Bart Starr, Green Bay's coach, talked with NFL officials yesterday about "the Duane Thomas matter." They will review the facts.
Trouble somehow follows Thomas, the former Dallas and Washington running back lately employed in the accounting department of a Hollywood movie studio, and this time it found its way with him to Vince Lombardi land. Free agent Thomas turned up for a tryout a week ago Monday, and this Monday he was still around using Packer facilties and equipment. League rules limit free agent trials to one day.
Four Wilconsin reporters confronted Starr with their "understanding" the Packers were paying Thomas' motel bills and their sightings of the onetime All-Pro around the Lambeau Field training site. The usually poised coach blew up - he hasn't yet gotten over loss of a fourth-round draft choice as penalty for being found out giving an illegal workout for college players.
Starr warned the writers that if they printed anything that led to loss of another draft pick, they are not going to come through the door again.
Despite the "stashing" prohibition. Starr said the Packers had brought in other running backs and kept them more than one day but "now you're doing this just because it's Duane Thomas. And we're not even going to sign him."
"There are bloodthirsty blankety blanks out there trying to get an edge, working out guys in pads and with their teams," Starr boiled. "They're cheating. We don't cheat. But we're going to got to the limit within the rules and we're going to bend them within the framework.