O. J. Simpson, who limped into retirement after the 1979 season, left the game as the National Football League's highest paid player, according to league salary figures obtained by The Washington Post.
Simpson, who carried the football only 120 times last season, earned $806,668 in his final campaign, a $73,000 raise from the previous season, when he also led the Nfl.
Figures computed by the Nfl's Management Council indicate the average player salary rose $6,200 from a season ago, to $68,893.
The Council also broke down salaries from first-year players to 20-year players by position, listing the highest salary paid, the lowest, the average per position and the median per position.
Using those figures (without names of players), previously published salary estimate and interviews with several NFL sources, it is possible to deduce some of the game's highest paid players.
Another running back, Chicago's Walter Payton, was the second highest paid NFL player, earning $450,000 in 1979. Other prosperous ball-carriers include the Redskins' John Riggins at $300,000; Earl Campbell of Houston at $206,000 and Tony Dorsett of Dallas at $200,000.
Quarterbacks had the highest salaries in the NFL, averaging $113,932 in 1979. Miami quarterback Bob Criese led the group at $400,000, followed by Houston's Dan Pastorini at $379,000.
Sources say the Colts' Bert Jones earned $275,000 for a season in which he was mostly sidelined with a shoulder injury. Graig Mortion of Denver earned $241,000, Joe Theismann of the Redskins $180,000 and -- in the bargain of the year -- the Cowboys paid Roger Staubach $160,000.
Minnesota tackle Ron Yary, Oakland guard Gene Upshaw and Miami guard Larry Little led the offensive linemen, earning $150,000 each.
Russ Francis, the New England Patriot tight end, was the highest paid receiver at $202,000, with Lynn Swann of the Steelers the highest paid wide receiver at $177,000.
Pittsburgh's Jack Ham overtook Philadelphia's Bill Bergey as the league's highest-paid linebacker, earned $230,000. Bergey, who missed most of the season with an injury, was paid for his pain at $215,000.
Lee Roy Selmon, Tampa Bay's all-pro end, was the highest-paid defensive lineman at $218,000. Viking Jim Marshall, the oldest man in the league at 41, earned $115,000 in his final season.
Willie Buchanon, the Chargers' vet eran cornerback, led the defensive backs at $170,000. Redskin safety Ken Houston made $140,000 and cornerback Lemar Parrish got $141,000.
The New Orleans Saints surely set a record for salaries paid placekickers. Russell Erxleben, the Saints' No. 1 draft choice who missed most of the season with a leg injury, led all NFL kickers at $110,000.
When he was hurt, the Saints signed Garo Yepremian as a free agent and made him the league's second-highest paid kicker, at $98,000.