Rick Upchurch, Denver Broncos's prize returner/receiver, has passed a urinalysis and saved his place on the team after denying a story (Denver Post) that quoted him, in reporting to camp "clean" from 28 days' drug rehabilitation, as "not saying I . . . won't touch any more (marijuana). As long as I don't do it on the football field or in public or distribute it, I think it's all right."
Next day, Upchurch said, "I never said I'd use marijuana again." And teammate Wade Manning said he overheard Upchurch in the interview saying only, hypothetically, "When I retire . . . maybe."
Broncos brass contacted NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle twice about the supposed remarks, though, with General Manager Hein Poulus and Coach Dan Reeves saying Upchurch's dismissal from the team was "one of our options" . . .
And then six-time all-pro linebacker Randy Gradishar (a $315,000-a-year player and still at the top of his game in '82) informed the Broncos that "this is my last year." Denver did sign all-pro cornerback Louis Wright for three more years . . .
Eight Cleveland Browns with "chemical dependency" attend a weekly counseling program initiated by Coach Sam Rutigliano--called "Inner Circle"--that he says beats fines or suspensions. Some teammates grumble about special treatment (Newsweek reports), but most are "sympathetic" . . .
Sonny Jurgensen will go from Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremonies a week from Saturday to a hospital for surgery, he told the Touchdown Club yesterday as he and Bobby Mitchell were saluted on their impending induction. A riding accident on vacation in Wyoming--no cowboy, he. "The horse spooked and threw me 'from here to the wall,' " and "ripped my rotator cuff"--his left shoulder, so at least it won't affect his delivery.
Dick Schafrath, a Mitchell teammate in his Browns (pre-Redskins) days, and Tommy McDonald, who caught Jurgensen's passes as an Eagle, waxed eloquent. So did Larry Brown, soon to be honored by TD Club as citizen of the year . . .
With ticket demand up, U. of Maryland will add 3,500 seats to Byrd Stadium for 1983 season. Behind the south end zone, where temporary seats were set up for the 1982 Clemson game.