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Pro Football Spotlight

October 09, 1995


So far, Barry Switzer's new assertive persona hasn't been as popular among Cowboy players as his old Alfred E. Neuman what-me-worry? persona.

During last week's loss to the Redskins, Switzer argued heatedly on the sideline with Emmitt Smith. A day later he ripped defensive linemen Charles Haley, Leon Lett and Tom Tolbert for ignoring the run, saying their play had "embarrassed" Switzer and his coaches.

Then he apologized to the ripped players, telling the press that in the future, "I'm not going to give you that information. I'm not going to load your gun. I'm not going to give you the bullets to shoot with."

Haley responded by taking the week off because of back problems. Switzer brought him off the bench in Sunday's game, after which Haley went off on Switzer.

"All I ask for is a little respect," said Haley in an expletive-filled tirade. "Just a little. They can mess with my mind this year. They'll never get me back in this uniform again."

The tightly-wound Haley had similar problems with the 49ers, packing it in so dramatically after a public rebuke by Coach George Seifert that the team traded him to Dallas in 1992. Now Haley says Switzer can keep his medicine and his apologies.

"I don't care what he [Switzer] tried to do," Haley said. "He made it [the criticism]. Don't go back on it. He made it sincere. What's he going to do, apologize sincere? I don't play that.

"I have no love lost for none of them [coaches], trust me. The defensive coaches don't have any faith in me. If they want me to be a second-team player, I'm going to play it this year but I'm not going to do it any more."


In case anyone thinks, it's going to get any quieter soon in Big D, be advised that Deion Sanders' debut is now tentatively scheduled for Oct. 29 against one of his many former teams, the Falcons.

The Cowboys were hoping that Sanders, who underwent arthroscopic ankle surgery Sept. 25, could play in next week's game against the Chargers, but he is limping in light workouts. There is now concern that his left calf has atrophied slightly.

"He was half-speed," said Switzer, "but he looked good."

Yet to be determined is whether Switzer will address Prime Time as Mr. Sanders, or Your Honor.


At this point, it's hard to remember that the aged Jets owner Leon Hess hired Rich Kotite as coach because he wanted to "win now," but that was that they were saying, one victory and five losses ago.

Kotite, who started Vance Joseph, a rookie who'd been a reserve quarterback in college and had never played defense, at cornerback against the Raiders' Tim Brown last week, Sunday started another player at a position he'd never played when Everett McIver, a defensive lineman in college, was converted to offensive tackle and thrown in against the Bills' Bruce Smith.

"We believe in them," said Kotite. "The only thing they don't have is experience.

"We told Everett there were going to be times when he would be one-on-one with Smith," said Jets center Cal Dixon. "He said, 'No, no, no! You can't put me alone with him.'

Seriously. The Bills won, 23-10. Smith had 1 1/2 sacks and knocked Jets quarterback Boomer Esiason out of the game.


The expansion Cougars have it all now: the winning streak, the frenzied fans. . . the trash talk.

After Sunday's 20-16 victory over the Steelers, who had come in as 10-point favorites, Brian DeMarco, the Jaguars' rookie right tackle said the established team had shown them no respect.

"I really feel Pittsburgh came in here with the wrong attitude," said DeMarco, "like all they had to do is show up and they could roll over us."

Mark Brunell, who won the quarterback job from Steve Beuerlein by coming off the bench to throw a last-minute touchdown pass to beat the Oilers, threw for 189 yards and a touchdown.

"With a win like this comes a lot of confidence," Brunell said. "I'm gaining confidence in my own ability and with those around me. Everyone is becoming more familiar with each other and that's helping. I'm excited with the direction we're going."

Many in the crowd of 72,042 chanted "Wild card! Wild card!" The Jaguars strutted off the field to the Queen song "We Are The Champions."


Perhaps suffering confused loyalties, the Vikings' Warren Moon had his best statistical game of the eason in his first meeting with his former Oilers teammates, throwing for 289 yards and two touchdowns in Minnesota's 23-17 overtime victory.

Moon also threw two interceptions, one of which safety Chuck Cecil returned 20 yards for a touchdown. Darryll Lewis' 78-yard return of a Moon interception was nullified by a roughing penalty against Houston.

Houston, which lost to expansion Jacksonville last week, is now 4-18 since trading Moon for two draft picks in April, 1994.


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