Nfl Week 7

PRO FOOTBALL

October 18, 1992|By VITO STELLINO

Ex-Terp Gelbaugh gets call for Seahawks

Have arm, will travel.

That might be Stan Gelbaugh's motto.

The former University of Maryland quarterback has more leagues in more countries on his resume than most players have teams.

Originally drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 1988, he's made stops in Buffalo, Cincinnati, Phoenix and signed as a Plan B free agent last February with the Seattle Seahawks.

He's also played in the CFL and was the World League's first MVP with the London Monarchs. He missed the USFL because it folded before he got out of college.

TC Despite all his travels, he's got one thing going for him right now. He's healthy. Which is no small thing in the NFL in a season in which 16 quarterbacks on 13 teams have been injured during the first six weeks of the season.

The fact that he's healthy and both Kelly Stouffer and Dan McGwire are hurting have vaulted him into the starting job for the Seahawks today against the Los Angeles Raiders.

Gelbaugh's last NFL start came last Dec. 9 in Phoenix against the Redskins. He was yanked late in the game as the Cardinals blew a 14-0 lead and lost, 20-14.

When he was left unprotected, he got the message and signed with Seattle for just a $25,000 signing bonus and a salary of $175,000. Mark Rypien makes more every game, but Gelbaugh didn't have much leverage.

He still hasn't lost his enthusiasm, though. Gelbaugh, whcompleted 3 of 10 passes for 33 yards and had one pass intercepted after replacing McGwire last week, is ignoring the fact that the Seahawks have 13 players on injured reserve and are 1-5 with the league's worst offense.

"We've got over half the season to go and you can't quit," hsaid. "You've just got to keep going. I think the guys realize it's too soon to give up. We can still salvage a decent year if we can just start playing a little better."

He hopes to become a leader.

"If a guy steps in and does the job, then it's easy to be a leader. But when things are going south, it's tough. The guys are hungry for a leader. They're hungry for a win," he said.

Quarterback injuries

If Boomer Esiason can't go tomorrow night for the Cincinnati Bengals, they'll start somebody named Don Hollas. Hollas, who played his first two years at Rice as a defensive back, starting at quarterback on Monday Night Football? They've going to love that at ABC.

If Hollas winds up starting in prime time, it'll revive the debate about quarterback injuries and ways to prevent them.

The league has already tried virtually everything including one cure that was worse than the ailment (the in-the-grasp rule) and can't find a way to stop the injuries. They just seem to be part of football.

Agent Leigh Steinberg has suggested treating the quarterback like a punter, but it wouldn't be the same sport.

One problem is that with the four wide receivers sets, some coaches don't keep in enough players to block, but it's difficult to pass a rule to stop that.

Even most of the quarterbacks don't complain about the situation. They accept it as an occupational hazard.

As Gelbaugh said, "I don't think we should have a hands-off policy on quarterbacks. It's a physical game."

The expansion derby

Yes, Virginia, the NFL is still talking about expansion.

The NFL's expansion committee had a telephone conference call Thursday to preview the league's annual fall meeting Tuesday and Wednesday in Chicago.

Unfortunately, the owners won't do much more than talk about expansion.

"It's [expansion] on hold," said Norman Braman, the Philadelphia Eagles owner who's a member of the expansion committee. "We're stuck in the quagmire of this labor situation."

Despite the gloomy situation, Herbert Belgrad, chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority, remains confident that by the annual meeting in March, the NFL will go ahead with expansion. He thinks by then they'll have a new free agency and draft plan in place and will go ahead with expansion even without a collective bargaining agreement.

Belgrad, who will attend the meeting in Chicago this week tremind the owners that Baltimore hasn't lost interest in expansion, points out that he got a letter from the NFL as recently as Sept. 30 about getting team logos and colors within 60 days.

"The signs we see are positive," said Belgrad.

History lesson

it's not exactly new for the NFL to have expansion stalled. Lamar Hunt, the owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, is having a reunion this weekend in Dallas with several members of his 1962 AFL champion Dallas Texans when the Chiefs play the Cowboys.

Hunt was reminiscing last week about why he started the AFL ithe first place after he found he couldn't get an expansion team.

"They weren't interested in expanding," he said. "There was onmajor problem on their minds."

Sound familiar?

The horror film

Preparing for today's game against the Denver Broncos, coach Jack Pardee of the Houston Oilers can barely look at the videotape of last year's playoff game when the team blew a 21-6 lead and lost to the Broncos, 26-24.

"I get sick every time I think about that game and I think about ia lot," he said.

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