San Diego's Arnsparger contemplates retirement

January 26, 1995|By Mike Preston and Vito Stellino | Mike Preston and Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Writers

MIAMI -- San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator Bill Arnsparger might retire after the Super Bowl, ending a career that started in 1964 with the Baltimore Colts.

Arnsparger, 68, also the architect of the Miami Dolphins "No-Name Defense" in the early 1970s and later developed that team's "Killer B's" defense in the early 1980s.

His defenses ranked first or second in the NFL for fewest points allowed in nine of 11 full seasons with the Dolphins.

Arnsparger may go out facing one of the strongest offenses ever.

"I haven't made any decisions. I'm just year-to-year," said Arnsparger. "I didn't want to commit myself to three or four years or whatever. So I told [head coach] Bobby Ross before the season, and it was fine with him."

Ross said: "He has talked about retirement but hasn't made that decision. We'd like to have him back."

Taking aim at Deion

Chargers offensive coordinator Ralph Friedgen made no secret of the fact that they plan to attack 49ers cornerback Deion Sanders.

"The Bears didn't go after him," said Friedgen. "Dallas did, and they had some success. If you don't go after him, you're taking away a third of the field. We plan on stretching it.

"Deion is human. I've seen him make some truly great plays, but he also gets away with murder back there. When he gets beat, he chops, holds and the refs don't call it."

Ready to dance

If Chargers tight end Alfred Pupunu scores a touchdown Sunday, he'll break into his Kava Dance.

Pupunu brought it with him from his native Tonga. He has performed it only three times this season.

Once he crosses the goal like, Pupunu flexes his chest muscles, does a two-step, then takes the football, acts like he's cracking open the top and pretends to drink the herbal beverage.

"It tastes like dirt water," said Pupunu.

Career of comebacks

Wherever Ross has coached, his teams have shown the ability to come back.

The most famous was in 1984, when Ross' University of Maryland team rallied from a 31-0 halftime deficit to beat Miami, 42-40.

What did Ross tell his team at halftime?

"I told them when they got back to College Park, don't expect to go out on any dates," he said. "I told them we had to run a 40-yard -- for each point we gave up."

Playing it safe

Staying healthy seems to be the theme for the 49ers this week. They figure they have a pat hand.

When the team resumed practice yesterday after having Tuesday off, coach George Seifert didn't have them work in pads.

"It was back to basics today and tomorrow [Thursday], we'll get in some specialty work in," he said. "I hope to get some pad work in tomorrow. But I might not do it in the nine-on-seven drill because I see no reason to risk an injury at this point."

Defensive lineman Richard Dent saw only two snaps in practice with the nickel defense and Seifert declined to say if he will play. Dent has been slow in recovering from a knee injury.

Incentive cause

When the 49ers signed Rickey Jackson to a $1 million contract, there was a catch. He was signed for the $162,000 minimum with the other $838,000 as a bonus if the team got to the Super Bowl. That way, it wouldn't count under this year's salary cap.

The former New Orleans Saints linebacker said that bonus was an incentive for the team.

"The offensive line really talked about it all year," he said. "Coming down the stretch, all they talked about was, 'We've got to get this Super Bowl for Rickey Jackson.' "

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