Sam Jankovich, who oversaw the success of the University of Miami athletic program, has taken on the task of resurrecting the New England Patriots from a season of failure.
"This is Sam Jankovich's era," Patriots owner Victor Kiam said at a news conference yesterday. "It is a new era in the history of the Patriots."
Jankovich, Miami's athletic director since 1983, was named chief executive officer and owner's representative of the National Football League team. Pat Sullivan, whose contract runs through 1996, will remain as general manager.
Rod Rust's job as coach may be in jeopardy. He is in the first year of a three-year contract, but the Patriots are 1-13 and have been beset by off-field problems.
"At this particular time," Jankovich said, "I can't look you in the eye and say, 'Yes, Rod will stay or, no, Rod will not stay.' "
* COLTS: Clarence Verdin, ignored in Indianapolis' offense most of the season, finally is getting some attention.
He hopes his former team, the Washington Redskins, take notice, too, on Saturday night.
"I still have a lot of good friends there. It's going to be exciting," said Verdin, who came to the Colts in a 1988 trade with Washington. "It's a game I've been waiting for since I got here. It will be a payback game."
Verdin, who leads the NFL in punt returns, this week was named to the Pro Bowl for the first time as a special teams player.