Joe Thomas, who "won" last year's National Football League draft, this week will miss his first one in 19 years and he wants to do something about that.
From his residence in Atherton, Calif., Thomas said yesterday he has the financial backing to buy a team.
Thomas, fired as vice president and general manager of the 49ers in January, said that if he finds another franchise for sale he would "run the team under the new owner."
That is a prospect that could be unsettling to general managers and coaches, with George Allen, who never has coached a losing season, also available.
"I want to get back into pro football by fall or next year," Thomas said. "It's a funny feeling being out of it since January. I always looked forward to the draft. It fascinated me.
"The players are the blood and guts of teams. I'd find them, and then a coach. It would be unfair to the coach the other way around."
How would he draft if he landed an expansion franchise or a rundown team?"
"First, a quarterback," Thomas said. "He ought to be the type that comes right out and hits you with his image. There seems to be one every four or five years. It is somewhat a gamble with the others."
Thomas recalled drafting Fran Tarkenton and Bob Griese, respectively, for the expansion teams of Minnesota and Miami and Bert Jones for the deteriorated Baltimore Colts.
Thomas said of his cleanouts at Baltimore and San Francisco, "I don't know how to do it slowly; I'm afraid of staying mediocre too long. You've got to bite the bullet-now."