Some National Football League club owners -- and the University of Notre Dame -- may call for a draft or a lottery to be conducted when Don Shula's contract at Miami expires after the 1980 season.
Professional clubs would be advised to offer stock. Joe Robbie did at Miami. Shula later sold it back to him. Owner and coach now communicate at arm's length.
The contracts of Ray Perkins, rookie head coach of the New York Giants, and Jack Pardee of the Redskins expire at the same time and both clubs have general managers who once worked for Shula -- George Young and Bobby Beathard. But Pardee is the toast of Washington.
When the Dolphins play the Colts on Sunday, the talk will be about Shula returning to Baltimore. Ted Marchibroda has three years to go on his Colt contract.
Even before the report about Ara Parseghian being considered by the Colts was dashed, it was recalled that Parseghian turned down the New England job before Chuch Fairbanks accepted it. The intermittent talk about Shula going to Notre Dame in 1981 is escalating again, with Dan Devine having a disappointing season.
Los Angeles is expected to make a coaching change, but Don Klosterman, the general manager, hardly figures to recommend Shula to do that job as well. John Robinson is still the hot pick for the Rams.
Shula played for Paul Brown at Cleveland, and Brown admires Shula, but would Brown want to give up his general managership at Cincinnati, or some of the stock he owns? Give Baltimore the edge.
The Baltimore Sun reports that Colts' attendance is down 5,118 per game from 1978 and the Colts are headed for their worst season at the gate since 1974. The Colts have not sold out since the playoff against Oakland on Christmas Eve 1977. They had 51 straight sellouts during the Johnny Unitas dynasty.
Can John McKay be denied coach-of-the-year honors if he goes 13-3 with a 4-year-old franchise?
As any candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame should consider, all-time Cleveland guard Abe Gibron has a football-shaped swimming pool at his new house in Tampa, where he is an assistant with the Bucs.
Look for Thomas Henderson to follow Ed (Too Tall) Jones and Ernie (Fats) Holmes in efforts to trade football identity for one-shot purses as boxers.
Off Thursday's performance defensive end John Dutton may yet be a big help to Dallas in its playoff drive. Now, if the Cowboys can get safety Charle Waters back, the funeral arrangements will become premature.