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Morning Briefing

McHale Gives Ex-Teammate Real Big Hand

September 14, 1986

Chris Engler, a 7-foot center recently acquired by the Milwaukee Bucks, played at the University of Minnesota before transferring to Wyoming and was a one-time roommate of Kevin McHale of the Boston Celtics.

Engler, who played last year for the New Jersey Nets, told The Sporting News: "The first time I got into a game against the Celtics, they were up by 20 points in the fourth quarter. Kevin and I were coming upcourt, and he whispered to me: 'When you get the ball, just move in close and shoot a jumper. I won't even block it. I want to make you look good.'

"I thought it was nice of him. So the first time I got the ball, I took my time and went up for my shot. Next thing I knew, Kevin was slapping the ball off my forehead.

"He smiled and said, 'Sorry, I lied.' "

For What It's Worth: If Washington Redskins quarterback Jay Schroeder had stayed at UCLA instead of signing with the Toronto Blue Jays, he would have been in the Class of '83, along with John Elway, Todd Blackledge, Jim Kelly, Tony Eason, Jim O'Brien and Dan Marino, all first-round choices.

All six started last week, and on the average, they completed 19 of 31 passes for 264 yards and 2 touchdowns. Schroeder completed 19 of 38 for 289 yards and 2 touchdowns. Among the seven, only 2 interceptions were thrown, one each by Blackledge and Schroeder. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay's Steve DeBerg was throwing 7 interceptions.

Trivia Time: Minnesota's Ray Miller was the fifth major league manager fired this season. Who were the other four? (Answer below.)

Running back Mike Waters of the Philadelphia Eagles is either the bravest rookie in the NFL or the dumbest. See what you think.

Of today's foe, the Chicago Bears, he said: "They cause fights. They don't want to get blocked. They're pansies.

"Player for player, Washington is better. Chicago has better linebackers, but their linebackers are babies. Once they get knocked on their butts a couple of times, it'll change their outlook on the game. And I'm sure I'll be one of the guys knocking them on their butts."

The Bears couldn't be bothered when told of Waters' remarks.

"Mike who?" asked Richard Dent.

John Robinson admits that Steve Bartkowski is short on mobility but says he isn't alone.

"If you put him with Dan Fouts and other quarterbacks in the league and had a race," the Ram coach said, "you could go out to lunch and come back to see the finish."

18 Years Ago Today: On Sept. 14, 1968, Denny McLain of the Detroit Tigers beat the Oakland A's, 5-4, to become the first pitcher since Dizzy Dean in 1934 to win 30 games. McLain would up with a 31-6 record.

Note: McLain, currently serving a term in prison for extortion, is 42 years old. That makes him one year younger than Tommy John and five years younger than Phil Niekro.

His team apparently is out of it, but New York Yankees Manager Lou Piniella says: "We've got to play well the rest of the year, and wherever we finish, we finish."

Yogi couldn't have said it better.

Trivia Answer: Jim Frey of the Chicago Cubs, Chuck Cottier of the Seattle Mariners, Jackie Moore of the Oakland A's and Tony LaRussa of the Chicago White Sox.

Quotebook

Chicago Bears center Jay Hilgenberg, owner of a race horse named Show Me Green, who hasn't been showing any: "Never again will I invest in anything that eats."

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