Stan Gelbaugh, who led his World League of American Football team to the league's inaugural championship and then gave up on football, will start the next Phoenix Cardinals game, coach Joe Bugel said yesterday.
Bugel said Gelbaugh earned the promotion by producing the type of big plays the woefully impotent Cardinals have needed in a 4-7 season.
Gelbaugh, 28, said that except for the WLAF, the start would be his first since his college days at Maryland.
Even there, he had to wait his turn to start behind Boomer Esiason, now with Cincinnati, and Frank Reich, No. 2 at Buffalo.
* PATRIOTS: Team owners Victor Kiam and Fran Murray reached an agreement in principle late yesterday to put their dispute aside until the season is over and not cause disruption by bringing it to court.
In order to appease Murray, Kiam and the NFL reportedly had to guarantee Murray and his banks that all of his notes would be paid in full and on time. Second, Kiam and the NFL had to guarantee Murray that by a certain date, believed to be 60 days, he would be paid in full the sum of $38 million so that he finally may separate himself from the Patriots and proceed in trying to get an NFL expansion franchise for St. Louis.
The agreement buys Kiam time to straighten out his financial problems. He and the NFL will oversee the operation of the team for the rest of the season.
* EAGLES: Cornerback Ben Smith, the No. 1 draft pick last year from Georgia, is out for the season with a torn ligament in his left knee.
Smith suffered the injury Sunday during the second period of Philadelphia's 32-30 win over the Cleveland Browns. He went down without contact while trying to prevent a 17-yard pass completion to Webster Slaughter.
A Magnetic Resonance Imaging test done yesterday at Graduate Hospital showed Smith has a torn anterior cruciate ligament, torn cartilage and a bone bruise, team spokesman Ron Howard said.
* 49ERS: Joe Montana vows to return to the San Francisco 49ers next year, unless his elbow does not totally heal from surgery. Then, he says, he would consider retiring.
But if his elbow does return to normal and he is forced into a substitute's role, Montana told the Louisiana Peninsula Times Tribune on Saturday before the 49ers' loss to the Saints on Sunday, he would consider finishing his career with another team.
Montana said he hoped to test his throwing arm as early as January and his golf swing by entering the AT&T Crosby afterward.
* PATRIOTS: Victor Kiam's future as owner of the New England Patriots remained unclear yesterday as he faced a deadline today for paying his minority partner $38 million or possibly losing the team.
Neither Kiam nor Fran Murray, who owns 49 percent of the NFL club, commented yesterday. Their lawyers, believed to be trying to work out an agreement, did not return phone calls.
Spokesmen for Robert Popeo, Murray's attorney, and Earle Cooley, Kiam's attorney, said the lawyers were tied up in a meeting all afternoon.
There was a possibility that Murray might agree to extend the deadline until the Patriots season ends, while the NFL, which took control of the franchise last month, remained in charge.