S. Diego assistant Murphy sees new world after Navy SUPER BOWL XXIX

January 25, 1995|By Mike Preston and Vito Stellino | Mike Preston and Vito Stellino,NewsdaySun Staff Writers

MIAMI -- Dennis Murphy keeps pinching himself.

Nearly a year ago, he still was Navy's defensive coordinator. Now he is in his first Super Bowl, coaching the San Diego Chargers' defensive line.

"I first heard about the Chargers having an opening in February," said Murphy, who was an assistant at Maryland when Chargers coach Bobby Ross was with the Terps.

"Well, I made a few phone calls and took the job," Murphy said. "It's been unreal. What a difference a year can make."

Taking the position with the Chargers enabled Murphy's wife, Cindy, to return to her native city. But the Murphys have two children attending the University of Maryland and one at Towson State.

"Who knew 27 years ago when we got married we would be coming back to San Diego?" said Murphy, a former Navy flight officer who received five medals in Vietnam. "Everything has turned out well. Every once in a while, though, I think I'm dreaming."

Reggie White on stage

He's a dance, dance, dance, dance, dancing machine. Watch him get down, watch him get down.

The Reggie White tour continued yesterday. The defensive lineman from Milford Mill High is known as the best dancer on the Chargers.

So White, 6 feet 4 and 300 pounds, was asked to do the "butterfly dance" yesterday.

"I can't," White said. "I'm having problems with my left ankle. It's a little swollen."

That may have come from a night of partying here Monday.

"I'm in when it's day, but out when it's night," White said. "I can definitely woo, woo, woo, you know."

More on the local front

Chargers reserve guard Eric Jonassen, from Mount St. Joseph High, went fishing yesterday as Ross gave the team the day off.

Jonassen, 6-5, 310 pounds, took along 6-6, 295-pound offensive tackle Stan Brock and 6-4, 300-pound guard Joe Cocozzo.

"Obviously, we won't be in a rowboat," Cocozzo said.

Cornerback Sean Vanhorse, from Northwestern High, brought his video camera to media day.

"I want to share my experience with my grandkids one day," Vanhorse said.

Vanhorse said he was overwhelmed by the nearly 2,500 media members in attendance.

"At first, they had all the media in the stadium, and I thought they were ticket holders looking over their seats," he said. "Then they started coming down on the field from out of the tunnels and everywhere. I've never seen anything like this."

Mann about town

Charles Mann is seeing the Super Bowl from a different vantage point.

In his first three trips, he was a starter with the Washington Redskins.

Now he's a backup with the San Francisco 49ers. It hasn't been a season to remember.

"I'm a positive person," he said. "That was quite a struggle for me, but I believe the Lord was teaching me humility and I thought I was a pretty humble guy. I've accepted that instead of fighting it. When I look back over this season, I've really, really grown."

Mann hopes this is not his last season. "If somebody will have me, I'd like to play again," he said.

Last year, he was recovering from knee surgery. Now he says he's ready for a comeback.

"I can play in this league. I can play," he said.

First, though, Mann is concerned with earning another title.

"I want to come back to Washington with a new Super Bowl ring," he said with a laugh.

Mann, who was cut by the Redskins at the end of last season, said he feels sorry for the teammates he left behind.

"I hurt for the guys," he said. "I have a lot of friends on the team. They deserve better than that. When you dismantle the team like that, that's what's going to happen. It's going to take several years for them to come around."

Rice quits retirement talk

It was no surprise that 49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice was downplaying retirement talk yesterday.

"I really don't want to talk about retirement anymore," he said.

"It was something I think got blown out of proportion. I'm going to just leave it alone right now. The main focus for me right now is the Super Bowl, and I will deal with everything after that."

Monday, Rice brought up the possibility of retiring. Yesterday, he said, "This is something I go through every year."

DEION TO RETIRE?

MIAMI -- First it was Jerry Rice talking about possibly retiring after the Super Bowl. Could Deion Sanders be next?

Sanders reportedly has told friends and family members that if the San Francisco 49ers win Super Bowl XXIX that he would consider quitting because there would be nothing left to accomplish in football. Sanders' mother, Connie Knight, was quoted in yesterday's edition of the Miami Herald as saying he would quit if the 49ers win Sunday.

"He says he's going to retire," Knight said. "I tell him, 'Please, just one more year, for the Dolphins.' I'm tired of all those long flights to all his games [in San Francisco]. I want to drive."

So is Deion planning to call it a career after only six part-time seasons in the NFL? "I don't know about retiring," he said yesterday. "My mother won't let me."

But some of Sanders' friends believe he may be serious about quitting.

"I've heard him say he is retiring," former Atlanta Falcons teammate Scott Case told the Herald. "Win a Super Bowl ring and get out. You wouldn't see many guys taking $4 million less just to win a ring, like he did this season."

Sanders signed a one-year, $1 million deal to play with the 49ers this season and will become an unrestricted free agent next month. He said yesterday that he would "love to stay with the 49ers, but we might have another tour, you never know."

Sanders, a cornerback, was voted Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year. He plays baseball for the Cincinnati Reds.

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