No longer his team, but Schramm is here

January 30, 1993|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

LOS ANGELES -- He was once known as the second-most powerful man in the NFL. Now, he's just another face in the crowd.

Tex Schramm, the former president of the Dallas Cowboys, attended commissioner Paul Tagliabue's annual Super Bowl news conference yesterday as just another spectator.

The days when Schramm was considered former commissioner Pete Rozelle's right hand man are long gone. He's retired and is attending this game as a guest of Rankin Smith, the owner of the Atlanta Falcons.

Schramm, who was pushed out when Jerry Jones bought the Cowboys in 1989, still roots for his old team, but he said he misses being involved.

"It's an eerie feeling," he said. "It's like you're having a dream and somebody else is living in a house you built. You see the uniforms and everything else that you started."

Jimmy Johnson, the Dallas coach, ran into Schramm at a restaurant Thursday night and had a long conversation with him.

"I always had tremendous respect for what he accomplished. You could sense just talking to him the feeling the man had for the Dallas Cowboys," Johnson said.

It's ironic that if Tom Landry had retired, Johnson was the coach Schramm planned to hire to replace him.

Landry didn't retire and was fired by Jones the night he bought the team. Unlike Schramm, who watches the games at Texas Stadium in a sky box next to the press box, Landry hasn't been in Texas Stadium since he was fired.

Landry was in town Thursday for an Athletes in Action prayer breakfast but then left and won't attend the Super Bowl. He said he never attended unless the Cowboys were playing in it.

"Everybody thinks I should be bitter," he said. "But I'm not. I just have no feeling one way or the other."

Landry hasn't been inducted into the Cowboys' Ring of Honor, but he said the Cowboys haven't mentioned it since 1990, when he felt it was too soon.

"It sounds in the paper like I get an invitation every year. I don't," he said.

Dress rehearsal

The Cowboys had their last full practice session yesterday and Johnson labeled it an "excellent" workout.

The team will have a walk-through at the Rose Bowl today because Johnson likes to have his team familiar with the stadium before a game.

Johnson had a team meeting for five minutes before and after practice.

"I just don't like surprises," he said. "I told them a little bit about our routine and the change in the routine as far as the game goes -- a little bit longer time from warm-ups until we kick off and a longer halftime. I told them, 'Hey, the football part is over now.' It's up to them to prepare themselves in a proper manner."

Injury report

The only Cowboy on the injury report is reserve linebacker Dixon Edwards, who has a strained left hamstring, but practiced all week even though he still is not 100 percent.

Hairy interview

Johnson has something of a fetish about being neat, which includes using enough spray on his hair that a hurricane couldn't mess it up.

The result is that he's probably the only Super Bowl coach who's had to answer questions about his hair.

"If I could do something different with it, I probably would. The only thing I can do is shave my head, and I don't want to. I've got real fine, straight hair. It's not any big deal. That's the way it falls. If I don't put a little touch of spray on it, it falls in my eyes. It's a simple thing a lot of people make a big deal about it," he said.

One more thing Johnson is noted for is that he lives alone with his fish.

Just for the record, he said his girlfriend's daughter is feeding his fish while he's gone this week.

Still in search of

Dave Wannstedt, the Cowboys defensive coordinator who's going to take over as head coach of the Chicago Bears next week, came up short this week in his quest for an offensive coordinator. Ted Tollner turned him down to remain as the Los Angeles Rams' quarterbacks coach.

Wannstedt said it is not a distraction to be preparing to play in the Super Bowl with one team after being named the head coach of another, but it is a bit unusual.

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