Back home, Duerson scoops up some glory

November 06, 1990|By Don Pierson | Don Pierson,Chicago Tribune

INDIANAPOLIS -- Back home in Indiana, Dave Duerson scored the first touchdown of his eight-year pro career to seal the New York Giants' 24-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts last night.

"Maybe I've been playing for the wrong team all these years," Duerson said.

The former Pro Bowl safety of the Chicago Bears, cut loose during the summer, scooped up a fumble by Colts quarterback Jeff George and ran 31 yards with 13:23 left to end a minor uprising by a Colts' club that was outmanned all night.

The Giants stayed undefeated at 8-0 and tied with the San Francisco 49ers for the NFC lead. The Giants and 49ers play Dec. 3 in San Francisco in a Monday night matchup ABC can't wait to televise.

Duerson's touchdown wasn't necessary, but it was a nice touch to a whole evening of Hoosier homecomings. Vice President Dan Quayle flipped the coin and George made his first national TV appearance that counted.

Coming off an abdominal muscle injury still not fully healed, George survived the siege by the Giants' defense and passed a courage test posed by ABC commentator Dan Dierdorf, who said people wonder whether he has "a heart of tin."

Duerson, a native of Muncie, Ind., was playing in front of his parents and "a whole section" of family and friends. The last time he scored a touchdown in the pros was on a fumble recovery in the Bears' exhibition in London against the Dallas Cowboys in 1986. Since that doesn't count in the statistics, Duerson said his last touchdown was an interception return against Miami's Jim Kelly in 1982 when Duerson played for Notre Dame.

The Colts had closed to 17-7 in the third quarter after a dismal first half in which the Giants controlled the ball for 20:57.

George was hit by linebacker Pepper Johnson and Duerson was there to pick up the ball.

Last week, 30-year-old Giants cornerback Everson Walls scored the first touchdown of his stellar career on an interception against the Washington Redskins.

"Since he's even older than me, I told him I had to get one," said Duerson, 29.

Duerson unveiled a new T-shirt he said reminds him of the 1985 Bears and their "Junkyard Dogs" defense.

It says: "Good Old Guys."

"This is for our 30-and-over crew," said Duerson. "Billy [defensive coordinator Belichick] calls us his geriatric crew. It's a great mix of veterans and younger players."

Calling signals for the nickel defense in the absence of injured linebacker Carl Banks, Duerson has found new life in New York.

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