Even in what looks like an historically great class of running back prospects, LSU's Leonard Fournette comes out on top. The depth of quality options, though, makes it clear: 2017 is a great year to draft a runner.
13 Mar 2017
compiled by Jeremy Snyder
"Now I have been asked everything. Someone asked me: 'How long have you been a black quarterback?'"
-- Then-Buccaneers quarterback Doug Williams, speaking during the 1978 preseason. The same question was asked again on Super Bowl Media Day.
"I applaud him for his honesty about being a racist."
-- NAACP representative Willis Edwards, reflecting on incendiary remarks on black athletes made by longtime NFL Today fixture Jimmy (the Greek) Snyder. CBS fired the Greek the next day.
Q: "If you were an animal, which animal would you be?"
A [paraphrased]: "An ostrich, because of its size and speed."
Q: "But an ostrich has no arms."
A: "Is this a trick question?"
-- Media Day exchange between reporter and Broncos wide receiver Vance Johnson.
"It is strange, I'll grant you that... We don't have anything to do with Chip right now. If it's his furniture, we don't know why it's there. We don't know where Chip Banks is. We've had no contact with him prior to the draft."
-- Browns vice president Kevin Byrne, reached for comment after linebacker Chip Banks' sofa, lamp, and dresser were found in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Banks had been traded to the Chargers the week before.
"I got caught doing some guys a favor."
-- Banks, claiming two months later that he had sold the furniture to some men outside a Salvation Army branch.
"Quarterback Steve Young reportedly had a poor minicamp for the San Francisco 49ers. Young, acquired in an off-season deal from Tampa Bay, did not show good arm strength and was having trouble hitting the intermediate pass routes."
-- Note from Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Bill Ordine's June 14 around-the-league column.
"Twenty-four hours of continuous sports talk shows would be like incurable diarrhea."
-- John Chanin, vice president of operations for WFAN (New York), which launched July 1 as the first all-sports radio station in the country.
"I ain't doing a damn thing, and I don't start until noon."
-- Former Oilers and Saints coach Bum Phillips, enjoying the retired life.
"I'm thinking about picking up a new hobby instead of just hunting and fishing. Let's just leave it at that."
-- Kansas City Royals outfielder Bo Jackson, hinting at his offseason plans. Jackson signed with the Raiders four days later.
"If this happens when we lose, what happens when we win?"
-- Unidentified Vikings assistant coach, reacting to the hiring of a stripper for a team meeting after the preseason opener.
"Evidently, I had gone out there wanting to party."
-- Rams running back Charles White, arrested in August on drug charges while wandering around an Orange County shopping center carrying a trash can lid. White returned to the Rams after agreeing to daily drug tests and wound up leading the league in rushing.
"It was an explicit letter that spelled out exactly what Becker would do for any players who might be interested. It even set fees."
-- New York State Police spokesman Sgt. Patrick O'Reilly, announcing the arrest of a Buffalo-area man who sent a letter to the Bills offering to perform sexual favors in exchange for season tickets.
"I didn't take one shower at the stadium last year. I stink, but I towel off, put my clothes on and go home and shower Whoever told the [New York Daily News] the water's yellow and green sometimes wasn't bullbleeping, man. Most of the time, it's fine, don't get me wrong. But once in a while … you wouldn't believe it. And the stink will knock you out."
-- Unidentified New York Giants player, detailing the water in the locker room. Four different Giants had been diagnosed with cancer since 1980, prompting an environmental study of the Meadowlands sports complex.
"I couldn't believe it was the general manager of the Houston Oilers. He came in and mooned the reception twice after complaining about loud music from the band. After a band member made a wisecrack about the Oilers, I saw arms swinging, my brother on the floor…"
-- New bride Alison Stewart, whose wedding reception took place in the Oilers' Buffalo hotel.
"I was concerned about our coaches and players getting a good night's sleep."
-- Oilers general manager Ladd Herzeg, released from police custody on $100 bond.
"We had it with 54 seconds with a first down. Our calculations showed … we'd be able to run out the clock. It all came down to a two-second miscount."
-- Bengals coach Sam Wyche, who tried to protect a late 26-20 lead with four straight runs. The 49ers, taking over on the Cincinnati 25 with two seconds to go, won 27-26 on a Joe Montana-to-Jerry Rice touchdown pass.
"It is unusual for football players to defy authority. Their environment is paramilitary, well ordered and authoritarian. It is distinctly two-dimensional, with the coach at the top and the players at the bottom. Youngsters who aspire to careers in the sport are taught the rigid organizational structure and the need for discipline from Pop Warner kid leagues through high school and college.
"Members of other unions that strike can afford to take a longer view. They have more time to recoup the losses. But football players, with the shortest career expectancy of any professional athletes, are reluctant to strike because they have more to lose and less time to make it up. They also feel less compunction about breaking a strike before returning to work, since they can be replaced by other players who are willing to work."
-- California State University business professor Paul D. Staudohar, excerpted from his 1986 book The Sports Industry and Collective Bargaining.
"My record shows that I believe in paying people what they are worth, but there are times you get into situations that you pay people more than they are worth. I think there should be a pay scale for the people you draft.
"They [should] get paid bonus and salary depending on what round they are drafted in, where they are drafted within that round and how long they want to sign the contract for. The longer they sign for, the more they can get in bonus money."
-- Los Angeles Raiders owner Al Davis. Five of the top six highest-paid players as of August 1987 were in their first NFL contracts.
"We know that the owners are really looking for [the rookie pay scale]. And they know we are really looking for something in free agency. We both have something each other wants, and I hope these issues can help get a new deal so that we don't strike."
-- NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw.
"We've been watching Brian's performance very closely since training camp started and in the three preseason games, and we just haven't been satisfied with the way he's been playing."
-- Patriots player development director Dick Steinberg, explaining the trade of three-time Pro Bowl left tackle Brian Holloway to the Raiders for a fifth-round pick.
"You don't have to see the wind to tell it's blowing."
-- Holloway, an NFLPA vice-president, who had appeared on Monday Night Football the night before the trade to explain the union's argument.
"There is no way we could [give the players what they're asking for], even if we wanted to. The money from TV went flat. There are no increases. Yet they are asking each club to come up with $10 million per year more. Where do they get that revenue when their major source of revenue, television, remains the same?"
-- NFL Management Council executive director/lead negotiator Jack Donlan on Wednesday, September 16, six days before the proposed strike date.
"If management refuses to bargain with us, we have nothing but a strike on our hands. They left the table, not us. They were the ones who ran away."
-- Gene Upshaw.
"In a cold place, they could put on stuff. In a hot room, they'd settle this thing in an hour."
-- John Madden, whose plan to end the strike involved sending Upshaw and Donlan to Florida and then turning off the air conditioning.
"If Richard Burton got sick the night before [playing] Macbeth in New York he wouldn't be worried if Pee Wee Herman replaced him for the day."
-- Chargers linebacker Billy Ray Smith, on the prospect of NFL teams using replacement players while the regulars were out on strike.
"Games played [during a strike] will count toward the Super Bowl."
-- NFL owners' statement, Saturday, September 19, three days before the strike deadline.
"I'm glad it's over. I didn't want to miss any more games, and definitely not sit out the rest of the season. I love the game a great deal, and that's one of the reasons I signed -- I missed it."
-- Holdout wide receiver Charlie Brown, who signed a new contract with the Falcons on September 21. The players went on strike the next day.
"The 14 National Football League games scheduled for Sunday and Monday September 27 and 28 will not be played because of the players strike."
-- NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle's statement on September 23, after negotiations failed.
"I don't miss any football, I don't care who it is."
-- Green Bay resident Scott Cordova, who planned to watch the broadcast rerun of Super Bowl XXI that aired in place of the cancelled Week 3 games.
"It's the games that bring my Sunday clientele in."
-- Green Bay tavern manager Bob Conrad, who scheduled an "unanticipated day off."
"Imagine I'll get something constructive done today instead of sitting in front of the tube."
-- Green Bay resident David Ysebaert.
"I'm going up in the woods to cry because the Packers aren't playing."
-- Season ticket holder John P. Brown.
"I think it's great! I love it … I hope it lasts for another two months. On Sundays my husband is glued to the set and I hope to get him out of his chair…."
-- Kewaunee, Wisconsin, resident Sherry Berner.
"I played golf this morning and Pac-Man this afternoon. I raised my Pac-Man score to a new high. I got to the strawberry level."
-- NFL Films president Steve Sabol, detailing his Week 3 Sunday.
"It's like an all-star game without all-stars. Nothing too complex. It's not like you hand them a playbook and get to work. You start with basics -- who blocks who, who runs where. It's not fun."
-- Rams coach John Robinson, who had ten days to prepare his replacement players for Week 4.
"We had a couple of guys intercepted. We had some with prepaid tickets, and we'd get a call that they missed their flights. Their tickets were still there. We'd find out he was in somebody else's camp."
-- Saints Director of Player Personnel Bill Kuharich, on the mad scramble for replacements.
"He's young, intelligent, and in good shape. He can throw the ball as well as anybody who's not a quarterback in the NFL."
-- Vikings general manager Mike Lynn, considering making 36-year-old defensive backs coach Pete Carroll the team's replacement quarterback. The Vikings, the last team to put a replacement roster together, held an open tryout in Memphis during the first weekend of the strike.
"Hey, I'm a scab. Call me whatever you want to call me. People call me baldy. It doesn't bother me. I know who I am."
-- 49ers scab Michael Durrette.
"As soon as this guy stepped on the football field and had to function as an athlete, we knew something was wrong. So we started checking."
-- Giants general manager George Young, on a replacement player who claimed to be former University of Texas defensive back Eric Jeffries. The real Jeffries had signed with the Redskins.
"I don't know anything about it. Yeah, we'd take him back."
-- Winnipeg Blue Bombers general manager Cal Murphy, on former practice squad member Mike Hameluck. The Ottawa-born lineman spent nine days on Buffalo's replacement roster before the Bills were alerted to federal labor laws preventing non-U.S. citizens working as strikebreakers during a federally sanctioned strike.
"LOS ANGELES RAMS -- Signed kicker Don Shafer, quarterback Robert Franco, wide receivers Bernard Henry, Ricky Martin, Steve Marks, Brian Coushay, Samuel Johnson and Stacey Mobley, running backs Alonzo Williams, Dwaine Wilson, Jon Francis and William Stone, safeties Reggie Richardson, Ed Dickson, center Tom Taylor, defensive linemen Tom Hensley, Marion Knight and Jim Crane, linebackers Jim Kalafat, Dan Clark, Neil Hope, Gregory Sims and Cary Whittingham, cornerbacks Holbert Johnson and Kirby Jackson and tight ends Dan Noble and Malcom Moore."
-- Transaction log from September 24.
"Oh yeah, let's invite the Mule. We'll have some fun."
-- Buddy Ryan, approving the signing of kicker/defensive lineman Gary (The Kicking Mule) Bolden, who had been cut in training camp the year before.
"I think the strike stinks because the Jets are doing good. The other thing it means is that I can't take part in any football pools at work and win money. Last week, someone beat me out by just one game. I had 10 winners and they had 11."
-- New Jersey accountant Karen Ferriero. The Jets were 2-0 before the strike.
"I've never seen it rain eggs before."
-- Picketing Jets tight end Mickey Shuler, part of a group bombarding vehicles ferrying Jets replacement players to practice.
"It was ridiculous, worse than any Halloween I've ever seen, and I grew up in New York."
-- Jets replacement defensive end Tony Garbaczyk, riding in one of the vans.
"This was Billy's idea. He wanted us to fire off a couple of shots too, but we didn't think that would be such a good idea."
-- Chiefs tight end Paul Coffman, who brandished an unloaded shotgun from the back of teammate Bill Maas's pickup truck during picket duty in the Arrowhead parking lot.
"We thought it would be a nice, light-hearted way to start the day."
-- Chiefs linebacker Dino Hackett, standing with Coffman.
"Hey, where do you sign up if you want to play?"
-- Potential Rams replacement Kevin Wilson to picketing veterans. He was immediately pelted with eggs.
"We are the official Washington Redskins. We represent the entire state of Washington."
-- Redskins replacement defensive back Charles Jackson.
"[Los Angeles is] where I grew up. There's going to be a lot of my relatives there. I'll be pumped. I can't wait to play in Anaheim Stadium."
-- Chargers replacement wide receiver Al Williams, before a game at the Raiders.
"When I crossed the picket line with my brother standing there, it was like hitting him in the back. I really respect him. I respected him through high school, college and now. Crossing that picket line was like backstabbing him."
-- Cardinals replacement player Peter Noga, who took over the No. 57 jersey normally worn by his older brother Niko.
"I haven't talked to him since he went in, and I don't see myself talking to him anytime soon, which is bad. I told my mother all I can do is pray on the situation, and that's what I'm doing."
-- Picketing Raiders linebacker Rod Martin, older brother of Rams replacement wide receiver Ricky.
"He's out there doing what he thinks is right, and I'm taking care of Ricky Martin."
-- Not this one.
"We're going to fine him for conduct detrimental to the team. We will deduct the cost from his paycheck. It's on tape, clear as a bell. We can do it, even if he's on strike."
-- Bengals assistant general manager Mike Brown, fining center Dave Rimington for keying replacement players' cars.
"No comment. I have to talk to Perry Mason first."
"[One] player threw [Murray] to the floor and pinned him there, spread his legs apart like a wishbone and threatened to break his legs if he didn't change his mind about playing."
-- Unidentified league official, reporting threats to Colts wide receiver Walter Murray. Murray went on strike with the regulars, crossed the picket line the following Monday, went back on strike Wednesday (when the alleged incident occurred), and recrossed the line Friday.
"St. Louis is the jellyfish capital of the NFL."
-- Cardinals fullback Ron Wolfley, after 18 regulars had crossed the picket line.
"Well, No. 80 [Delaware's Rich Bodmer, a tight end] said that he had 30 people coming, so that weighs heavily on who we keep for the game."
-- Buddy Ryan, choosing his roster for the Week 4 matchup against the Bears. The game drew a league-low 4,074 fans, with more than 50,000 returning their tickets for refunds. Bodmer was inactive.
"I approach it as a mystery package under the Christmas tree. On Sunday, we open the package and find out if we get the Shetland pony or just another crummy tie."
-- NBC broadcaster Charlie Jones, on the first week of replacement games.
"Raymond Berry has no idea what the New England Patriots are going to do and Marty Schottenheimer has no idea what the Cleveland Browns are going to do. It's like a lab experiment. Let's just hope there's no explosion."
-- NBC's Bob Trumpy.
"Key matchups: Receivers vs. cornerbacks. These matchups among unknowns likely will decide the outcome. None of the receivers or defenders on either side has much experience."
-- Philadelphia Daily News preview box for Bears-Eagles.
"It'll be a gamble in the true sense of the word."
-- Las Vegas Hilton sportsbook manager Al Manteris, trying to set spreads for the first week of strike games. Approximately 90 percent of Nevada sportsbooks wound up losing money in Week 4 due to bad early lines.
"If there's a line, the phones will ring. There are just a lot of people who will bet on pro football no matter who is playing. After a couple of weeks of no games, they'll bet on anything."
-- Philadelphia bookmaker "Tom."
"This is not a nightmare. When [the police] are banging in your door, that's a nightmare."
-- Unidentified Philly bookmaker.
"Ron Meyer should be experienced at rounding up players on short notice and paying them. He coached at SMU."
-- ESPN's Pete Axthelm, picking the Colts to win their Week 4 game against the Bills. SMU football had just been given the NCAA "death penalty" for repeated recruiting violations.
"As soon as we find the keys to the RV, we're leaving."
-- Buffalo fan Len Stubbe, one of 9,860 at Rich Stadium to see the Colts win 47-6.
-- One of many confrontations outside Veterans Stadium before the Bears-Eagles game.
-- Veterans Stadium, Week 4.
-- Texas Stadium, Week 5.
"It wasn't an even deal. The teams in California, Texas, and Florida had the advantage. There are a lot of good football-playing schools out there. We contacted many of the same players that played for them. We called and said we wanted them. Many were called, but few came."
-- Giants general manager George Young, whose Super Bowl-defending team went 0-3 in strike games, essentially ending its season at 0-5 overall.
"This is war. This is competition. I'm not going to feel sorry for the Giants. I am not going to feel sorry for anybody. We are all big boys."
-- Cowboys president Tex Schramm, whose replacement roster was stocked with 13 picket-crossing regulars, plus 23 others who had been on the Cowboys' massive 140-man training camp roster.
"We were going to chug a beer every time Mark [Gastineau] got a sack. But by the end of the first quarter, we were getting thirsty, so we decided that we'd chug a beer every time Mark made a tackle. And by the end of the first half, we were really thirsty. So then we decided to chug a beer every time Mark lined up."
-- Jets tight end Rocky Klever, watching Jets-Cowboys with teammates in a Manhattan bar. The strikebreaking Gastineau finished with two tackles, one assist, and zero sacks.
"We seem to feel, in light of everything that's happened, all the circumstances surrounding this thing, for us to stay on strike with players crossing here and there every week just weakens our leverage and position. The owners are bleeding drops, while the players are bleeding quarts."
-- Eagles player representative John Spagnola, explaining before Week 6 why the regulars would be returning to work in Week 7.
"Bad news, dude. It fell 95 today."
-- Colts replacement quarterback/stockbrocker Terry Nugent to fellow replacement quarterback/stockbrocker Blair Kiel in the locker room on October 14, when the Dow Jones set a single-day record for a single day's point drop. Five days later, it fell 508.
"He got in my way, so I just hugged him. He said, 'Good job.'"
-- Dolphins replacement quarterback Kyle Mackey, who embraced referee Dick Jorgensen after throwing the tying touchdown against the Jets in Week 6.
"They kept throwing that out to [Mervyn] Fernandez all night; I was giving it to him. Late it the game, I told my teammates, 'I'm going to make something happen, I'm going to make the play.'"
-- Chargers cornerback Elvis "Toast" Patterson, whose late-game pick-six against the Raiders gave the replacement Chargers a perfect 3-0 record. Patterson had been cut by the Giants after a poor performance in the season opener.
"I was glad we could give them a win, but I know we're not welcome, so I'm going back to Lexington, open our gifts and see how much money we got, and then go on a honeymoon."
-- Falcons replacement defensive end Buddy Moor, who had gotten married in Kentucky the night before the last replacement game. Moor, with two sacks in the home win over the Rams and four total in replacement games, finished as the leading sacker on the 1987 Falcons.
"It was worth it to me for the games. I could have tripled what I made fishing. But it's the game. I think that's why the players came back. It's the game. It's not the money, it's the game."
-- Bucs replacement defensive back/commercial fisherman Marcus Quinn.
"We're like bees. We work, work, work, and when they don't need you anymore, they throw you out of the hive."
-- Eagles replacement center Paul Ryczek, who hadn't played an NFL game since 1981, and never would again.
"I felt by halftime we had already played a full game. Physically, I felt like myself. I don't think the layoff hurt me."
-- Seahawks wide receiver Steve Largent, who crossed the picket line days before the Week 6 game against the Lions. Largent, who left the game with the Seahawks up 37-7 early in the third quarter, set still-standing team records for single-game catches (15) and receiving yards (261).
"I think you've just seen an example of an All-Pro football player versus the players who are in the league currently."
-- Lions coach Darryl Rogers on Largent's performance.
"If I can just get my foot in the door, I'm sure I can pull the rest of me through."
-- Redskins replacement Tony Robinson, who came off the bench to quarterback a Monday Night Football win over the Cowboys in the final strike game. Robinson had gone undrafted out of Tennessee in 1986 after being jailed on drug distribution charges.
"The league has always taken great pride in assuring the public that the best teams end up in the playoffs. Given the historical data and the fact that it is in everyone's desire to have the best teams in the playoffs, it would make sense to us to either have an expanded wild-card playoff weekend or a split season."
-- Vikings general manager Mike Lynn, whose team went 0-3 in replacement games. Minnesota recovered from its 2-3 start to make the NFC playoffs as an 8-7 wild card.
"Hell, if we all believed in the same thing, Bork would have a job."
-- Rams guard Dennis Harrah, explaining why there wouldn't be conflict between the returning Rams and the many veterans who had crossed the picket line. Robert Bork's nomination to the Supreme Court had been rejected by the Senate the day before.
"This is America and I exercise my veto power."
-- Mike Ditka, rejecting a 44-1 veteran vote against keeping five replacement players on the roster.
"We found out it doesn't matter what we say; if we win we win for ourselves. I thought everything we did was as a family. The family got vetoed this week."
-- Bears wide receiver Dennis McKinnon.
"My goal is to be winning 40-0 with three seconds left and to run a touchdown off a fake field goal."
-- Buddy Ryan, two days before a rematch with the Cowboys, who had angered him by using regulars in the second half of a replacement game. Ryan was forced to settle for a 30-20 lead, a fake kneeldown/deep pass with 11 seconds left, and a 1-yard touchdown run on the last play.
"Of course we were thinking about the point spread. We needed to score that touchdown. It's something we pay attention to. You've got to play football at Oklahoma to understand it. It's something that when you first come here is inbred in you. You've got to beat the spread."
-- University of Oklahoma defensive end Darrell Reed, whose team covered as a 54.5-point favorite at Kansas thanks to an interception return with a minute left.
"Every other word was, '(bleep) this, (bleep) that.' I thought that he showed absolutely no consideration for people sitting around him. I was offended by his cheering. I was certainly offended by his language."
-- Wisconsin State Journal reporter Tom Oates, who had the misfortune of sitting in front of Al Davis in the Lambeau Field press box during the Raiders-Packers game.
"I'm like the 25th-highest paid player in the league and I'm one of the top three players. That's doesn't make any sense. You all can say in the paper I'm crying, I complain. If you want to get rid of somebody who cries, get rid of me. That's my motto: Get rid of me.
"If I had a dog that I couldn't stand or bit me, I'd shoot him. I'd kill him. I'd just get rid of him. I mean it. Get rid of me. I'd gladly leave."
-- Rams running back Eric Dickerson, who got his wish a week later when he was traded to the Colts.
"I shot 77 and then 41. Of course I used a cart. I always use a cart before a game."
-- Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor, who played 27 holes before a Sunday night game against the Patriots. Taylor had two sacks and the game-clinching interception in a 17-10 victory.
"You're a playoff contender when you get to the playoffs. This team has never had a winning season, much less the playoffs."
-- Saints coach Jim Mora, whose Saints were 4-3 at the time. The Saints would win their next eight games.
"I didn't say they were lousy players. I said we were a lousy football team. I'm not saying anything now. I don't apologize for it."
-- William Clay Ford, owner of the 2-6 Lions, expounding on some comments he had made two weeks earlier.
"Mr. Davis says we have to change quarterbacks."
-- Raiders club official, calling quarterbacks coach Larry Kennan after Rusty Hilger threw his third interception against the Vikings.
"We just thought we needed a change."
-- Raiders coach Tom Flores, postgame.
"I just wanted to thank the Packers for calling a timeout -- it cleared my mind and I was able to set up well. I was able to chop up the turf and make a little mound for the hold."
-- Bears kicker Kevin Butler, who made a career-best 52-yarder as the clock expired to beat Green Bay.
"My wife was in Philadelphia, and I ran into problems. I called the Cowboys to tell them I would be late, but I couldn't find anyone to take care of my children."
-- Cowboys safety Victor Scott, explaining why he had missed a practice, refused a drug test, and been sent to rehab two weeks earlier.
"We don't have to worry about standings or statistics, these players have to worry about their careers. We will have to do it with what we've got or I'll just get something else."
-- Falcons coach Marion Campbell, after a 38-0 loss to the Saints.
"I didn't threaten them. I just told them it was their careers. To think about their careers and to take a long look at themselves as to the length of their stay here. For some of them, it won't be a long career."
-- Campbell, the next day.
"It'll be lawsuit 28b. I don't understand the discrimination against me. They're paying more attention to me than the football game."
-- Seahawks linebacker Brian Bosworth, who was forced to remove a "44 Blues" decal from the back of his uniform pants during the Seahawks-Packers game. Bosworth, who wore No. 44 at Oklahoma, was restricted by NFL rules to numbers in the 50s and 90s under the scheme then in place.
"I have a sense of excitement about where this team is headed. I know now we're in good physical condition and we won't fall apart and get blown out in the fourth quarter."
-- Buccaneers owner Hugh Culverhouse, interviewed at halftime of the Week 9 game against the Cardinals. Tampa Bay, leading 28-3 going into the fourth quarter, lost 31-28.
"It's like dancing with a girl. She's beautiful when you take her home, but then she puts her sweat gear on and washes her face and you say, 'Whoa, what's going on here? Which girl are you?'"
-- Chiefs coach Frank Gansz, whose 1-8 team had blown fourth-quarter leads in three consecutive games.
"The worst thing for an NFL player is to have to watch a game in the stands. It's the pits. Don't ever try it."
-- Rams cornerback LeRoy Irvin, returning from a once-indefinite team suspension for calling in sick to practice.
"I'm very disappointed. It doesn't seem like we've got anybody in charge that knows what they're doing, other than [general manager] Tex [Schramm].
"I think the aura of the Cowboys is dying. I'm talking about an aura where they were smart … and had a high caliber of individuals playing for them.
"At least, the Cowboys had that projection, but they've lost a lot of that image. You can build it back around a Herschel Walker and some bright young people, but it's not there now."
-- Cowboys owner Bum Bright.
"Some of the things we're doing are, frankly, mystifying. We're having a lot of wins and losses that are difficult to accept… We had an outstanding opportunity to get our team going with some momentum. It was a terrible failure."
-- Schramm, on his weekly radio show after a loss to the Lions.
"Maybe I should start listening to his program."
-- Cowboys coach Tom Landry, when asked about Schramm's comments.
"Yeah, that's it, I really got tired. I fell asleep and just couldn't get back with it."
-- Bears coach Mike Ditka, asked whether he had been drunk or tired during his appearance on Bears Extra.
"He's unhuman. It's hard to say if he's ever going to reach his peak. He hasn't reached it yet."
-- 49ers running back Roger Craig, who had just watched Jerry Rice catch three touchdowns for the second straight week.
"[I'm] tired of [Mark] Malone's passing."
-- Steelers fan Tony Morelli, who had just driven his car into a gated Three Rivers Stadium, parked his vehicle on the third level after crashing into vats of nacho cheese, and kicked imaginary field goals on the field before being arrested. Malone finished 1987 as the lowest-rated passer in the league.
"I think this year has been fantastic… maybe I shamed Bob into doing something good with the team."
-- Harriet Irsay, estranged wife of the Colts' owner. Their divorce was finalized in 1988.
"It's not much fun when no one cares. The baseball team can do no wrong. And it seems like we get dogged for anything we do. It seems like we're unwanted stepchildren."
-- St. Louis Cardinals guard Joe Bostic.
"[Neil Lomax] asked him if we were going to move. He said he couldn't say, but he said 'Don't buy a house.' We all laughed."
-- Cardinals wide receiver J.T. Smith, recounting a late-October team meeting between players and team owner Bill Bidwill.
"He said 'Mr. Bidwill will be shot at tomorrow's game.' I couldn't hear him too well, so I asked him to repeat what he said and he did, speaking louder. It caught me off guard. It was a little bizarre."
-- KSDK-TV editor David Lamb, relaying a caller's death threat made the next week.
"I have it on good authority that babies were still being born in Baltimore after the Colts pulled out."
-- St. Louis mayor Vincent C. Schoemehl, Jr.
"When the smoke clears, and the people in Phoenix get over the novelty of the NFL, then sooner or later, Bidwill will have to do business the way other teams do or he'll be right back in the situation he was in in St. Louis."
-- Cardinals unsigned 1987 first-rounder Kelly Stouffer, traded to the Seahawks just before the 1988 draft.
"I am in (financial) trouble today because of you, because of my loyalty to this league. I was asked to go to Los Angeles to testify against Al Davis. I spent seven weeks there. I was out there for the league.
"Because of it, Davis came back to (Boston) to testify against me. His testimony cost me the case. It cost me $7 million."
-- Patriots owner Billy Sullivan, pleading with league owners to help him meet payroll obligations. Though the NFL advanced him $2.5 million, the perpetually strapped Sullivan sold the team to Victor Kiam the following September.
-- The NBC broadcasting team, featuring a moonlighting sports psychologist, for the Thanksgiving matchup between the 1-9 Chiefs and 2-8 Lions.
"Your [expletive] guys coming over, jumping people like that, are going to get your ass in trouble. Just know that. I'm serious."
-- Steelers coach Chuck Noll to Oilers coach Jerry Glanville during the postgame handshake. The game, won by the Oilers 24-16, was marred by a third-quarter brawl.
"As I was escorting Coach Ditka from the playing field [at the end of the second quarter], he stopped and looked at the people sitting in the pullout seats. He then took a piece of gum from his mouth and threw it at victim-reportee Ornelas, striking her in the back of the head. Coach Ditka then flipped the bird with his left hand and exited the field."
-- Official report filed by San Francisco police officer George Pohley following the Bears' 41-0 loss to the 49ers.
-- Falcons fans, Week 13.
"We're not blitzing like we used to. We don't play zone very well. We've shown that the last few weeks. I don't know when [defensive coordinator] Vince Tobin is going to wake up and smell the coffee."
-- Bears wide receiver Dennis McKinnon, calling for a return to the Buddy Ryan system during a November luncheon speech.
"I think Dennis McKinnon has a big mouth, and the only thing worse than having a big mouth is when you don't have the facts to back up your mouthy statements.
"I've heard for two years now the comparisons between me and Buddy Ryan and I never responded to it publicly because there wasn't anything I could do about it. I read about what a defense they have and they're 22nd. They gave up 31 points to St. Louis in the first half last week."
-- Tobin, the next day.
"Some coaches get upset when you tell the truth. Same thing happened in college."
-- McKinnon, who didn't start as a senior at Florida State.
"In 1985, giving the defense a 14-point lead like we did today would have been likely giving candy to a baby. Not this time, though. We've changed a lot since 1985 and I'll keep bringing it up until we get to another Super Bowl."
-- McKinnon, after the Bears' 21-17 loss to the Redskins in the Divisional round. McKinnon somehow stayed with the Bears for two more years.
"I guess the fans just felt they could put in their two cents after paying $20 to sit in the rain and watch the Philadelphia Eagles kick our ass."
-- Jets tight end Rocky Klever, reacting to "Joe Must Go" chants from the Meadowlands crowd. 46,319 ticketholders no-showed for the game.
"I hope they all get pneumonia."
-- Jets defensive end Mark Gastineau.
"Well, there have been times where he was careless with the football this year."
-- Dolphins coach Don Shula, on running back Troy Stradford being named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year the day after the regular season ended.
"You have to understand that today is a day where I'm thinking negative. It's tough to get me to say anything positive about anybody or anything."
-- Shula, whose Dolphins finished 8-7 and missed the playoffs for a second straight season.
"It does seem stupid to throw a lateral pass in that situation. But that's Glanville for you."
-- Broncos nose tackle Greg Kragen, after a trick-play fumble at the Oilers' 4-yard line set the Broncos up for their first touchdown in the divisional round.
"Sometimes I wonder why they don't trade me. Look, every four times I catch the ball, I score. Obviously, somebody doesn't care."
-- Vikings wide receiver Anthony Carter, complaining about his lack of targets during the regular season.
"We've got other players here, too. If they don't cover [them], we throw [them] the ball."
-- Vikings offensive coordinator Bob Schnelker.
"Who dat goin' home for six months?"
-- Carter, who caught six passes for 79 yards and a touchdown and also returned a punt 84 yards for another touchdown in a 44-10 wild-card win over the Saints.
"When you get a chance to catch more than two or three passes, you can do a lot."
-- Carter, who caught 10 passes for a playoff-record 227 yards in an upset over the 49ers.
"I was open at the time… Unfortunately, the ball went to Nelson."
-- Carter, on his team's final play in the NFC Championship Game.
"It was really tough. That's probably the lowest point in my career."
-- Browns running back Earnest Byner, gaining redemption in the AFC divisional round after fumbling near the Colts' end zone in their Week 13 matchup.
"There is no consolation. There is only first place. One prize."
-- Browns coach Marty Schottenheimer, unwittingly plagiarizing Over the Top after a second straight heartbreaking loss in the AFC Championship Game.
"Just before we went out, coach Breaux, the running backs coach, came up to me and said they were going to let George [Rogers] be introduced, but that I was going to start. He didn't say why; maybe the coaches just wanted to let me relax until just before kickoff."
-- Redskins rookie running back Timmy Smith, who ran for a Super Bowl-record 204 yards, 78 more than he had in the entire regular season.
"No one will remember how we won when you get to the playoffs. They'll just remember that you won. Sure there were a lot of ifs, but if Reagan pushes the button, it's a different day, too."
-- Chargers tight end Kellen Winslow, whose team was an Earl Ferrell dropped pass away from blowing a 28-0 halftime lead to the Cardinals in Week 2. The Chargers, who started the season 8-1, lost their final six games and missed the playoffs.
19 comments, Last at 28 Mar 2017, 8:22pm by LionInAZ