Ken Michael Stabler struck a blow yesterday for every player timid about wanting to renegotiate his contract, and for his boss, Al Davis, who usually is cast as a villian.
Stabler, quarterback of the Super Bowl champion Oakland Raiders, said he may try to renegotiate the upcoming last season on a three-year contract and would like to sign maybe a seven- to 10-year agreement, "depending on the money."
Most surprising was his disclosure, "I've renegotiated contracts with him (Davis). If I say I want to, we redo a contract. It takes a special guy like Davis."
Stabler was asked before receiving the Hickok award as the professional athlete of the year last night at the Touchdown Club banquet if he wanted to be the highest-paid quarterback.
"It is not a goal," he said. "Who is the highest paid? Joe Namath - what does he make, $450,000 or $500,000? Or (Fran) Tarkenton? I don't know. "That's down the line. I don't know how Davis feels about a longterm contract. I didn't feel this way until after we won the Super Bowl . . . now, somewho you want to play out your days at Oakland. I will play it by ear."
It is estimated that Stabler earns about $200,000 annually. His value shot up when the World Football League offered him a reported $1.5 million, although he collected about $70,000 before the Birmingham club folded.
The irony of Stabler being the leader on the winning side in the Super Bowl is that Tarkenton has had a higher profile since the game, on network television, for instance, despite coming off the loser in the Minnesota Viking's fourth failure in the big game.
Stabler tried to put a good face on that by saying, "Tarkenton has played longer than I have; he's been in three Super Bowls.
"And there is a question of whether I would want to spend more time at it, in and out of airports and at cocktail parties. I enjoy my personal time . . . I like to hunt, fish, boat and run around.
"How much you can make on the outside depends on how much you hustle. I will probably earn $100,000 at it this year. I participate in four boys camps, and my own - from which I don't try to make money - and last year I represented a sporting goods firm."
Stabler chews tobacco and has said that he never had an idol in sports, but if he did it would be Bobby Layne, the onetime Detroit Lion and Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback.
"He was a gritty son of a gun who could drink all night and throw two or three touchdowns the next day," Stabler says. "He never minded taking a drink, and neither do I."
He vents some hostilities with a heavy foot on an accelerator. Last year, he won a drag race in Foley driving a 1970 Dodge.
In tribute to his offensive line. Stabler said yesterday, "I don't get hit much: I was on the ground only once during the Super Bowl."
He can laugh about having a tooth knocked out accidentally by linebacker Jack Ham in the playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. "I am going to send him the bill for it," Stanbler said.