And now, he-e-e-e-e-re's Johnny! And, of course, Micheal.
Welcome to the National Football League the 1972 Heisman Trophy winner, the old Nebraska twinklefoot Johnny Rodgers - and with whom else than the San Diego Chargers, the team he traded insults with before becoming a Canadian leaguer. Burning up the Canadian league, we might say - at least burning up coach Marv Levy and the management of the Montreal Alousettes, for whom he toiled these four years, with an alleged bad attitude and indisposition to practice in 1976.
Michael? Why, that's Michael Trope, Rodgers' agent and business representative for three subsequent Heisman winners too. Including Tony Dorsett, who Trope declared will shop for NFL bids from anybody, draft ot no draft. Not to mention Rickey Bell, the runner-up to Dorsett, who Trope offers could end up with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers "with or without a draft."
That's Trope's policy for current college seniors in his stable ' make your moves while the draft is in legal limbo and let the chips fall into you lap.
In the case of Rodgers, Chargers' 1973 No. 1 draftee, there reportedly was an effort to have San Diego trade NFL rights to him away, after he escaped his Montreal obligations through the loophole of a 30-day option in his contract in which he could sign with another team than the Alouettes. Then Rodgers and Chargers kissed and made up.
After watching Rodgers sign a series of one-year contracts yesterday in San Diego - supposedly the richest package the Charges have awarded since the shadow of Johnny Unitas got $600,000 in 1973 - Troup said "Montreal made a stupid mistake that left him a free agent," and, how lucky can you get, the Alouettes probably will have to heap a big cash settlement on the new exAlouette.
Running back Rodgers, best known as a kick returner, conceivably could be converted into an NFL receiver, what with 1976 No! 1 pick Joe Washington of Oklahoma due to play in the Charger backfield after missing his rookie year hurt.
Rodgers crossed the border because, he complained, San Diego in '72 was offering him "fourth and fifth round money" and there was a lot more lucre in Montreal. Looking north again, Trope had conversed about Dorsett with the Toronto Argonauts, who have CFL rights to Pitt's hero, bringing forth from Argo general manager Dick Shatto, "He's starting at a million dooars for three years, and that's a bit too rich for our blood". . .