The owner of the Baltimore Stars said he was asked by New Jersey Generals owner Donald Trump to have the Stars "take it easy" on quarterback Doug Flutie, according to the Baltimore News American.
Myles Tanenbaum said the request was made about six weeks ago, just after Trump signed the 5-9 3/4 Heisman Trophy winner to a five-year deal worth an estimated $5 million to $8 million, the newspaper said.
"Donald was serious," Tanenbaum was quoted as saying. "He wanted me to talk to my coach so he could talk to the players because we play them a couple of times this season.
"He said the players should try not to hurt Flutie. Donald said, 'It would be a terrible thing for the league if Flutie got hurt,' " Tanenbaum told the newspaper.
Trump was unavailable for comment, but USFL spokesman Jim Byrne said Trump "has no recollection of any such conversation, and I think to some extent it's a case of Carl (Peterson) trying to motivate his players before the game."
Peterson is president and general manager of the Stars. He said he told the Stars' defensive line about the alleged request.
"How did they respond? Actually, they all kind of laughed," Peterson told the newspaper.
"It's incredulous," he said. "But that's Donald. You've got to understand and appreciate the guy. But, yes, he was serious about it.
"Myles told me, 'You won't believe this.' But I did. Myles told me when Donald asked him to have the players take it easy on Flutie, he just kind of swallowed hard and told him, 'OK, I'll discuss it with Carl and (Star Coach) Jim Mora.' "
Mora said he wasn't taking the alleged request seriously.
The Stars are 0-2-1 this season and play the 2-1 Generals today at College Park, Md., in a nationally televised game.