Pete Rozelle doesn't trust the Bears' defense. He has implied that they have a bounty on quarterbacks. He may be right.
Buddy Ryan, the Bears defensive coordinator, has psyched his players to get Giants quarterback Phil Simms. Ryan knows how to deal with emotions. He is prodding them now for their game against Simms.
"Aw, there is no such thing here as a bounty on quarterbacks," said linebacker Otis Wilson, whom Ryan took extra pains to develop, and may be prodding the most. "Buddy just has a special way of getting people fired up. We're aggressive against anybody we play, but we're not out to hurt them intentionally."
NFL commissioner Rozelle is convinced otherwise and has fined Chicago linebacker Wilber Marshall $2,000 for "spearing" Detroit's Joe Ferguson.
Rozelle informed Marshall of the fine in a letter in which he referred to comments by Bears cornerback Mike Richardson, saying the Bears have a reward system for knocking out quarterbacks. Richardson said he was joking; Ditka said the accusations were foolish, and Wilson said Rozelle doesn't like the Bears.
Maybe so, but while Ditka says one thing, Ryan is busily working his defensive players to a fever pitch for their encounter with the Giants. He even went so far as to take Wilson aside and inform him that Simms said he didn't like it when the 49ers tried to pick him up after knocking him down in the wild-card game.