For Landry and Schramm, only ring is of bitterness

Pro football

October 04, 1991|By Ken Murray

It has been three years since Jerry Jones' hostile takeover of the Dallas Cowboys, but Tom Landry and Tex Schramm still carry a Texas-sized grudge.

Landry, the legendary coach who won 270 games -- including two Super Bowls -- with the Cowboys, has refused to be inducted into the Ring of Honor at Texas Stadium since being fired on Feb. 25, 1989. And Schramm, the architect of America's Team, won't go in without Landry or the late Clint Murchison, the team's original owner.

There will be no thaw in the cold war any time soon, either. Jones said there would be no inductions this year because of the Cowboys' tight halftime schedules. But the real reason is that neither Landry nor Schramm are ready to make peace with the man who booted them.

"Nothing's ever closed in my mind," said Landry. "I'm just not paying a lot of attention to football right now. I'm very busy. I don't know what I'd say [if another offer was extended by Jones]."

It's easy to understand why Landry might be preoccupied. His youngest daughter, Lisa, is seriously ill.

Schramm, on the other hand, maintains a suite at Texas Stadium and attends most home games. Having been fired as commissioner of the World League and forced into retirement, he appears more agreeable to a truce.

"I don't think I'll ever feel good about how the transition was handled," Schramm said. "A lot of people got hurt. That's something you don't ever forget. But anything can go away with time. At this point, it would depend on circumstances. I would say I'm not anxious to carry on a vendetta the rest of my life."

When Landry and Schramm were inducted into pro football's Hall of Fame in recent years, they requested that their rings be mailed to their homes instead of being presented in a ceremony at their home stadium, as is usually the case.

Jones has been magnanimous in trying to get Landry and Schramm into the Ring of Honor, perhaps because he blundered so badly in the takeover. "We hope someday Tom and Tex will consent to it for their many fans and because they deserve to be there along with Clint Murchison," he said.

But as the Jimmy Johnson era takes off -- the Cowboys claimed their biggest victory under Johnson last week against the Giants -- there may be less sentiment to see old wounds healed. Jones hinted that there are some other Cowboys greats -- Bob Hayes, Drew Pearson, Tony Dorsett and Randy White among them -- who ultimately may be inducted before Landry and Schramm if the cold war doesn't end soon.

* FRESH MEAT: Eagles rookie tackle Antone Davis was beaten badly and often by Redskins defensive end Charles Mann in Washington's 23-0 victory Monday night. Davis gave up two sacks to Mann and another to Fred Stokes, and collected three penalties along the way.

"I'm a vet and he's a first-year player," Mann explained. "I threw all the plays in the book at him. But

he's young and he's got a bright future."

Said Davis, a first-round pick last spring, "I think 10 years from now when I'm playing against a rookie, I'll do the same thing . . . I expected a day's work and that's what I got."

* ON SECOND THOUGHT: This item falls under the "what-if" category. In the 1985 draft, the Eagles, in need of an offensive tackle, passed on Ohio State guard Jim Lachey. Two weeks before the draft, offensive line coach Ken Iman was sent to Columbus, Ohio, to look at Lachey. He came back with the report that it would take Lachey too long to make the transition to tackle. So with the ninth pick in the first round, the Eagles took Kevin Allen.

Allen has since spent time in prison on a rape conviction, while Lachey, now with the Redskins, has twice gone to the Pro Bowl as a tackle.

* TROUBLE IN PARADISE: Ray Handley is only five games into his term as Giants' head coach, but already he has had to deal with the benching of Phil Simms, dissension and three losses.

The Giants' defense has been critical of the offense because new quarterback Jeff Hostetler has failed to generate more than two touchdowns in any game this season. Then an unnamed Giant was quoted in a New York tabloid as saying Handley showed favoritism and the team would be 5-0 if Bill Parcells still were coach. That prompted Handley to call a team meeting in which he invited any disgruntled player into his office. None came forth.

Call it the post-Super Bowl blues. Cornerback Mark Collins abruptly left a team meeting this week when he was criticized by defensive coordinator Al Groh and took a three-hour drive. Collins, who had given up the decisive touchdown in last week's 21-16 loss to Dallas, was fined $1,500 for bolting. When he returned, he admitted he wasn't playing well.

* TALK IS CHEAP: Richard Williamson is eight games deep into his term as coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the last seven have been losses. In five games this season he has made 11 changes in the starting lineup, including five for this week's game against the Eagles.

When he reinstated Vinny Testaverde over Chris Chandler as the starting quarterback against the Eagles, Chandler did not take the news well. He charged that he is more competitive, tougher and has more respect from the team than Testaverde, who has been known to criticize his pass protection.

Nevertheless, after last week's 31-3 loss to Detroit, Chandler was 0-4 as the Bucs' starter over the past two seasons.

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