Backfield shopping may focus on Hearst Dolphins reportedly trade Kirby to 49ers

August 18, 1996|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

As the Ravens look for ways to improve to their offensive backfield, Arizona Cardinals running back Garrison Hearst may have moved into the picture, and Miami Dolphins running back Terry Kirby apparently has moved out of it.

The Dolphins traded Kirby to the San Francisco 49ers for a 1997 draft pick contingent on his performance with the 49ers, the Miami Herald reported.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, are ready to part with Hearst. They reportedly sent him home on Friday night after telling him he would be waived unless rookie, second-round draft pick Leeland McElroy were injured in Arizona's preseason game against the San Diego Chargers late last night.

"We would have interest in him [Hearst]. We're always looking for ways to upgrade our football team," said Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens' vice president of player personnel.

Newsome also expressed concern over what Hearst would cost. He is due to make $2.1 million in 1996. Although that contract would be terminated upon Hearst's release, Newsome said Hearst likely would have to take a huge pay cut to play in Baltimore.

The Ravens are $62,000 under the salary cap.

"Is this guy going to come in and play for the minimum [salary]?" Newsome said. "People might say this would be just the right spot for him. But a lot of things would have to be done for that to happen."

Hearst, the third pick overall in the 1993 draft out of Georgia, was hampered by knee injuries his first two seasons, then rushed 284 times for 1,070 yards last season.

But he scored only one touchdown and lost 12 fumbles -- more than any other non-quarterback in the NFL. Hearst lost two fumbles last week in a preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Ravens had expressed interest in Kirby, a fourth-year back out of Virginia whom the Dolphins had been shopping around.

The Dolphins will receive a fourth-round pick that could turn into a No. 3 if Kirby plays 65 percent of the offensive downs, the Herald said.

Dolphins coach Jimmy Johnson did not formally confirm the deal, the Herald said, because the 49ers have to figure what to do with running back Johnny Johnson, who likely will be cut to make room for Kirby.

"I do believe this will take place and I'll be talking to 49ers president Carmen Policy today and tomorrow in trying to finalize this thing," Jimmy Johnson said.

Newsome, who has not talked with Kirby's agent, said the Ravens' reluctance to trade for Kirby stemmed from salary cap concerns. Kirby, who will become an unrestricted free agent after the 1996 season, is scheduled to make $783,000 this year.

"We don't have any cap money," Newsome said. "It would be very tough for us to get it done."

Kirby, selected by the Dolphins in the third round in 1993, carried 108 times last season for a career-high 414 yards .

Pub Date: 8/18/96

Ravens schedule

Date Opponent Time

Sept. 1 Oakland 1 p.m.

Sept. 8 at Pittsburgh 1 p.m.

Sept. 15 at Houston 1 p.m.

Sept. 22 Bye week

Sept. 29 New Orleans 1 p.m.

Oct. 6 New England 1 p.m.

Oct. 13 at Indianapolis 8 p.m.

Oct. 20 at Denver 4 p.m.

Oct. 27 St. Louis 1 p.m.

Nov. 3 Cincinnati 1 p.m.

Nov. 10 at Jacksonville 4 p.m.

Nov. 17 at San Fran. 4 p.m.

Nov. 24 Jacksonville 1 p.m.

Dec. 1 Pittsburgh 1 p.m.

Dec. 8 at Cincinnati 1 p.m.

Dec. 15 at Carolina 1 p.m.

Dec. 22 Houston 1 p.m.

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