"I'm the starter, I can't see that," groaned Hollywood Henderson upon getting the word from 49er Coach Bill Walsh that Bobby Leopold, a mere rookie from Notre Dame, will be first string and Henderson second string at weakside linebacker for San Francisco's NFL opener Sunday at New Orleans.
Walsh isn't all that down on the exiled Dallas Cowboy. It's just that Henderson has missed upward of two dozen preseason practices with an assortment of ailments. He left the final exhibition with a muscle spasm in his neck. So the coach reckoned he would lead with the athlete he could be certain would make all the drills this week.
"A week from now, if he's 100 percent healthy, I would expect he would be a starter again," Walsh ventured regarding Henderson.
But what will Hollywood do without national exposure all autumn? As 49er fan Michael Hudson of Vienna, Va., points out -- and has pointed out to NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle by mail -- the TV schedules for all three major networks include no -- zero -- showings of the Juiceless 'Niner games.
All the more reason for San Francisco castoffs Wilbur Jackson and Mike Connell to rejoice in their new status with one of the networks' favorite matinee -- and evening -- idols, the Redskins.