Esiason sorry to see city left out

December 12, 1993|By Bill Free and Vito Stellino | Bill Free and Vito Stellino,Staff Writers

WASHINGTON -- Boomer Esiason was back in town yesterday and he had his hands full accommodating all those who wanted to wish the former University of Maryland standout well.

But Esiason, the New York Jets quarterback, took time out to express his disappointment over the failure of Baltimore to get an NFL expansion franchise.

"I really feel badly for Baltimore and Boogie Weinglass," said Esiason. "I think Boogie would have been a great owner. I was lobbying all along for him."

When it was mentioned that he and Weinglass would have made a great owner-quarterback team in Baltimore, the flamboyant Esiason, 32, smiled broadly and said: "I don't know if I would have wanted to be playing by the time an expansion team was put together [1995]."

Esiason has always been a strong advocate of Baltimore football but never had a chance to play for the Baltimore Colts because the team left town a month before Esiason entered the 1984 NFL draft.

Yesterday was only the second time in his 10-year NFL career that Esiason played a regular-season game at RFK Stadium, in the shadows of his collegiate stomping grounds.

And he seemed to soak in every moment as hundreds of friends showed up to greet him.

There were gifts from many of them for his son, Gunnar, 3, who is battling cystic fibrosis.

"Gunnar instills belief in me that I can get the job done," said Esiason, whose light-hearted manner changes when discussing his son. "When I'm out of breath, I think of him and that makes me push onward. I know that if I play well the team will have more success and that will make more people listen to me when I talk about cystic fibrosis. That's what my career is all about now. I'm not out to prove anything to Cincinnati [former team] any more."

Esiason said things got pretty bad in Cincinnati last season but he made a vow to himself.

"I knew if I kept my mouth shut, everything would be OK, but I didn't think it would be this special," said Esiason. "Coming to the Jets, a playoff-caliber team, has revitalized me. I feel like a kid again."

Giving up early

There were 8,484 no-shows and the 47,970 fans who did show up booed often and left early. When the Jets took over on their 45 after Mark Rypien's last pass was batted down with 3:31 left, they started filing out even though a Washington field goal

could have forced overtime. By the two-minute warning, they were mostly gone. It turned out the Redskins never got the ball back as the Jets ran out the clock.

Palmer gets his kicks

Rookie Sterling Palmer partially blocked two punts for the Redskins. He said he beat the center on the plays and the blocking back went for Lamont Hollinquist, leaving him a chance to get to the punter.

Palmer still was unhappy because of the loss. "We made a lot of mistakes and I know personally I made a lot of mistakes," he said.

Gibbs, Cooke at odds?

Coach Joe Gibbs always used to talk about what a great owner Jack Kent Cooke was during his 12 years as the Redskins coach.

But the relationship seems to be getting strained because Cooke won't give Gibbs permission to interview with the Carolina Panthers. He had two years left on the Washington contract when he left.

Gibbs, who is working for NBC-TV this fall, said on the network's pre-game show that "I'm not pursuing anything," but added, "I'd like to have a chance at least to hear about it."

Cooke said in an interview on the CBS pre-game show that Gibbs should meet with him to discuss the matter instead of going through the media. He said he hadn't talked to Gibbs since he quit last March.

There has been speculation that Cooke might try to talk him into returning to the Redskins if he wants to return to coaching. Gibbs has ruled out coaching in 1994, but has left the door open for 1995, which would be the expansion Panthers' first season.

Gannon isn't worrying type

Quarterback Rich Gannon said he doesn't worry about getting benched.

"I don't look over my shoulder," he said. "That's not the kind of person I am. That's not the way I play. If you're going to worry about things like that, you're not going to be doing yourself any good."

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