Turner isn't flipping out over Bell's TD somersault NFL TRAINING CAMP REPORT

August 28, 1994|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Writer

Yesterday was a day when Norv Turner was able to savor his first victory as a head coach.

As he reviewed the Washington Redskins' 22-21 decision over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday night in the final preseason game, he was asked whether he had any problem with rookie William Bell's doing a somersault into the end zone at the end of a 42-yard touchdown run.

Turner replied jokingly, "After you've been with Michael Irvin, that is minor, believe me."

That was a reference by Turner, Dallas' offensive coordinator the past three years, to the Cowboys' flamboyant, outspoken wide receiver.

On a more serious note, Turner again praised rookie quarterback Heath Shuler, who completed 19 of 30 passes for 206 yards. But Turner said he would wait until Tuesday to decide whether to start him or John Friesz next Sunday in the first game against the Seattle Seahawks.

He said Shuler has a bright future regardless of whether he starts the opener.

"I'm a long-term guy. I know how talented he is. I don't think it has any effect on the long range one way or the other," he said.

He's debating whether to give Seattle a chance to confuse a rookie quarterback.

"That's the things we're looking at right now," he said. "How would Seattle react? What things would they do with him in there? What things would they do with him not in there? There are a lot of things I'm trying to take into consideration."

Turner also has to make the final seven cuts today to get the roster down to 53. But the Redskins can't play the roster games they did in the past. Now that there's a salary cap, they can't use the injured reserve list as a taxi squad because those salaries count against the cap.

Cornerback A. J. Johnson appears to be one of the few veterans whose job is in jeopardy today.

Salary cap trade

The Los Angeles Rams got a quarterback of the future -- Tommy Maddox -- from the Denver Broncos for a fourth-round draft choice yesterday, thanks to the salary cap.

Maddox, a 1992 first-round draft pick, was being groomed to replace John Elway in a few years. But the Broncos decided that they couldn't afford him and his $850,000 salary as a backup since they're paying Elway $4.5 million to start.

The Rams are paying their quarterback, Chris Miller, $3 million and could afford to pay Maddox.

So when the Broncos asked Maddox to take a pay cut to $200,000, he refused. The Broncos decided to trade him.

Maddox will start out as the Rams' third-string quarterback behind Miller and Chris Chandler, but will be destined to be the team's leader in the future.

The Deion watch

Atlanta Falcons coach June Jones said yesterday that free agent All-Pro cornerback Deion Sanders has told him he will give his former club the opportunity to match any offer he receives from another NFL club.

"Basically, Deion has promised us that he'll bring us any offer he gets and see if we can match the thing," said Jones. "We're kind of operating under that assumption."

Sanders, a two-sport star who played the outfield for the Atlanta Braves before being traded to Cincinnati earlier this year, was Atlanta's No. 1 draft pick in 1989 and played with the Falcons for five seasons.

Eugene Parker, the agent for Sanders, stopped just short of saying that the Falcons had been granted a right of first refusal on his client, but admitted he had promised the Falcons the club would "have a chance to compete" for Sanders.

Parker, in an telephone interview from his Fort Wayne, Ind., home, confirmed that he had two contract offers. He did not identify the teams involved, but the Atlanta Journal-Constitution confirmed that at least one of the proposals is from a club that Sanders did not visit during his recent tour. Sanders made visits to San Francisco, Kansas City, New Orleans, Miami and Atlanta.

Sanders said Friday night he hopes to make a decision by tomorrow. Parker hinted that no decision was imminent and the time frame might not be workable.

Marino ailing

The Dolphins are going into the regular season without Dan Marino at full strength.

Marino, recovering from the Achilles' tendon injury he suffered last year, obviously was struggling in his final exhibition game Friday night against the Minnesota Vikings. He completed four of 12 passes for 37 yards and was intercepted twice.

He started out well in the first two preseason games, but completed 13 of 31 passes in his final two.

"Dan the last couple of weeks has struggled," coach Don Shula said. "He's still not 100 percent, there's no question about that."

Marino simply didn't have a good touch against the Vikings. His first pass, intended for Keith Byars, sailed wide as he attempted to step up in the pocket. His second pass bounced in front of Mark Ingram and his third was intercepted and returned 22 yards for a touchdown by Jack Del Rio.

"That's just not being patient with the read," Marino said. "And the ball was a little inside."

Ditka vs. Ryan

Now that Buddy Ryan is back as a head coach, you knew it wouldn't be long before his old boss, Mike Ditka, would be taking public shots at him.

The only surprise is that the first salvo came in Billings, Mont., where Ditka visited for a speaking engagement.

"I don't have a problem with Buddy except his mouth," Ditka said.

Ditka also wanted to set the record straight.

"He's never beaten me. He's never won a playoff game. With all the talent he has had, a guy has to start asking: 'Why is that?' My record is out there. If he can beat it, fine. I'll be the first to get in line and congratulate you. If you can't, then shut up."

The reply from Ryan: "Well, he's got a right to say whatever he vTC wants to, but the source is no better than the information. I mean, consider the source. But I don't have to answer to him. I never did answer to him."

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