Billy Sims picked his spot and ran to daylight yesterday -- lest anyone forget the recent NFL draft amid the NBA and NHL conscription hullabaloo -- by grabing off the richest contract ever given a rookie in Pete Rozlle's league.
How rich? You shouldn't ask, say the Oklahoma flash's new employers, the Detroit Lions. Just say, advised Sims' agent Jerry Argovitz, noting that a confidentiality clause in the agreement forbids public disclosure of the terms, that "I wouldn't exchange it (the pact) for that of any player in the country."
Argovitz spoke up about his 1978 Heisman Trophy client before the word later in the day that 1979 Heisman halfback Charles White of USC also had signed with the Cleveland Browns. But no questions that Sims' stipend easily exceeds White's. Both were first-round draft picks but Sims was No. 1 in the whole shebang; White 27th.
But the Trojan workhorse didn't come cheap; his agent, Mike Trope, said the Browns wrapped him up for six years with a base exceeding $1 million and a potential for upward of $2 million based on production. En garde, Greg Pruitt!
As for Sims -- presented his Oklahoma jersey number, 20, by Lion Coach Monte Clark on a day when another Detroit team, the Tigers, announced that it will break club precedent on Aug. 17 and retire the No. 6 worn by Al Kaline -- the Lions initially offered $700,000 while Argovitz talked $4.5 million, and haggling went on and on. And now, haggler Argovitz lauds hagglee, the Lion general manager: "Russ Thomas said he would draft Billy Sims No. 1, that he would sign him and that he would make him the highest-paid player to ever come into the league, and he lived up to his word" . . .
Canadian clubs waited expectantly but in vain for Sims and White, so let's give the dominion a compensatory roundup: Canadian Football League games to be shown on the ESPN cable network in the States twice a week beginning July 8, all the way through the Grey Cup . . . Billy MacMillan, 37, a Canadian native, named coach of the NHL's Colorado Rockies, after seven years as a big-league player, two campaigns as coach at Fort Worth (Central League) and last season as assistant on the Stanley Cup champion New York Islanders, MacMillan couldn't care less that he was second choice, after Herb Brooks, to succeed canned Don Cherry in Denver . . . Tony Waiters, who led the Vancouver Whitecaps to NASL's 1979 championship, then retired to his general manager's duties, has taken over as coach again, what with the 'Caps 5-8 record dimming their view toward Soccer Bowl '80 in RFK Stadium. The ax fell on Bob McNab, who had moved up from assistant to field boss . . .
Jerry Fauls Stadium, Falls Church, Va. -- a nice tribute, Jeb Stuart High's newly renamed field, to Stuart's orginal and only head football coach (1959-79), as he retires. Fauls, also packing it in as a guidance counselor, will be wished well at a 7-10 p.m. reception Thursday, K of C Hall, 5115 Little Falls (Fauls for a night?) Rd., Arlington; $10., sponsored by Stuart's athletic department. And maybe Fauls will reminisce over how his 1969 team ended Annandale's 38-game winning streak. He cited that in Saturday's commencement talk at "his" stadium in advising the graduates to strive for the "impossible dream" -- while telling them, "Like most of you, I don't know what I'll be doing in September". . .
Morgan Wootten, saluted at the TD Club yesterday for staying at De Matha when he had that big offer from N.C. State, noted, "It's the first time I've been honored for a job I didn't get" and averred, "I have never had one doubt that I made the right decision." Utah Jazz star Adrian Dantley, who presented his old coach a plaque after telling a few tales out of school, said just before the NBA draft that he'd rather the Jazz had landed "a center" -- meaning Joe Barry Carroll -- but was sure the center would be gone and he'd have Darrell Griffth for a teammate. . . .
One of the American winners as the British Amateur golf tournament began yesterday was George Haines, 36, an Ardmore, Pa., schoolteacher. So? So, six months ago, he had surgery for a brain tumor and here he was, putting the lights out on England's oldest scratch player, Reg Glading, 54, by 5 and 4. . . .
The 10th annual Harden & Weaver golf and tennis tourament, already, comes off Thursday-Friday at Montgomery Village, celebs galore . . . And the oneday similar shindig at Indian Spring, the Vince Lombardi Memorial to benefit the Cancer research center at Georgetown, rolls strongly in its 10th year, too . . . The new kid on the block, the Norm Crosby "Help America Hear!" celebrity golf classic at Washingtonian June 21-22, meanwhile makes a splash with such theatrical players as Lou Rawls, Ron Ely, Ken Howard, Keith Jackson due to tee off and even a "designated putter" in erstwhile Miss America Mary Ann Mobley. Noncelebs can contract the Better Hearing Institute, 1430 K St. NW, about getting into the tourney and associated doings for $300.