Renaldo Nehemiah said yesterday that an International Amateur Athletic Federation panel ruling allowing pro football players to compete in track and field has him looking ahead to the 1986 outdoor season. He said his commitment to the San Francisco 49ers will keep him out of indoor competition next winter.
"I definitely am going to do both," he said, meaning continuing his NFL career and returning to hurdling. "But to what magnitude, I just don't know yet. There is my wedding later this week to be considered also.
"I've waited three years for this ruling and now I've got mixed emotions about what I'll do."
Nehemiah is in the option year of an $800,000 four-year contract as a wide receiver for the Super Bowl champions. He said he could quadruple his salary by returning to track. He set the world record of 12.93 seconds in the 110-meter high hurdles in 1981.
The former University of Maryland athlete, 26, and agent Ron Stanko said in San Francisco they thought the ruling by a three-man panel for the IAAF was binding. However, a spokesman for The Athletics Congress, governing body of track and field in the United States, said he believed the IAAF Council must still approve it.
The ruling now goes before the IAAF Council at its meetings in Athens, July 12-14.
"There is nothing preliminary about this ruling," said Stanko. "The decision is immediately binding and final. The council will review it, but cannot overrule it. The only possible reversal of this thing is when the full IAAF Congress meets in 1986, and that's unlikely to happen."
"I would love to go to the Olympics," Nehemiah said. "I have a lot of things to consider now. I'm getting married next week and training camp opens a week later. I'm going to report to camp, but I don't know if I'll stay with football. I have to think about the possibility of injuries . . . .
"I don't know if I can be as fast as I once was. If I run again, I want to come back as a world-class hurdler, like a champion instead of like an old boxer who gets beat all the time."