Mack Alston of the Baltimore Colts chuckles at the memory of being a tight end with the Redskins under George Allen, when the coach barred the media from secret practices.
Asked what went on in those sessions different from when reporters were allowed to view the workouts, Alston said, "Nothing." He amended that to say except when Allen put in a five-man line to surprise the Green Bay Packers in a playoff game in 1972.
Alston says Coach Ted Marchibroda's practices are as long as Allen's, more than two hours. When the tight end was with Houston, Coach Sid Gillman limited workouts to 90 minutes and had champagne for the players on the planes after road games.
The Detroit Lions are going with two quarterbacks who did not throw a pass during the 1978 regular season, Joe Reed and Scott Hunter, who was with Altanta.
When Lion starter Gary Danielson was lost for the season in their final exhibition, at Baltimore, it was recalled that Bert Jones was lost for most of the 1978 season after being hurt in the last exhibition, against Detroit.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are not rooting for QUBE to become popular on television. That is the technique that enables viewers to respond to what they see and hear. The Steelers fear their fans would want to have a say in the starting lineups.
Two running backs have rushed for more than 1,000 yards a season in both conferences and both are unhappy with their contracts. Delvin Williams made the 1,000-Yard Club with the AFC Miami Dolphins and NFC San Francisco 49ers; John Riggins with the AFC New York Jets and NFC Redskins.
Mike Thomas, former Redskin running back, carried the ball 26 times for 23 yards and caught six passes for 37 yards in San Diego's four exhibitions. Lydell Mitchell, former Colt running back, rushed for 26 yards in 16 carries.
Steve Atkins, from the University of Maryland, rushed for 45 yards in 14 carries and caught two passes for six yards in the Green Bay Packers' four exhibitions.
Russell Erxleben suffered as the New Orleans Saints' No. 1 draft pick from Texas as a near flop but a running gag erased the burden until he did connect. "Hows things." a teammate would ask and Erxleben would say, "I can't kick."
Rookie kicker Tony Franklin from Texas A&M kicked 43- and 49-yard field goals for the Philadelphia Eagles and Coach Dick Vermeil says, "He has the strongest leg I've ever seen on a football field."