Leaving Falcons, Casillas traded stress for successLOS...

January 29, 1993|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

LOS ANGELES — Leaving Falcons, Casillas traded stress for success

LOS ANGELES -- Coping with the pressure of playing in the Super Bowl is no problem for Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Tony Casillas.

He had more problems coping with the pressure of playing for a losing team in the past.

The second pick in the 1986 draft -- right behind Bo Jackson -- by the Atlanta Falcons, Casillas was so frustrated by the Falcons' losing ways that he was ready to quit in 1988. Three days into the 1988 training camp, he decided to leave the team to undergo psychiatric counseling for stress.

"I felt like I was playing on a team that wasn't worth a darn and I didn't want to spend the rest of my career going out there and just making a paycheck," he said.

Casillas said that getting counseling made him a marked man in the NFL.

Casillas returned to start all 16 games in 1988 to become a Pro Bowl alternate and had 152 tackles in 1989. But when he held out in 1990 when new coach Jerry Glanville showed up, he said he was labeled as a troublemaker by Glanville.

Last year, Casillas announced he was retiring and got himself traded to the Cowboys. That was the ultimate solution for his stress. Now he's on a winning team, playing in the Super Bowl.

"This is what it's all about for me now. It's about winning," he said.

Rain check for Clinton

When Ralph Wilson, owner of the Buffalo Bills, invited President Clinton's mother to the Super Bowl,Jerry Jones, the Cowboys' owner, tried to one up Wilson. He invited President Clinton.

Jones said that Clinton had a commitment to a conference at Camp David and turned down the invitation. "I know he's very busy," Jones said.

It may not have helped that Jones supported Clinton's opponent the last time he ran for governor in Arkansas.

Hurry, hurry

To simulate the Bills' no-huddle offense, coach Jimmy Johnson is employing two separate offensive units in practice. They rotate quickly so the defense doesn't have much time to prepare.

"That's the way we worked it in college when we had 110 players. It forces the defense to make their calls in a hurry and it's good for conditioning, too," he said.

The practice session ended when safety Thomas Everett intercepted Troy Aikman's first pass in a two-minute drill. Johnson decided not to finish that drill, but he said it was a crisp practice.

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