In view of the spate of quarterback injuries in the National Football League, the big news on the day that clubs had to cut down to 43 players was that no team claimed Jim Plunkett off the waiver list.
The former Heisman Trophy winner thus became a free agent, means that if a club wants to sign him now it will not have to honor the terms of the contract he had with the San Francisco 49ers, who believed to have paid him more than $200,000 annually.
There was speculation the Miami Dolphins night be interested in negotiating with Plunkett. Bob Griese, whose knee was injured Friday, reportedly will lost for more than the originally estimated half a season.
Coach Don Shula was said to be theorizing that Plunkett could fit quickly into the Miami system because he played his first season at San Francisco under former 49er Coach Monte Clark, onetime offensive line coach of the Dolphins.
Plunkett has had good performances against Miami teams.
A source in Miami said the Dolphins were more concerned about obtaining a punter since Larry Seiple was put on the injured-reserve list with a knee injury, which means he will be out for the season.
George Roberts, the rookie free agent from Virginia Tech recently waived by the Redskins, is trying out with the Dolphins. He averaged 42.2 yards for nine punts with the Redskins.
Plunkett, who will be 31 in December, completed only one of his last 18 passes with the 49ers, and was zero for 11 against Oakland in an exhibition loss.
He is regarded as a sensitive person, who was disconcerted for a whole season at New England because Coach Chuck Fairbanks called the plays for him.
Plunkett was unhappy, too, at not calling the plays the early part of last season at San Francisco, under former Coach Ken Meyer. When Plunkett was allowed to run the offense, he showed a marked improvement.
There was expectation that Plunkett would be on trial when Joe Thomas took over as general manager. When Thomas was with the Baltimore Colts, he was reported to be unenthusiastic about Plunkett's performances at New England and later at San Francisco.
Yet, San Francisco sources report that Pete McCulley, the new coach, personally worked with Plunkett in the offseason and admired the quarterback's strong arm.
He led the 49ers to an 8-6 record under Clark, but did not have a winning season in five years at New England. He said of being dropped by the 49ers, "I didn't take it too badly. I don't know. I expected I would react differently, but right now it doesn't bother me much."
TR FOR ADD TWO
Thomas reportedly said the cost of Plunkett's contract was a factor in his being cut.
"I think, well, it had somt bearing," Thomas said."But it wasn't the No. 1 thing. He wasn't going to improve as a football player for us and maybe a new environment will help. There was extra pressure on him to do well here."
Besides Miami, other clubs that have temporarly lost quarterbacks through injuries are Baltimore (Bert Jones), Green Bay (David Whitehurst) and Cincinnati (Ken Anderson.)
WASHINGTON REDSKINS - Cut 14-year veteran center Len Hauss, Linebacker Rusty Tillman, defensive ends Dennis Johnson and Duncan McColl, tackle Mike Hughes and tight and Jim Mandich and wide receiver Larry Franklin. Claimed on waivers running back-special teamer Jack Dolopline from Pittsburgh.
BALTIMORE CLOTS - Cut 10-year veteran fullback TAom Watkins, detensive tackle Ken Novak, linebacker Dan Dickel, defensive back John Henderson and wide receiver Dexter Foaster. Placed defensive and Ron Fmands and tacks Dave Taylor on injured reserve. Placed newly acquired running back Joe Washington in the reserve-did-not-report-to-came category. Resigned defensive back Tim Baylor and linepacker Calvin O'Neal.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS - Acquired two defensive ends, Bill Cooks from San Francisco and Brad Weirda from Denver, both on walvers.
DENVER BRONCOS - Completine a trade made two weeks ago with Detroit, they submitted a list of five players to the Lions, who will choose two of them. Walved seven players but did not release their names.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES - Cut defensive lineman Greg Marshall, center Mark Sister, safety Bernard Wilson and tight end Darryl Washington.
NEW YORK GIANTS - Cut safety Clyde Powers, center Karl Chandler and guard Bill Epenboage.Receiver Brian DeRoo was put on injured reserve.
DALLAS COWBOYS - Cut fullback Larry Brinson, defensive tackle Greg Schaum and defensive end Dave Koaayeveld. Another player was cut, but not named.
HUSTON OILERS - Cut four-time NFL punting champion Jerrel Wilson, 12-year veteran Corner - back Zeke Moore, quarterback Tommy Duniven, tackle Kevln Hunt, receiver Johnny Dircen and safety Guido Merkens. Placed defensive end Jim Mnl on injured reserve.
BUFFAL BILLS - Cut kicker Tom Demosey and linebacker John Skorupan and defensive tackle Bill Dunstan and put running back Mike Collier on the injured reserve list.
CLEVELAND BROWNS - Pronounced wide receiver Regale Rucker probable for Sunday's game with San Francisco. Rucker was found to have a sprained arch in his foot.Orginally, it wa thought he had suffered a broken foot.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS - Cut guard John Hichs, linebacker Dove Becker and running back Jack Deloplaine, who was claimed by Washington. Cut three other players who were not named.
CINCINNATI RENGALS - Cut safety Jerry Anderson, guard Greg Fairchild, defensive tackle Ken Johnson, receiver Joh McDaniel, linebackers Ray Phillips and Ron Shumon and running back Wille Shelby. ANderson was claimed by Tampa Bay. McDaniel by Kansas CIty and Shelby by Atlanta. Signed Dick Jauron. Claimed defensive lineman Dave Purelrov from New England.
OAKLAND RAIDERS - Traded kicker Errol Mann, linebacker Randy McClanahan and receiver Mike Levenseller to Buffalo for "past considerations." Cut cornerback Maurice Harvey. Put running back Derrick Jensen on injured reserve.
ATLANTA FALCONS - Sinned linebacker Garth Tennapel Cut linebacker Ron McCartned.
MINNFSOTA VIKINGS - Announced that veteran defensive end Carl Eller is in an [WORD ILLEGIBLE] category" after missing a Sunday practice Eller is having contract problems.
DETROIT LIONS - Put cornerback Lem Barney on the injured walver list.
MIAMI DOLPHINS - Cut defensive end John Alexander.