Buddy, can you spare a dime? Asked about losses, Ryan cuts off call

January 03, 1991|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Correspondent

HERNDON, Va. -- Don't remind Buddy Ryan that he's still looking for his first playoff victory as the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Ryan hung up on a conference call with reporters at Redskin Park yesterday after a question about his playoff record was asked.

When the Eagles coach was asked whether his winless playoff record during his five-year tenure will put more pressure on him Saturday when his team plays the Washington Redskins in a first-round game, he said, "Nope, sure doesn't."

He added: "I mean, most people haven't even been to the playoffs. When's the last time you all [the Redskins] were in the playoffs?"

When he was reminded the Redskins won a Super Bowl after the 1987 season, he said, "Oh, yeah, sure, they won a Super Bowl in '87, but what happened to them in '88 and '89. You guys are full of bull. Got to go, bye."


What happened to the Redskins in 1988 and 1989 is that they finished with regular-season records of 7-9 and 10-6 and didn't make the playoffs.

The Eagles made the playoffs both seasons, but lost their opening-round games.

Before he hung up, Ryan, speaking from Tampa, Fla., had explanations for the losses.

"The first year, we played the Bears, most of our players only had two years' experience in the league. Last year, we were beat up. We had no wide receivers [Mike Quick was hurt]. Our tight end [Keith Jackson] was half-speed. Keith Byars didn't play. The offensive line was beat up, so we didn't have much of a chance last year. This year, we're in pretty good shape," he said.

It was the second straight year that Ryan has hung up on Washington reporters. Last year, he got upset when a reporter noted he had criticized the Redskins safeties on his 900 phone line.

When he first tried to deny it, the reporter persisted and Ryan said,

"Write it," and hung up.

Ryan's failure to win a playoff game could have more serious consequences if the Eagles are upset Saturday by the Redskins.

There's speculation that Ryan, whose contract expires at the end of this season, will be fired if he loses his first-round game again.

"Buddy's job is on the line. Of course, everyone is saying that,"

quarterback Randall Cunningham said.

Ryan said Monday that one reason he wanted his team to practice in Tampa was to acclimate it to the area because the Super Bowl will be played there Jan. 27.

The players seem to agree with him. When Byars was asked about the shoulder injury defensive lineman Jerome Brown suffered Saturday, he said Brown will be back for the San Francisco 49ers game even if he doesn't face the Redskins.

The Eagles would play the 49ers in the next round if they beat the Redskins and the Bears beat the New Orleans Saints.

Eagles players appear to like Ryan's blustery style, but it hasn't won him friends around the league.

The Redskins still are seething from the way the Eagles taunted them when nine Washington players were hurt in a 28-14 loss on Nov. 12.

Trainer Bubba Tyer said that when kick returner Joe Howard was knocked out in the fourth quarter, William Frizzell was shouting obscenities and asking whether the Redskins had enough body bags to take all the players home.

Tyer said not all the Eagles taunted. He said defensive lineman Reggie White, a minister, was praying over Howard.

"There were two groups," Tyer said. "One group was yelling and the other was praying, but both groups were kicking our butts."

Earlier in the week, when Ryan was asked about the taunting, he said: "They've got a bunch of guys who have been around 100 years, and I'm sure they've been taunted before and they've been to the Super Bowl and our little kids haven't."

Frizzell had no apologies.

He said: "The game is called football. If they get hurt, they get hurt. If the trainer's got something he wants to say to me, tell him I'll meet him anywhere, any time. The fact was they got hurt. If they want to make something out of it, well, maybe they need that for motivation."

NOTES: The Redskins put DL Eric Williams (sprained arch) on injured reserve and re-signed DB Sidney Johnson, who was waived last week in a roster maneuver . . . . Redskins coach Joe Gibbs slept in his office on New Year's Eve. He routinely sleeps there Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights. At the start of the new year, Gibbs was meeting with his coaches. "I looked around the room and there was nobody to kiss because they were all

coaches. Boy, am I sick of that place."

*Buddy Ryan's playoff games in Philadelphia


At Chicago

Bears 20, Eagles 12

Chicago took a 17-9 halftime lead, but the teams combined for only 2 FGs in the second half, which was played in a thick fog that rolled in off Lake Michigan late in the first half. Eagles QB Randall Cunningham completed 27 of 54 passes for 407 yards but was intercepted 3 times.


At Philadelphia

Rams 21, Eagles 7

QB Jim Everett threw 2 TD passes on the Rams' first 2 drives for a 14-0 lead. The Rams defense shut out the Eagles until the fourth quarter. Cunningham completed 24 of 40 passes for 238 yards and was intercepted once.

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