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Raiders' Lester Hayes Takes the Bump and Runs

December 23, 1987|MARK HEISLER

Lester Hayes' comeback with the Raiders has pulled up a little short. He didn't play last week and he's just learned he won't go against the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

So Hayes has announced his own plans:

He's seceding from the Raiders.

"I'm history," he said Tuesday. "You won't see me on the sideline Sunday. I'm not going to El Segundo any more. It's my destiny to get on my horse and ride east.

"I want to challenge Jerry Holmes for his job with the New York Jets in 1988. As you know, the Jets are a zone team, which calls for the cornerback to force the run. There is so much talk than I don't force the run. I don't agree with that."

Not that the Raiders were expected to ask Hayes back, but it's not that simple. He's still under contract, and can't go to New York or anywhere else unless they trade him or waive him.

Of course, at his present pace, he could hit the waiver wire at any moment.

Raider coaches and players bristled last week when he called the Cleveland Browns' Webster Slaughter "a sissy," and that was before Slaughter tore up Hayes' successors, Sam Seale and Lionel Washington, with 7 catches for 115 yards and a touchdown.

Hayes isn't dying of guilt.

"Once upon a time, we called guys 'sissy' and meant it," he said Tuesday. "But that was once upon a time.

"It's said I talk too much. I've been watching football since the age of 6. People ask me things because I know the game.

"I've got one more year on my contract, at $800,000. For the right money, I'll become an Afghan rebel and fight the Soviets.

"If you need any scoops, I'll be in New York."

Vaya con Dios. It's been a slice.

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