Asked the highlights of his career at USC, San Francisco linebacker Riki Ellison told Tony Kornheiser of the Washington Post: "I got run over by a couple of cars; I got shot at; I jumped off a building. It's hard to say."
Noting Kornheiser's puzzlement, Ellison explained: "I'm a psycho case. If I wasn't a football player, I'd probably be dead."
Said Miami guard Roy Foster, a teammate at USC: "Riki's the prototype guy you'd want to cast in 'Animal House.' He'd knock holes in walls all the time. It wasn't abnormal behavior for him. He's a classic linebacker--life has no meaning."
Said 49er safety Tom Holmoe, who rooms with Ellison on the road: "The guy's on a different planet than the rest of us. The only person he listens to is his wife."
Her name is Sheila, and Ellison says: "She was a song girl at SC. Prettiest girl I ever saw in my life. I had to work hard for her, Man."
One Valentine's Day, Ellison showed his love by drawing a heart on Sheila's dormitory door. Inside the heart he wrote "Riki and Sheila."
"His, I hope," Holmoe shuddered.
Wait a Minute: Wendell Tyler said, "I feel myself a pioneer because the 49ers really didn't run a lot until I came here."
You'll be hearing from Hugh McElhenny, Wendell. Joe (The Jet) Perry will be calling, too. Thirty years ago, those two Hall of Famers, along with John Henry Johnson, made the 49ers possibly the most destructive ground force ever.
In 1954, as the 49ers ran away with the rushing title, McElhenny averaged 8.0 yards per carry. Perry averaged 6.1 and Johnson 5.3.
I'll-never-forget-what's-his-name dept.: Miami linebacker Bob Brudzinski told Channel 4: "The 49ers have a very strong running game with backs like Ty Wendell and . . . "
Miami Coach Don Shula, explaining the success of pint-sized receivers Mark Duper and Mark Clayton, told Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post: "With the new rules, you need the quickness and explosiveness of the small receivers who can get away from the jam at the line of scrimmage. The long-striders are having trouble.
"You look for a great vertical jump in a small receiver because that's how you become a big receiver in the air. Clayton has a 38-inch vertical leap and Duper 37 inches."
Said 49er defensive back Ronnie Lott: "I was with Clayton on a TV show last week. He said he jumped over a Ping-Pong table, width-wise, then length-wise. He said he did it just to prove that he could do it. And he said he did it, too."
Add Lott: He told Rich Roberts of The Times, "I've got that white man's disease. Can't jump."
That will come as a surprise to those who saw him play basketball at Eisenhower High School. He was a three-year all-league selection.
According to Christine Brennan of the Washington Post, Dan Marino was telling reporters it was too soon to compare him with the great quarterbacks of all time.
"There's a lot of people better," he protested.
"Name one," a reporter said.
Said Marino: "I don't know."
Don Meredith, on the pairing of O.J. Simpson and his old coach, Tom Landry, on the Super Bowl pregame show: "I think it's rather poetic they will be working together. I had a hard time understanding either one of them."