Pacific Stars And Stripes Newspaper Archives Sep 6 1983, Page 27

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Pacific Stars And Stripes (Newspaper) - September 6, 1983, Tokyo, JapanTuesday september 6, 1983 Pacific stars and stripes sports 27 reality catches up with the nil by Bruce Lowitt associated press the National football league is Back but it May never be the same. Barely a year ago it was quite above the trials and scandals of other pro sports. Baseball had it strikes basketball its drug scandals. Sports analysis but the nil was armed with a $2.1 billion television contract the richest in sports history. It was the Only game in town. It was coming off its first Snowbell super bowl. The league still refer red to one of its teams As the Oakland raiders. It could even shrug off for a while anyway a sports illustrated cover Story claiming widespread drug use in the nil. But reality caught up with the league. It experienced its first in season strike a costly and acrimonious nine week affair. It acknowledged that drug use was far More widespread than it first believed or at least admitted. The raiders moved to los Angeles and in every courtroom beat Back the nil s attempts to Force the team s return to Oakland. In so doing raiders Boss Al Davis May have restructured the future face of sports. The United states football league embodying the idea of Spring and summer football was born. It grabbed away a few nil players some immediately others for the future plus the nation s top collegian undergraduate Herschel Walker. And now a new nil season begins but no on seems certain How it will end. We won t be Able to Tell until the end of the year what the effects of the past year might be said commissioner Pete Rozelle who pointed out that the league had had experiences in the past but not All at once. We be had varying degrees of problems since i be been commissioner 24 years he said. We had briefer strikes in the mid-70s, antitrust suits another football league operating along with occasional reports of drug use. It s important he said to have Public Confidence to maintain our integrity and we do strive to have a Good image. We try to do what we be always intended to do to provide an attractive form of entertainment to the the attendance or ratings Are Down this year Well have to try and figure out whether it because of the strike or the drugs or the new league or s not All that has changed the Washington redskins Are lying in wait for Dallas As usual but it is the skins not the cowboys who begin the season As the defending super bowl champions. Tom Landry Don Shula Bud Grant and Chuck Noll Are still around As it seems they be always been. Yet those four coaches go relatively unnoticed compared with the new faces or the old faces in new places Dan Henning in Atlanta Kay Stephenson in Buffalo John Mackovic in Kansas City John Robinson with the los Angeles rams Joe Walton with the new York jets Bill Parcells with the new York giants Marion Campbell in Philadelphia Chuck Knox in Seattle. New stars Are taking the place of old although no Rookie quarterback since Joe Namath or Terry Bradshaw has received As much National attention or faced As much pressure to produce As John Elway of Denver. Elway will be taking the first snap of the season for the Broncos named their starting quarterback a than a week ago by coach Dan Reeves. Bradshaw on the other hand won t play for at least four weeks idled by Elbow surgery. Like Elway Bradshaw was an instant starter counted on to be a veritable Saviour when he joined the Steeles in 1970. He was a loser in that first game 19-7 to Houston and in seven of the other 13 in which he played that year. It took two More seasons before the Steeles made the playoffs and two More before they won the first of their record four super bowls and it took a lot More than just Bradshaw s passing and Franco Harris s running to get them. The Steeles of the 70s also had Joe Greene Jack Lambert Jack Ham Mel Blount Mike Wagner Rocky Bleier Jon Kolb and Lynn Swann. Most of them Are gone and the Steeles Are trying to rebuild with Veteran but Little used Cliff Stoudt at quarterback youngsters Gabe Rivera and Keith Gary on defense and a wave of people As nameless As Greene was when he arrived As Noll s first draft Choice Ever in 1969. The cowboys the nil s other Scourge of the 70s with two super bowl victories in a record five appearances Are out to add to their nil record 17 consecutive winning seasons and to break their string of three successive conference Champion ship games without a Victory. And they re attempt ing to do so after a turbulent summer in which the Sheen on their Silver Star was dulled by a Cloud of cocaine investigations in which several player were linked but not charged. In a draft tagged the year of the Quarter Back six were picked in the first round Elway by Baltimore he was traded to Denver when the Colts became convinced he would never play for the Todd Blackledge by Kansas City Tony Eason by new England Dan Marino by Miami Ken o Brien by the new York jets and Jim Kelly by Buffalo which lost him to the Usel. Black Rozelle need Public Confidence ledge Eason and Marino Are Given a Good Chance of becoming starters before this season is Over. Bradshaw in t the Only Star idled for at least four games. So Are guard Doug Wilkerson of san Diego and safety Carlton Williamson of san Francisco among others. And so Are fullback Pete Johnson and defensive end Ross Browner of Cincinnati linebacker . Junior of St. Louis and defensive Back Greg Stemrick of new Orleans but for far different reasons. They were benched by Rozelle for the first Quarter of the season and docked their salaries for that period for their involvement in drugs. And in Washington the redskins will spend1983 without their All pro safety Tony Peters facing trial on charges he took part in a cocaine Sale. W. As Rozelle says the nil has gone through Italy before drugs lawsuits rival leagues. But for the first time in two years it can look Forward to 16uninterrupted weeks. And regardless of what else might happen beyond the stadium that s enough to satisfy most fans. The fans who professed disenchantment Las year during and after the strike Are generally Back in Force. In most cities season ticket sales a least equal to last year s. Where sales Are Down Atlanta new England and Philadelphia Amon them team officials blame the drop off on poor seasons in 1982, coaching changes or the Economys Well As the aftertaste of the strike. Marine hostage in Iran now a linebacker Gainesville Fla. A though he s never played football Gator hopeful Steve Kirtley has seen plenty of action elsewhere. He was at the . Embassy in Tehran when iranian revolutionaries overwhelmed it taking Kirtley and 51 other americans hostage. They blindfolded us tied us up and put us in a room said the 6-foot 4, 208-Pound Marine. From novem Ber to december no one was allowed to Kirtley 24, who admits he had never put on a pads and a helmet in his life is now the newest oldest and least experienced player on the University of Florida football team. The uniform was t really hard to put on but once i was on the Field it was a different Story Kirtley said thursday. Everybody has got at least four years experience on Dwight Adams the gators Assis Tant football coach had vowed he would t accept any More walk on players. Three weeks ago he started the season with 68 of them and 54 remained. But then Kirtley walked into his office wednesday and was such a courteous Young looking at the application papers Adams discovered that Kirtley was a Marine like he once was. And both men come from Little Rock Ark. Who was your High school coach asked Adams. I be never put on pads and a helmet sir Kirtley said. I dropped out of High school in 1977 and finished High school in the marines. But i be always wanted to play foot then the coach found out Kirtley had been held captive in Iran from november 1979 to january 1981. Congratulations said Adams. You re a hero to he said later that my Goose bumps popped out while talking to Kirtley is a Drill sergeant who is majoring in aerospace engineering and plans a career in the marines. He said he played in the band rather than on the football team in High school because my parents did t want me to play football. I was a Little shrimp. I dropped out of High school because my grades were so bad and i spent so much time in the principal s office they thought i had the in the Marine corps Kirtley was sent to Iran to be an embassy guard three months before the hostage crisis. For his efforts during the crisis he received a state depart ment award of valor signed by former . Secretary of state Alex Ander Haig. He was also awarded a defense meritorious medal for Stop Ping a fellow hostage from trying to commit suicide. Was asleep during the takeover of the embassy because i had been on watch the night before Kirtley said. I was t mistreated but for 14v2 months i was locked up and got outside an average of once a month for an he said the coaches at Florida More or less had me stand and watch during his first practice ses Sion. They showed me certain Basic blocks and How to read certain plays Kirtley said. They put me in for a few plays at linebacker when the Ball was t coming my Way and i took a few coach Charley Pell said it s going to take a lot of patience on the part of the coaches. Hell probably spend the balance of the season learning the game. He won t dress for saturday night s opening game against Miami because we Don t have anyone who just joined dress coach Charley Pell is big on walk on As Long As they pass the physical and Are eligible to compete and follow the rules As the others said Assis Tant athletic director Norm Carlson. If he starts skipping meetings he s out. But Charley does t scratch anyone off the team for Lack of Kirtley said the Federal hostage Relief act similar to the i Bill is paying for his education and he s still drawing full pay from the Marine corps. He s also in a Reserve unit at Jacksonville

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