Cowboy quarterback Roger Staubach said today, "There is no way I won't be able to play next week" in the NFC championship game Sunday.
Staubach suffered what he described as a mild concussion in the Cowboys' 27-20 playoff victory over Atlanta Saturday. He was hit by Falcon linebacker Robert Pennywell after releasing a pass late in the first half.
Team doctors would not allow him to play, and he watched from the sideline with a stinging headache as his backup, third-year man Danny White, directed the Cowboys to two secondhalf touchdowns and the victory.
"I feel fine today, I've just got a little headache," said Staubach. "I lost about 15 minutes of what was going on after I came to. By the end of the third quarter, I knew who people were and where I was.
"By the fourth quarter, I probably could have played, but the doctors said no way. If I'd gotten hit again, it could have been pretty serious."
Asked if there was any doubt that he would be able to play Sunday he said "No, no, no, no, geez, no, there's no concern at all about next week. I've been knocked out worse than that. I could play tomorrow if I had to. It's going to be fine."
After the game, Dallas Coach Tom Landry complained about Pennywell's hit, saying, "there's no place in football for something like that. It ought to be dealt with by the (NFL) commissioner (Pete Rozelle)."
Staubach said he had no idea whether Pennywell had deliberately tried to hurt him.
"He must have done something because the referees threw a flag," Staubach said. "But I've seen the picture in the paper and it looks like my head bounced off the turf.
"During the game, people said it was a forearm or an elbow to my head, but to tell you the truth, I was knocked out, completely gone, and I don't remember a thing.
"To be knocked out as bad as I was, I would doubt that a foreatrm could have done that. I'm sure it happened when my head hit the ground, but I won't be able to tell until I see it on film."
Staubach was examined by a team physican this morning and he said he had been cleared to practice when the team gathers for its Monday workout.
Staubach also said he was impressed with the performance of White, who completed 10 of 20 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown against the Falcons.
"He did all the things he had to do and all the things we had set out to do in the game plan," Staubach said. "I felt great myself when we started the game.I was looking forward to a big day, but Danny came through for us when it really counted. You have to give him all the credit in the world."
Many Cowboys did precisely that after the game.
"Danny was execelient in the huddle," said wide receiver Drew Pearson. "He'd not only call the play, but he'd tell the offensive line or backs to be alert to a blitz or an audible, what defense it looked like they'd be in.
"He was very poised. He'll even speak to the receivers when a play is called to make them aware of their adjustments. That's leadership in a quarterback. And when Danny does that, he's in complete charge of the offensive team."
"There's no lack of confidence when Danny's in there," added fullback Scott Laidlaw, who scored two touch-downs, the second a game-winning one-yard dive off left tackle.
"Be (White) played in our last game against the Jets, and he had a great game," Laidlaw said. "I think it gave him a lot more confidence. We just knew we had to pull together, either with Danny or Roger, and I guess maybe we pulled a little harder for Danny."