Ryan smiles as Jackson slams Eagles management

PRO FOOTBALL

September 23, 1990|By VITO STELLINO

Only Buddy Ryan can stir up a controversy simply by smiling.

The Philadelphia Eagles' rambunctious coach can do as much by smiling as Jerry Glanville does when he calls Jack Pardee a jerk.

The advantage is that Ryan doesn't have to worry about getting any letters from commissioner Paul Tagliabue threatening a fine. How can you fine a man for smiling?

Ryan's smile spoke volumes, though, when tight end Keith Jackson ended his holdout Wednesday night.

Ryan first alerted reporters that Jackson was arriving that night to end his holdout, even though the front office was telling reporters Jackson wouldn't arrive until Thursday.

When Jackson arrived, he said, "I came in here with the idea of taking [owner] Norman Braman and [team president] Harry Gamble over the coals."

Jackson said Ryan talked him out of it, but he then proceeded to do it anyway. He said Eagles management cares nothing about winning.

Ryan, at the back of the room, simply smiled -- a smile that sent a message he was agreeing with Jackson, who said: "I'm back for the team and Coach Ryan. I heard rumors that there was some conspiracy going on upstairs to get Coach Ryan fired. I figured if I come in and we win, there's no way they can get rid of him."

Of course, there's been a lot of talk in Philadelphia about Ryan getting fired. Not because of any conspiracy, but because the team is 0-2 and could be 0-3 after playing the Los Angeles Rams today.

But Ryan hasn't lost any of the bluster despite the setbacks. He's still taking on the front office.

Meanwhile, Jackson's agent, Gary Wichard, handled the heavy artillery. He called Braman an "egomaniac" and "the same loser and fraud he's always been."

Braman hasn't fired back. When he was asked about Ryan's status, he said he didn't want to talk about it except to say, "It's not how you start, but how you finish."

*

Now that Jackson's in camp, the six remaining veteran holdouts are Bobby Hebert of the New Orleans Saints, Frank Minnifield of the Cleveland Browns, Jesse Solomon of the Dallas Cowboys, Rick Graf of the Miami Dolphins and Rich Karlis and D.J. Dozier of the Minnesota Vikings.

Dozier is taking a fling at baseball.

*

The Indianapolis Colts are on the verge of another crisis.

The rumors are starting to swirl that coach Ron Meyer is on his way out.

Unless the Colts upset 0-2 Houston today, they may be looking at an 0-9 start because they play the Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos, Dolphins, New York Giants and New England Patriots the next six games.

Mike White, the former Illinois coach who is now an assistant with the Los Angeles Raiders, is being mentioned as a replacement for Meyer, who made sure he didn't hire any obvious successors when he put his staff together.

The Colts drew only 49,256 to their home opener and Bill Benner, an Indianapolis Star columnist who often criticizes the team, called them "bums" and a "collection of mismanaged losers" and added, "The good citizens of Baltimore don't know how well-off they are."

*

Eric Dickerson, the Colts' suspended running back, didn't get any satisfaction at his hearing Monday before Tagliabue, although he argued he shouldn't have been sidelined for six weeks by the team.

One of Tagliabue's aides told Dickerson and general manager Jim Irsay that he'd prefer it if the two sides settled it themselves.

Since the impasse remains, Tagliabue eventually may be forced to hand down a ruling. He held a hearing for Clarence Kay of the Broncos several weeks ago and has yet to make a ruling.

Unless Tagliabue rules otherwise, Dickerson won't be eligible to return until after the trading deadline. The Colts then presumably would have to decide whether to take him back or cut him.

*

The owners will meet Tuesday in New York to decide whether to approve the new three- to five-player practice squad that was negotiated by Tagliabue with attorney Joseph Yablonski, who represented the developmental squad players in a lawsuit against last year's $1,000-a-game salary.

Tagliabue seemed to have the votes to pass the measure when the clubs were in favor, 24-4, in an electronic vote last week.

It seems to be a good move for the league because the teams can use the practice players.

But there was enough grumbling by the teams that Tagliabue decided to call a meeting to discuss the matter.

Some owners fear they would be seen as caving in by giving the players a minimum of $3,000 a game because they recently offered them $2,000 a game and were turned down. The agreement also didn't settle the lawsuit about the 1989 players, so they may get money, too.

Not all the leaders of the National Football League Players Association like the agreement, either, because the limit of between $225,000 and $325,000 for the three to five players sets an informal salary cap.

But the agents for the players put heavy pressure on the NFLPA to get a deal because it means between 82 and 140 jobs.

*

If the proposal passes, Charley Casserly, the Washington Redskins general manager, said he'd sign five players.

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