, Wisconsin-LaCrosse; Alvin Curtis, Sam Houston State; Greg Robinson and Mike Black, Sacramento State.
Wide receivers: Kelvin Edwards, Liberty; John Taylor, Delaware State.
Kick returner: Willie Ware, Mississippi Valley State.
Defensive line: Mike Wise, UC-Davis; Earl Conway, Mississippi College; Leonard Griffin, Grambling; Scott Kellar. Northern Illinois.
Linebackers: Wayne Dillard, Alcorn State; Doug Landry, Louisiana Tech.
Defensive back: Patrick Hunter, Nevada-Reno.
The real sleeper of the '86 draft? Well, it could very well be Darryl Perry, the littlest brother of the Bears' William (The Refrigerator) Perry. Darryl, a 6-foot, 217-pound linebacker at Gardner-Webb College, an NAIA school in Boiling Springs, N.C., was recently named the South Atlantic Conference defensive player of the year. That wasn't enough for the coaches, who decided to steal a page from Mike Ditka's playbook. Two weeks ago, playing tailback against Wofford (S.C.) College, Darryl broke a 19-yard run.
Jim Morrissey, a rookie linebacker with the Bears, has a clause in his contract calling for drug testing "to be administered solely at the club's discretion." According to Jerry Vainisi, the Bears' vice-president and general manager, "Morrissey's agent wanted the clause in there to show this kid was super clean. He wrote it. He wanted him to be beyond any doubt." However, Vainisi says the Bears have never tested Morrissey. Meanwhile, the National Football League Players Association is considering filing a grievance against the Bears as a protest against such clauses.
In Sunday's 26-7 win over Tampa Bay, Vikings coach Bud Grant started seven rookies, a personal record. Before that, the most he had ever started was three (Joe Kapp, Gene Washington and Alan Page in 1967). When asked why he had started the seven, Grant said, "It's hard to pick out our stars. It would have to be an awfully dark night to find them."
Is there life after the NFL? Definitely, says John Mecom Jr., who sold the Saints for $70 million last June after having owned them for 18 years. "You always hear how special it is to be 'one of 28 people who own NFL franchises,' " Mecom says. "Well, it isn't so special. I didn't fit in. Monetarily, I did. But it sure didn't buy me peace of mind. One day I looked around and the owners of the teams that were winning weren't any happier than I was. And I became very disillusioned.
"It was impossible to deal with the distractions—dissension among the owners, the players' problems both financially and with narcotics. I don't think players today identify with the sport. They identify with owners' checkbooks. They're not real people anymore.
"I've been at one game this season [a 21-13 loss to the Giants Oct. 27]. It was so nice afterward not to have to rationalize things and keep making excuses."
In a Sept. 13 drug raid at a warehouse just north of Miami, Florida law-enforcement officers seized, among other things, a 62-page list of radio transmission frequencies. The frequencies, compiled by a group of suspected drug smugglers, belonged to military aircraft, domestic law-enforcement agents, Air Force One and President Reagan's limousine. There were also the two dozen frequencies assigned to the Orange Bowl, including those of NFL officials for Dolphins games, Orange Bowl committee members, stadium security and the media.
And what do football transmission frequencies have in common with Air Force One and all those high-level governmental agencies?
Judy Fossett, a spokesman in Representative Glenn English's office, says, "We can't figure out why they had the frequencies belonging to NFL officials." English (D., Okla.) is the chairman of the Government Operations Subcommittee on Government Information, Justice and Agriculture. His office released the list.
Then Fossett added, "Drug smugglers fly the drugs in during the night. However, investigators on our subcommittee have been told by customs agents that the only time drugs are flown in during the day is when the Miami Dolphins are playing at home. They believe all the customs agents will be at the game."
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSE: Atlanta's Gerald Riggs, the NFL's rushing leader with 1,548 yards, had his biggest day of the season—26 carries for 197 yards and one touchdown—in a 38-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
DEFENSE: Bengal nosetackle Tim Krumrie had nine solo tackles and two assists, recovered one fumble and forced another (it led to a safety) as Cincinnati shocked the Dallas Cowboys with a 50-24 win.
When the Vikings, down 23-0, staged a 28-point fourth-quarter comeback victory against the Eagles Dec. 1, they went into the record books for making one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history. Here are the most remarkable rallies:
Trailed 7-35; won 38-35
Trailed 0-24; won 28-24
Trailed 0-24; won 31-24
Trailed 0-24; won 34-27
Trailed 0-24; won 28-27
Trailed 10-34; won 37-34
Trailed 0-24; won 30-27
Trailed 0-24; won 28-24
Trailed 14-37; won 49-40
Trailed 0-23; won 26-23
Trailed 0-23; won 35-23
Trailed 0-23; won 38-23
Trailed 0-23; won 28-23