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Wilt Had a Tryout for Stram

Hank Stram, whose book “They’re Playing My Game” will be published in September, maintains that he was quite serious about wanting to sign Wilt Chamberlain.

“People thought I was kidding,” Stram wrote. “Heck, I would have taken him in a second after seeing him handle a football.”

Stram recalled a tryout of sorts he had once given Chamberlain.

“I had him stand under the crossbar of the goal posts. I told him I was going to throw the football a little above the bar. The first throw touched the bar and bounced on over. Wilt asked me if I wanted him to start catching the ball. . . .

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“I threw again and he leaped up, flat-footed, and caught it. I kept throwing. After a bit he was catching the ball with one hand like he was wearing a baseball glove.

“How could you possibly defense him? You’d have to have a 7-foot defensive back. . . . I was all ready to sign him for the Kansas City Chiefs, but his basketball club had other plans for him.”

Add Stram: As a former coach, Stram has nothing against coaches--except perhaps their growing numbers.

“When the Kansas City Chiefs won Super Bowl IV, the team had six coaches,” Stram wrote. “The minimum today is 11, and some squads have 13, so you’ve got as many people on the sideline coaching as there are people on the field--or even more.

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“In a critical situation the quarterback will go over to the sideline and talk to the offensive coordinator. Meanwhile, the head coach is at the other end of the bench, kicking artificial turf. . . . It’s hard sometimes to tell what a head coach contributes.”

The Unkindest Cut: Herman Edwards, the 32-year-old cornerback released Monday by the Philadelphia Eagles, never missed a start in his nine-year career, but he will be remembered for one play that became known as “The Miracle of the Meadowlands.”

It occurred in a game late in the 1978 season when the New York Giants were leading the Eagles, 12-10, with just 31 seconds left and needed only to fall on the ball to ensure victory. Instead, quarterback Joe Pisarcik tried to hand off to fullback Larry Csonka, the ball squirted loose and Edwards scooped it up and ran 26 yards for the touchdown that gave Philadelphia a 17-12 win.

The victory helped the Eagles make the playoffs for the first time since 1960, and the entire Giants’ coaching staff was fired.

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Santa Clauses: John L. Williams, a rookie fullback from the University of Florida who signed a four-year, $1.582-million contract with Seattle, has a strange set of incentive clauses in his deal, according to Newsday’s Peter King.

If Williams plays 50% of the offensive snaps, he’ll earn one of the following payoffs, whichever brings him the most money:

--$20 for each of the team’s yards rushing, if Seattle finishes in the top three in the conference in third-down efficiency.

--$15 for each of the team’s yards rushing, if the Seahawks make the playoffs.

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--$10 for each of the team’s yards rushing, if he reaches neither of the above.

One more thing. Williams will get $2,000 for every touchdown he scores.

Keep on Truckin’: Oklahoma Coach Barry Switzer, whose Sooners have been voted No. 1 in preseason college football rankings, was asked by Kevin Widlic of the Denver Post whether there is any other job he’d like to have.

“Yeah,” replied Switzer, whose winning percentage of .831 is best in the nation among Division I-A coaches. “I’d like to be president of Oklahoma Truck Lines in Oklahoma City. And not worry about your damned won-lost record.”

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Quotebook

Notre Dame Coach Lou Holtz, on quarterback Steve Beuerlein’s ability to run with the ball: “Beuerlein can beat you with his arm, his head or his heart. He cannot beat you with his feet.”


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