Ken Stabler, the 36-year-old Houston Oilers quarterback who has spent the last two seasons feuding with Coach Ed Biles, was placed on waivers by the team yesterday.
Biles announced the move at a press conference, saying it was based upon Stabler's ability at this point in his career and the team's changing offensive plans. "We just don't feel he fits into that pattern right now," he said.
Stabler, in the final year of a reported $420,000 contract, could not be reached for comment.
Last week, Biles told Stabler he could retire or be waived. Stabler failed to contact Biles last Monday, as he had promised he would. When located Wednesday by General Manager Ladd Herzeg, Stabler said he was undecided.
Gifford Nielsen becomes the No. 1 quarterback.
Stabler has played 13 years in the NFL, 11 with the Oakland Raiders. Stabler announced his retirement last year, but when Nielsen was injured against Tampa Bay, he returned to his starting job. Nielsen's recovery late in the season edged Stabler out once again.
Last month Stabler was to meet with Commissioner Pete Rozelle to discuss the NFL's investigation into his connection with a convicted bookmaker. But Henry Pitts, Stabler's agent, appeared for the meeting alone. The NFL said the case will stay open until Rozelle has met with Stabler.