Former Washington Redskin quarterback Eddie LeBaron, one of the smallest players in the National Football League, has agreed to tackle a big job - general manager of the Atlanta Falcons.
"We've got a handshake on it," Falcon woner Rankin Smith said today when asked if LeBoarn had the job.
There's only one obstacle to the hiring, said Smith. "He still has to do discuss the move with one of his law partners, but he doesn't anticipate any problems."
"Let me say I've discussed the job and I'll be in Atlanta in day or two," LeBaron said when contacted at his Las Vegas home.
LeBaron was a star at the College of the Pacific. At 5-foot-7 and 160 pounds when he quarterbacked the Redskins for a decade, he was the smallest player in the league. Redskin owner George Preston Marshall always insisted on listing LeBaron the program at 5-9 and 180.
In 1956, he quarterbacked the East to victory over the West in the Pro Bowl.
Except for a couple of stints as a quarterback coach, and some television work, he has been out of football for 14 years. One of those coaching stints was for the Falcons when he worked with quarterbacks Bob Berry and Randy Johnson.
Smith said LeBaron will select a new head coach for the Falcons. The field has narrowed, according to reports, to two assistant coaches, Dan Reeves of Dallas or Leeman Bennett of Los Angeles.
The Atlanta Constitution reported today that Smith and LeBaron had "agreed on financila arrangements and areas of responsibility."
It would take "an eleventh-hour change of heart," the front-page article said, to keep LeBaron, 46, from assuming control of the Falcon front office.
LeBaron is regarded as a boost for the Falcons front-office image because of his abilities as an attorney and ad- ministrator and his knowledge of the game, the newspaper said.
Both Reeves and Bennett were said to be aware of Smith's preference for LeBaron as general manager.
Smith had sounded out Bobby Beathard, personnel director of the Miami Dolphines, before deciding on LeBaron, but Beathard told the Constitution Sunday he was not in line for the position.
LeBaron quarterbacked the Redskins from 1952 through 1959, except in 1954 when he was in the Korean War as a Marine. He was dealt to the expansion Dallas Cowboys in 1960 and played there until the end of his football career in 1963.
During his career, he passed for 13,399 yards in 1,796 attempts for 105 touchdowns. He had a 50 per cent completion rate.
He led the NFL in passings as a Redskin in 1958 when he threw for 1,365 yards and 11 touchdowns.
He also punted 171 times for a 40.9 average.