Pro Football Spotlight

SWITZER SAYS HE'S SORRY, HALEY SAYS HE ISN'T

So far, Barry Switzer's new assertive persona hasn't been as popular among Cowboy players as his old Alfred E. Neuman what-me-worry? persona.

During last week's loss to the Redskins, Switzer argued heatedly on the sideline with Emmitt Smith. A day later he ripped defensive linemen Charles Haley, Leon Lett and Tom Tolbert for ignoring the run, saying their play had "embarrassed" Switzer and his coaches.

Then he apologized to the ripped players, telling the press that in the future, "I'm not going to give you that information. I'm not going to load your gun. I'm not going to give you the bullets to shoot with."

Haley responded by taking the week off because of back problems. Switzer brought him off the bench in Sunday's game, after which Haley went off on Switzer.

"All I ask for is a little respect," said Haley in an expletive-filled tirade. "Just a little. They can mess with my mind this year. They'll never get me back in this uniform again."

The tightly-wound Haley had similar problems with the 49ers, packing it in so dramatically after a public rebuke by Coach George Seifert that the team traded him to Dallas in 1992. Now Haley says Switzer can keep his medicine and his apologies.

"I don't care what he [Switzer] tried to do," Haley said. "He made it [the criticism]. Don't go back on it. He made it sincere. What's he going to do, apologize sincere? I don't play that.

"I have no love lost for none of them [coaches], trust me. The defensive coaches don't have any faith in me. If they want me to be a second-team player, I'm going to play it this year but I'm not going to do it any more."

COUNTING THE DAYS UNTIL PRIME TIME

In case anyone thinks, it's going to get any quieter soon in Big D, be advised that Deion Sanders' debut is now tentatively scheduled for Oct. 29 against one of his many former teams, the Falcons.

The Cowboys were hoping that Sanders, who underwent arthroscopic ankle surgery Sept. 25, could play in next week's game against the Chargers, but he is limping in light workouts. There is now concern that his left calf has atrophied slightly.

"He was half-speed," said Switzer, "but he looked good."

Yet to be determined is whether Switzer will address Prime Time as Mr. Sanders, or Your Honor.

COUNTING THE DAYS 'TIL THE OFF-SEASON

At this point, it's hard to remember that the aged Jets owner Leon Hess hired Rich Kotite as coach because he wanted to "win now," but that was that they were saying, one victory and five losses ago.

Kotite, who started Vance Joseph, a rookie who'd been a reserve quarterback in college and had never played defense, at cornerback against the Raiders' Tim Brown last week, Sunday started another player at a position he'd never played when Everett McIver, a defensive lineman in college, was converted to offensive tackle and thrown in against the Bills' Bruce Smith.

"We believe in them," said Kotite. "The only thing they don't have is experience.

"We told Everett there were going to be times when he would be one-on-one with Smith," said Jets center Cal Dixon. "He said, 'No, no, no! You can't put me alone with him.'

Seriously. The Bills won, 23-10. Smith had 1 1/2 sacks and knocked Jets quarterback Boomer Esiason out of the game.

IN JACKSONVILLE, PENNANT FEVER

The expansion Cougars have it all now: the winning streak, the frenzied fans. . . the trash talk.

After Sunday's 20-16 victory over the Steelers, who had come in as 10-point favorites, Brian DeMarco, the Jaguars' rookie right tackle said the established team had shown them no respect.

"I really feel Pittsburgh came in here with the wrong attitude," said DeMarco, "like all they had to do is show up and they could roll over us."

Mark Brunell, who won the quarterback job from Steve Beuerlein by coming off the bench to throw a last-minute touchdown pass to beat the Oilers, threw for 189 yards and a touchdown.

"With a win like this comes a lot of confidence," Brunell said. "I'm gaining confidence in my own ability and with those around me. Everyone is becoming more familiar with each other and that's helping. I'm excited with the direction we're going."

Many in the crowd of 72,042 chanted "Wild card! Wild card!" The Jaguars strutted off the field to the Queen song "We Are The Champions."

HERE'S SOME FOR YOU AND SOME FOR YOU

Perhaps suffering confused loyalties, the Vikings' Warren Moon had his best statistical game of the eason in his first meeting with his former Oilers teammates, throwing for 289 yards and two touchdowns in Minnesota's 23-17 overtime victory.

Moon also threw two interceptions, one of which safety Chuck Cecil returned 20 yards for a touchdown. Darryll Lewis' 78-yard return of a Moon interception was nullified by a roughing penalty against Houston.

Houston, which lost to expansion Jacksonville last week, is now 4-18 since trading Moon for two draft picks in April, 1994.

INJURY REPORT

Jet quarterback Boomer Esiason was knocked out of th game against the Bills with a concussion sustained on a hard hit from Bruce Smith. Esiason laid on the turf for four minutes and appeared groggy as he walked off the field. He did not return and was still trying to regain his memory two hours after the game. . . . Brown wide receiver Andre Rison, appearing in his 100th NFL game, suffered a bruise to his right knee during the first quarter of Sunday's game between the Browns and Detroit Lions. Rison was hit by the Lions' Chris Spielman and was carried off the field. . . . Oiler quarterback Chris Chandler re-injured his sprained right shoulder when hit by Minnesota's Ed McDaniel with 18 seconds left in regulation. In the overtime, backup Will Furrer's second pass was intercepted, setting up the Vikings' game-winning score.

NOTEWORTHY

Dan Marino set an NFL record with his 3,687th pass completions, eclipsing the mark set by Fran Tarkenton during 18 seasons with the Vikings and Giants. Marino hit Keith Byars for six yards to set the record. . . . Emmitt Smith scored two touchdowns, tying him with Tony Dorsett for the Cowboy record of 86 touchdowns. Smith has 82 rushing touchdowns in 83 games, making him No. 8 in NFL history. Smith passed Ottis Anderson and is one short of Jim Taylor for seventh. Walter Payton is tops with 110. . . . Reggie White increased his NFL-record career total to 150 with a third-quarter sack of Troy Aikman. White has 5 1/2 sacks in five games. . . . Cowboy receiver Michael Irvin went over 100 yards receiving for the fourth straight game, a team record. . . . Packer quarterback Brett Favre hit 21 of 41 passes for 295 yards but failed in his quest to set the NFL record of at least two TD passes in 13 consecutive games. . . . Bear halfback Rashaan Salaam, the 1994 Heisman Trophy winner, rushed 28 times for 105 yards in his fifth game and second start. By comparison, Payton's first 100-yard game as a Chicago rookie in 1975 came in Week 9. . . . Richard Dent, the Bears' career sacks leader, returned to Chicago's lineup for the first time since leaving as a free agent in 1993. Playing in passing situations, he made no tackles.

QUOTEWORTHY

Tampa Bay Coach Sam Wyche after a 19-16 victory over Cincinnati put his 4-2 Bucs in first place in the NFC Central: "As you write your ugly headlines, just don't misprint . That's 4-dash-2. I can see the expressions on some of your faces that that was not good enough. There was a time I could remember fans, and some of you, saying to me: 'Just win, just do it somehow . . . Maybe it's a sign that we've moved to another level now that you expect us to win big."

Cincinnati quarterback Jeff Blake, who had five turnovers after signing a four-year, $12.4-million contract extension: "Don't say nothing to me about money. Just ask me about football. Don't mention money to me. I'm here to play football. That's all I'm going to say."

Cardinal Coach Buddy Ryan before the game between his 1-4 Cardinals and the 1-4 Giants, won by New York, 27-21, in overtime: "This is a must-win game for both of us."

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

TOP PERFORMANCES

PASSING

*--*

Player, Team Att. Cmp. Yds. TD JEFF HOSTETLER, Raiders 33 20 333 2 JIM HARBAUGH, Colts 33 25 319 3 TROY AIKMAN, Cowboys 31 24 316 2 DAVE KRIEG, Cardinals 38 23 305 2 BRETT FAVRE, Packers 41 21 295 1 WARREN MOON, Vikings 43 28 289 2 JOHN ELWAY, Broncos 34 21 287 2 SCOTT MITCHELL, Lions 38 24 273 2 ERIK KRAMER, Bears 41 23 259 3 RODNEY PEETE, Eagles 45 30 256 1

*--*

RECEIVING

*--*

Player, Team Rec. Yds. TD YANCEY THIGPEN, Steelers 6 160 0 MICHAEL IRVIN, Cowboys 8 150 1 TIM BROWN, Raiders 5 143 1 HERMAN MOORE, Lions 9 125 0 REGGIE BROOKS, Packers 10 124 0 ALVIN HARPER, Buccaneers 6 117 0 CRIS CARTER, Vikings 12 115 2

*--*

RUSHING

*--*

Player, Team Car. Yds. TD HARVEY WILLIAMS, Raiders 19 160 1 BARRY SANDERS, Lions 18 157 3 RICKY WATTERS, Eagles 25 139 0 THURMAN THOMAS, Bills 27 133 1 CHARLIE GARNER, Eagles 9 120 3 GARRISON HEARST, Cardinals 23 122 0

*--*

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