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Raiders Have Their Eye on Oakland's Hebert as Team's Next Quarterback

April 02, 1985|BOB OATES | Times Staff Writer

Bobby Hebert of the Oakland Invaders, the United States Football League veteran who threw three touchdown passes against the Express here Sunday, has a chance to become the Raiders' next quarterback.

Club sources said Monday that they will start training camp with Jim Plunkett at quarterback but hope to sign Hebert when he becomes a free agent after the USFL championship game in July.

As the leader of the Michigan Panthers in 1983, Hebert, 6 feet 4 inches and 208 pounds, won the USFL's first championship with a long touchdown pass to wide receiver Anthony Carter, 24-22. Michigan merged with Oakland this year.

"We've been interested in Hebert since this first came up last year when they (Hebert and his agent) came to us," Raider Coach Tom Flores said. "He's a pocket passer with the size and strength you want at that position."

Said Hebert: "I've wanted to play for the Raiders all my life."

In Flores' preseason depth chart, Plunkett and Marc Wilson are listed 1-2.

Both Plunkett and Wilson were injured most of last season, and Plunkett is 38.

The Raiders are saying privately that they prefer Hebert to Bernie Kosar, the Miami junior who decided to make himself eligible for the NFL draft this month.

In a trade, Kosar would cost the Raiders some first-line personnel or draft choices or both. Hebert, who was exposed to the 1983 draft, wouldn't.

Hebert's agent, Greg Campbell of Madison, Wis., won't predict a Los Angeles future for his client.

"So many teams are after Bobby that it's hard to tell where he'll wind up," Campbell said. "But he's a Raider-type player--a win-win-win competitor and a perfectionist with a Raider's arm."

A native of Cut Off, La., and a product of Northwest Louisiana University, Hebert came up in 1983, the year of the quarterback. John Elway was chosen first that year, Dan Marino was sixth, and altogether six passers went in the first round of the NFL draft. Hebert might have made seven that April if he hadn't signed previously with the USFL. His advisers had bound him to a six-year contract with Michigan.

"When Bobby changed agents in his second (USFL) season, the first thing I had him do was hold out (on Michigan)," Campbell said. "I didn't want more money. I wanted them to cut his contract from six years to three."

In other words, Campbell wanted Hebert in the NFL.

"We held out until we got it," Campbell said.

"People think Bobby had an off year (in 1984) because his team did," Campbell added. "But that perception is wrong. Playing in pain, he had better numbers last year (3,700 yards, 28 touchdowns) than his first year (3,500 yards, 27 touchdowns)."

Asked how he and Hebert will decide on whether to play here or elsewhere, Campbell said: "Money."

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