Chiefs consider Casillas saga suspicious NFL TRAINING CAMP REPORT

August 06, 1994|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Writer

CARLISLE, Pa. -- The Tony Casillas saga is getting stranger and stranger.

One day after the former Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman returned a $1.2 million signing bonus and was released by the Kansas City Chiefs for refusing to report to training camp, Casillas said he'll play football this fall and would be "stupid" not to want to play football for the Cowboys.

"I'm fine to play football," Casillas said after explaining he had overcome his medical problems. He was supposedly under treatment for hypertension.

"I'm looking for somebody to play for. I'll definitely play this season and you'd have to be stupid not to play for Dallas if you had the opportunity," he said.

The Chiefs, meanwhile, find all of this somewhat suspicious. They're calling for commissioner Paul Tagliabue to look into possible tampering violations.

"It's obvious that I want to be sure this guy hasn't been tampered with," Chiefs president Carl Peterson said.

When asked if he suspected tampering, Peterson said, "I don't know but there is a possibility of something that could be embarrassing to the league."

Casillas played college ball at Oklahoma for Barry Switzer, who's the new Dallas coach.

The Cowboys haven't been identified yet as the team in question, but they denied all charges.

"He's not talking about us," Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones said.

Switzer said, "As far as I know, it hasn't been a situation where we've been talking with Tony."

Switzer said he hasn't spoken with Casillas since he met him at a social setting prior to the start of camp.

"I like Tony. He was a great player for me. Obviously, he was a great player for the Cowboys. Obviously, he had some personal problems he has to deal with, and hopefully, they are not as serious as sometimes we might hear," he said.

Switzer still thinks Casillas can be a valuable player.

"Any coach would recognize the

value of someone like that," he said. "From a coaching standpoint, anybody would want a player like him."

Now the question is whether the Cowboys are actually going to sign Casillas. They have salary cap problems and would probably have to release a player to sign him.

There's also the question of what -- if anything -- the league will do if the Cowboys re-sign Casillas.

When the collective bargaining agreement came up, nobody thought a free agent might sign with another team and then change his mind.

Rained in

When a team is trying to give a rookie a crash course in quarterbacking, it doesn't help when the team conducts two practices in the rain and then is forced indoors to work in the gym.

That's what happened to the Washington Redskins yesterday afternoon when coach Norv Turner decided the fields at Dickerson College were too muddy to practice on after two days of rain.

But he didn't think the team or rookie quarterback Heath Shuler suffered a setback as they prepare for the exhibition opener in Buffalo Monday night.

"This was great," Turner said. "It was kind of a break for the guys."

He's not worried about how Shuler will look in his 15 plays Monday night after having such limited practice time.

"I think the one thing we're going to get accomplished [for him] is that feeling of being in a game. He's not going to be ready to go in and play real well. It's a matter of getting him started," Turner said.

On the sidelines

Trent Dilfer, the other quarterback drafted on the first round who signed the day after Shuler did, will sit out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' opening game against the Cincinnati Bengals tonight.

Craig Erickson, who started 15 games last year, will get the start.

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