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A Banner Day for Kansas City : Jackson Goes One (Yard) for Three (Carries), Hurts Ankle

December 14, 1987|RICH ROBERTS | Times Staff Writer

KANSAS CITY — The Chiefs got the most out of Bo Jackson Sunday.

His football career remains a fantasy around the Harry S. Truman Sports Complex, but his homecoming was enough to arouse the doormats of the AFC West to break a nine-game losing streak, 16-10, while his early exit took the Raiders' scoring punch with it.

It was a tossup who was more disappointed: The Raiders or the 63,834 fans who came to Arrowhead Stadium to pay their disrespects.

"I'm very disappointed," said Avron Fogelman, the Royals' owner who shares Jackson's talents with Al Davis. "I came here to see Bo play football."

Instead, Jackson sprained his right ankle on "the very first play of the game," Bo said.

He swept left for no gain that time, caught a four-yard pass from Marc Wilson on the next, went up the middle for two yards on the next series and then went to the dressing room with an armed escort to protect him from the unfriendly crowd.

He returned early in the second quarter to carry once more for a one-yard loss--net for the day: One yard on three attempts--and that was it.

"That indicates how vulnerable anybody playing football is," Fogelman said, making a point.

Jackson said: "I haven't been this disappointed since I tore my shoulder in my junior year in college and had to leave a game early. But I'm thankful that it's just a sprain, and I'm gonna go back and try to get it ready for next week when the Browns come to town."

The game had been hyped all week here--what else does a 2-10 team (now 3-10) have to get excited about?--and Jackson said it was special for him, too.

Arriving on the Raiders' charter Friday night, he burst off the plane waving his arms and shouting, "I'm back!"

He was well aware of the hostile reception he would receive for--what, preferring a few weeks in the National Football League to a winter in the Caribbean?

"Of course, this was special, not only to me but for a lot of other people," he said. "This is where I was last summer. To come back here and have the city really against you, it's always--I can't say nice--but it's an experience to come back here and play against a city you played for in the summer."

On the other hand, Chief linebacker Dino Hackett wasn't disappointed at all.

"If you've got (backup tailback Vance) Mueller in there and Bo on the sideline, you kind of have a little celebration," Hackett said.

Fogelman said: "I'd rather see him in winter ball, but I thought it would be interesting to see him play football in person. I'd like to tell him hello and see how his ankle is.

"I know he has a great future in baseball. My sport is baseball and I want to see him there. There's no doubt he needed to play winter ball, but it would be cruel not to let him play both sports.

"He's got to take full advantage of his potential. There's no doubt he would have a bigger future in baseball if he played winter ball. He realizes he has to make the team."

Talking to a crush of reporters afterward, Jackson seemed relaxed and affable.

The last time he had been held to one yard?

"I think this is the first," he said.

He indicated he was far more amused than offended by the 200-plus banners created just for him.

"They have a lot of artists here in K.C.," he said, dryly.

Did that mean he liked them?

"Oh, yes, even the dirty ones. I liked the one that was right over the tunnel. It was a picture of a jackass with Bo Jackson from the waist up. I can say that that's me at times. I think we all have a little jackass in us now and then."

Defensive tackle Bill Maas said the banners helped to inspire the Chiefs.

"I think it hit everybody before the game, looking around at all the signs," Maas said.

Certainly, the Chiefs' defense was keyed to stop Jackson.

Linebacker Dino Hackett said, "One of the things I've been seeing on film (was) all these guys running up and hitting this guy and roughing him up.

"He's a big, strong guy. Why come up there and hit him in the dang mouth? Go up there and hit him in the legs and he's gonna fall down. Without no wheels he ain't goin' nowhere.

"I saw where he ran Brian Bosworth into the end zone. Brian Bosworth is a much stronger player than most guys. He thought he could wrap him up. That ain't gonna do it.

"He's a big part of their offense. These last three weeks they are one of the best--if not the best--offenses in the league, and a big part of that is Bo Jackson. A big part of our scheme was to keep him from getting around the corner."

Linebacker Jack Del Rio: "When you have Bo Jackson, who has shown tremendous potential, and you have Marcus Allen, who is one of the great backs, lined up next to him--I played with Marcus at SC so I know he's a great back--one in the backfield is a load by himself. We knew we really had our hands full.

"We came out here with the intent of stopping the run and making (Marc) Wilson throw the ball, and we were able to do it. We had to take the corner away. You give Bo a crease out there and he'll outrun all the angles.

"I noticed in film and the few times he carried the ball today that he doesn't like a crowd."

For Allen, with Jackson gone, it was business--and frustration--as usual. He was too beside himself to venture an opinion on how much the team missed Bo.

"I don't know," Allen said. "I just went to tailback on short yardage, that's all.

"I'm so ticked off, man, I can't even think straight. Nothing personal, gentlemen. We should have won this bleeping game."

It only showed the Chiefs what their season might have been.

"It's a shame it took all this hype and publicity to get this kind of play out of us," Maas said.

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