He may be a bit sneaky with his play-calling but there is nothing devious about Terry Bradshaw when he talks about injuries.
"I feel fine," the Pittsburgh Steelers' leading man said today at practice for Sunday's game here against the Houston Oilers. And then he demonstrated it.
Bradshaw suffered an injured left big toe when someone fell on his leg in Monday night's 16-13 overtime victory over the New England Patriots. Today, after he finished his usual assignments, on his own he began punting the ball for a half-hour.
If he felt any distress supporting 215 pounds on his injured foot while kicking, it didn't show. He gradually worked his way up to a five-second hang time, prompting a bystander to observe that he is the best punter in the National Football League among thos who do not kick regularly. He consistently averaged 40 yards.
Bradshaw is said to play well when hurt, so there is no overt concern when he is ailing a bit.
Two years ago, Coach Chuck Noll uncharacteristically ventured an opinion that running back Sidney Thornton might become the best blocker he has ever seen. Now, with his blooming as a runner -- he gained 44 yards on 12 carries Monday night -- Pittsburgh fans are giddy at the notion of him as a fixture in the same backfield with 225-pound Franco Harris.
Art Ronney Sr., the boss emeritus of the Pittsburgh Steelers, rarely offers opinions on opposing teams these days, but he made an exception when a Boston interviewer asked about Monday night's game in New England.
"I'm afraid of the quarterback you've got there," Rooney said. The interviewer presumed he meant Steve Grogan, and corrected him.
"Oh, no," Ronney said, "I mean that Matt Cavanaugh," referring to the backup, a second-year man from Pittsburgh.
Rooney, who has seen all the good ones, said today, "the Patriots don't have to wait two or three years to play him; he's ready to start right now."
Dwight Wheeler, offensive tackle of the Patriots, was asked about his reaction to Darryl Stingley visiting the players before the game against the Steelers.
"I was glad to see he could make the trip here from Chicago," Wheeler said. "And I think it gave us a lift in the game. As far as reminding us of the danger of injuries, I say, if I'm going to get hurt I'm going to get hurt."
Mel Gray of the St. Louis Cardinals says he is motivated to play so well against Dallas "because Cliff Harris, Aaron Kyle and Bennie Barnes tell me how slow I'm getting all the time, that I'm getting old and have lost all my moves. To intimidate Harris I spike the ball at him in the end zone. I get his dandruff up pretty good."