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Morning Briefing

On One Sunday, Berry Had Little Respect for Shula

January 12, 1986

When New England Coach Raymond Berry came out of SMU and reported to Baltimore in 1955, Miami Coach Don Shula was a veteran defensive back for the Colts.

"He was the most respected player on the team," Berry told Terry Price of the Hartford Courant. "He was the captain of the defense and he knew more than those 11 guys put together."

Berry said Shula took a liking to him, and for that he has been forever grateful.

"The first two years in pro ball were the hardest of my life," Berry said. "I was on the ragged edge of getting my neck chopped off. At a time like that, it sure helped to have a veteran player help you out. Don gave me a lot of tips on how to be a receiver. He is a class person, and I'll never forget what he did for me."

They were teammates for two years, until Shula was cut by the Colts and picked up by the Washington Redskins.

On Nov. 10, 1957, the Colts played the Redskins, and Shula was assigned to cover Berry. Berry caught 12 passes for 224 yards to set a club record.

The record still stands.

Add Berry: After retiring from the Colts, he joined the staff of the Dallas Cowboys, and Frank Luksa of the Dallas Times Herald recalled a day he was working with the receivers at Thousand Oaks.

"Ever the technician, he demonstrated by live performance," Luksa said. "He ran the routes, although to growing frustration. Something was wrong.

"Berry's innate sense of timing, of space and distance, finally calculated the problem. 'This field is too narrow,' he announced.

"Someone measured and, lo, Berry was right. The field had been improperly marked years ago."

Add Shula: He has been known to rant and rave at his players, but few can remember him throwing things.

One who does is Miami guard Roy Foster, who told Gary Pomerantz of the Washington Post, "He was throwing anything he could get his hands on at halftime once."

Foster confessed, however, that he didn't actually see it.


"I was hiding in the bathroom," he said.

Trivia Time: Ron Brown of the Rams shares in a record that Willie Gault of the Chicago Bears formerly shared in. What is it? (Answer below.)

Said Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan when asked about Ram quarterback Dieter Brock: "Everyone knocks him for throwing sidearm. Hell, Sammy Baugh threw sidearm, too."

Note: Baugh, as a rookie out of TCU, led the Washington Redskins to the NFL championship in 1937. In the title game, the Redskins beat the Bears, 28-21. The game was at Wrigley Field.

The Chicago White Sox are talking about moving catcher Carlton Fisk to the outfield, and he was asked if it would be a problem. Fisk: "The biggest thing I will have to do is stay awake."

Trivia Answer: The world record in the 400-meter relay. Brown was a member of the U.S. team that set the record of 37.83 seconds in the 1984 Olympic Games. Gault was on the U.S. team that set a record of 37.86 in the 1983 world championships at Helsinki. Both teams were anchored by Carl Lewis.


Houston Rockets Coach Bill Fitch, on the lack of communication with his players as a game was going down the drain: "I kept feeling like the Hindu snake charmer with a deaf cobra."

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