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Laufenberg Lands This Time With the Cowboys

July 27, 1989| From Associated Press

The NFL doesn't keep records for being released from teams, but if it did, Babe Laufenberg would be the "King of the Cuts."

The "Turk," the guy whose appearance signals the end has arrived, has called on Laufenberg eight times. Four different teams have sent him packing.

Laufenberg was never one to stay in one place. He wound up his college career at Indiana, which is not where he began. He started out at Stanford, but departed when someone named John Elway appeared on campus.

"I saw him throw 50-yard out passes and started looking for the door," Laufenberg said with a laugh. "I could see that guy couldn't miss."

Laufenberg, who starred at Crespi High, left Stanford for Missouri but never played there. Instead, he returned home, quarterbacked at Pierce College for one season and then transferred to Indiana. He continued his rambling ways in the NFL and now takes his mobility in stride.

"It's been an interesting career, and it's just barely started," he said. "The first cut I got was devastating, but nothing fazes me anymore."

Laufenberg is now wearing the colors of the Dallas Cowboys, his fifth NFL team. He is trying to beat out youngsters Troy Aikman, Steve Walsh and Scott Secules.

The 29-year-old Laufenberg has played for New Orleans, Washington, Kansas City and San Diego. He has started a grand total of six NFL games. For San Diego he completed 47.9% of his passes for 778 yards with four touchdowns and five interceptions.

He was drafted in the sixth round by Washington in 1983 and stayed with the Redskins until 1985. He was sent to San Diego, then cut.

Laufenberg was watching "Monday Night Football" in a bar in a Mexican village when he saw Joe Theismann's career-ending injury, a broken leg. Laufenberg returned to Washington, where he finished the 1985 season with the Redskins.

He was cut again and New Orleans picked him up for four days. He was released but was re-signed and then released again.

Kansas City signed him and released him, as did Washington again.

The Chargers let him go last year. Coincidentally, Laufenberg threw three touchdown passes to beat Dallas, 24-21, in a preseason game.

"I know I'm being counted out again, but I'm used to it," Laufenberg said. "I'm feeling stronger than at any time in my career, and I think they can use my experience. It's hard to play in the NFL without it. And I'm the only one on this team who has it."

Laufenberg wants a starting role, not just a job.

"I don't want to grab the last (third) spot," he said. "I really believe I can play in this league. If I didn't, I'd be doing something else."

Dallas Coach Jimmy Johnson said Laufenberg is a long shot, but "has some experience and that should help his chances."

The wandering quarterback said he doesn't watch the bullet passes thrown by Aikman and the other contenders in practice.

"I just concentrate on my own game," he said. "It's a long, long way until the final cut in September.

"I know anything can happen because just about everything has happened to me. I've adopted Harrison Ford's motto: 'Sometimes survival is winning.' "

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