Hostetler stands pat in feud aftermath

October 18, 1994|By Steve Springer | Steve Springer,Los Angeles Times

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- On Sunday, Jeff Hostetler changed the plays.On Monday, he was not about to change his mind.

Twenty-four hours after engaging in a heated argument over play-calling with Coach Art Shell on the sideline at Miami's Joe Robbie Stadium in front of 69,380 fans and a national television audience, the Los Angeles Raiders' quarterback stood his ground on the other side of the country.

Facing a media blitz with the same self-confidence he shows in facing defensive blitzes, Hostetler exhibited no remorse over the incident that overshadowed the Raiders' 20-17 overtime defeat and threatened to upset the always delicate relationship between those who call the plays and those who must execute them.

No, Hostetler said, he did not regret how he had handled the situation.

No, he had not talked it over as of yesterday with Shell.

No, he did not know if things would be different in the future.

"It was a situation where I changed a couple of plays," he said. "Art didn't like it and he's the head coach and that's his decision."

But Hostetler made it plain it wasn't a decision with which he agreed.

The controversy occurred late in the first half. Although the Raiders were leading, 10-7, Hostetler was having a miserable half. He had completed just two of nine passes for 15 yards, and had been stopped by penalties, frustrated by dropped passes and pounded by a ferocious pass rush.

After Miami had gotten on the scoreboard on a 15-yard pass, Hostetler, upon regaining possession of the ball, twice overruled Shell and offensive coordinator Tom Walsh. Twice they called for a run and twice Hostetler opted instead for a pass. Neither was completed.

When the Raiders punted, Hostetler came over to the sideline to discuss his actions with Shell.

"I was trying to explain the reasoning," Hostetler said, "behind changing the plays."

The first discussion ended in a civil fashion. Then, Hostetler came back to further explain his actions and the conversation turned from calm to explosive.

At one point, Shell pointed to himself as if to indicate he alone would make the final decisions on play-calling. He then yanked off his headset and told backup quarterback Vince Evans he was going in to replace Hostetler.

Obviously infuriated, Hostetler carried on his argument with quarterback coach Mike White and, via telephone, with Walsh.

"As a quarterback, you have a feel for the game," Hostetler said Monday. "You're in the huddle with the rest of the guys. Sometimes guys want certain things and sometimes you feel comfortable with that. Hey, I'm the quarterback. I take responsibility for what I did."

Asked if there is a basic difference in philosophy between himself and the coaching staff, Hostetler didn't give a direct answer.

Had he changed any plays after returning to play the second half Sunday?

"I don't recall any," he said.

Would he be more hesitant to change plays in the future?

"I don't know," he replied. "Things look a little different out on the field than they do elsewhere. It [changing plays when necessary] was something that was always highly recommended that I do. It's kind of up in the air right now."

No regrets over the matter?

"I regret having to sit out here and talk to you guys because of something like that," he told reporters. "I don't regret how I handled the situation."

After venting his fury Sunday, Hostetler wished his teammates luck, then, clutching his helmet, seemed to be walking off the field. Was he really leaving in the midst of the game that would see the Raiders fall to 2-4?

"No, no. I was just going down to get a Coke," he said, laughing.

There weren't many laughs Sunday when teammates Cheste McGlockton and Eddie Anderson intercepted Hostetler at about the 40-yard line, calmed him down and convinced him to stick around.

L Several Raiders said they had thought Hostetler was leaving.

If the quarterback had done so, Shell might have been forced to fine or even suspend his quarterback, further widening the breach between the two.

Asked about the whole confrontation earlier yesterday, Shell di his best to downplay it.

"Just a coach and a player having a discussion," he said. "That's all. . . What happened yesterday is over. Yesterday's game is gone. We move on to the next one. I'm trying to win. The players are all trying to win. We don't have time to sit around and think about what happened. I'm moving forward. I'm sure he is, too."

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