Darryl Stingley, in his wheelchair, yesterday received the Washington Touchdown Club's annual Gene Brito Award, "for faith, perseverance and fortitude." Stingley responded: "To Mr. Gene Brito . . . I just hope I can live up to him . . . to be half the man he was."
Stingley carries the title "executive director of player personnel" with the New England Patriots, but admits his functions in that capacity are not thoroughly spelled out. "I'm in my transition period," said the 19-yard-per-catch Patriot receiver of 1973-77, who suffered a crippling injury in a preseason 1978 game. "I'm trying to find out about myself and what I want to do."
One example of his work was related by Billy Sullivan, his club president, to the 275 attending the TD Club luncheon: "I think of Darryl Williams, the Boston youngster shot at halftime of a football game in which he was playing, who suffered the same type of injury as Darryl (Stingley). He went into depression, wouldn't talk to anybody, until our Darryl got on the phone -- yes, he assured this young man, this is Darryl Stingley, No. 84, New England Patriots -- and told him, 'Maybe the Lord ordained you to go through this. Now, I have a shoebox full of other calls to make.' "
Since he has been out of football, Stingley said, "I take more notice of 'overaggressiveness' and think there should be more done about policing the game . . . stiff fines, or put (violators) out of the game for the whole year."