Byner's wife points him to 1,000 yards Redskins notes

December 16, 1990|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Correspondent

FOXBORO, Mass. -- Earnest Byner's wife had big expectations for the Washington Redskins' running back yesterday.

"My wife put a little extra presure on me this week because she invited some of the other wives over to the house 'to watch Earnest get his 1,000 yards,' " Byner said.

His reaction: "Hey, baby, don't do me like that."

Byner, who went into the game with 882 yards, did it yesterday with a 39-carry, 149-yard effort against the New England Patriots in a 25-20 victory at Foxboro Stadium.

He joined Larry Brown, Mike Thomas, John Riggins and George Rogers as the only 1,000-yard runners in the history of the franchise.

Byner is now at 1,031, and his next goal is Riggins' single-season record of 1,347 yards in 1983.

"If anybody's putting the pressure on me, it's the offensive lineman. First, they were saying, 'Let's get one thousand this season' and then 'Let's get the team record.' They've been enthused about it," he said.

Byner didn't expect to carry 39 times, but the Redskins went with a conservative game plan once they got an early lead in the bad weather.

"I had no idea, man, it'd be like this. It's been 25 to 30 carries. Never in my life have I ever thought I'd carry the ball 39 times. I don't care if I was playing sandlot. I never envisioned anything like this," he said.

* For the third straight game, the players had a players-only team meeting the night before the game. They've won all three games.

Byner said they talked about how they didn't want to take the Patriots lightly Friday night.

* Coach Joe Gibbs dodged a question about reports that his contract expires on Feb. 1, but said he's happy in Washington. He's been mentioned lately in connection with both the Tampa Bay and New England jobs.

"The only thing I've ever been able to do is keep that contract secret," Gibbs said.

Of the rumors he could move on, he said, "It seems that they go both ways. Six weeks ago, people were saying I was going to be fired. Today, they're talking about all these other things. I'm happy to be where I am. We've got a good situation here.

The victory was the 100th regular-season victory of his career. He's 100-50 in regular-season games and 111-53 overall.

"We've got a good situation here in Washington. Anybody could have gotten it and they will after I'm out of it," Gibbs said with a smile.

* Linebacker Kurt Gouveia got his first touchdown since he was a high-school quarterback when a fumble popped into his arms and he ran it 39 yards for a touchdown in the first period.

"It was exciting. The ball flew up in the air. I was in the right place at the right time and I grabbed it and took off," he said.

* Linebacker Wilber Marshall said the worst part of the game was sitting on the sidelines in the bad weather.

"When the offense had the ball, you sit there and get cold. Your body gets stiff," he said. "We'd rather stay out on the field. We want to get out and get moving again."

* The Patriots were proud that they didn't give up when they fell behind, 9-0, in the first 1:22 of the game.

"We're not going to let anyone push [us] around," said Fred Marion, who intercepted a flea flicker in the second half. "I know there's no one in this locker room that has ever just taken his tail and run. We have integrity in ourselves as players. We have a commitment to each other."

Defensive back Ronnie Lippett said, "I think our attitude was a positive attitude."

Defensive end Brent Williams said, "I don't think we've quit all year."

* Defensive lineman Markus Koch, who suffered a knee injury, was the only player on the Redskins injury report.

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