Mike Rozier has three houses, a shoe deal with Mizuno, a $60,000 red Mercedes that his teammates point to and whisper about, between $4 million and $6 million in post-Heisman football contracts, an IBM computer at his mother's Camden, N.J., house that's tied directly into his agent's computer, and he is about to open two Burger Kings somewhere in New York.
"Everybody likes Burger King; more than McDonald's or Gino's or Kentucky Fried Chicken," Rozier said. "They make more money than McDonald's. I did some research on it. There are a lot more new Burger Kings going up than McDonald's. It will be good for my business, Mike Rozier Enterprises."
Rozier lives among oil wells and Jed Clampett's Texas tea in Houston. A gold Mercedes emblem was dangling from his neck as the 24-year old, who is sitting in the driver's seat of life, said, "It feels good to be financially secure for the rest of your life. You wake up and you got no problems."
When the Houston Oilers play the Redskins Sunday at RFK Stadium, Rozier will play his 25th game in 1985. He played 18 for the Jacksonville Bulls of the U.S. Football League and the others with the Oilers (including five preseason games).
Imagine this: if these Oilers (1-0) manage to make it to the Super Bowl -- not so farfetched to some in the Astrodome last Sunday after that roof-shaking, 26-23 win over Miami -- Rozier will have played about 42 games in 10 months. Such a pace used to be connected with something called barnstorming.
"People always are asking about playing in the two leagues. The way I see it -- USFL, NFL -- it's still football," Rozier said. "Guys are still beating me up and they still get paid to do it.
"I don't set goals. I just go out and play. I can't say I'll get 2,000 yards and be rookie of the year. Then if I didn't do it, you reporters would come back after the season and ask me why.
"Everybody says if I get 1,000 yards, I'd be the only back ever to get 1,000 yards in one year in both leagues. I have to keep up my stamina and keep from getting hurt. I don't know. I wonder myself sometimes. I want to pace myself.
"I think I'll make it through. You know the man above has got his eye on me, so I'm not worried. People said Eric Dickerson wasn't capable of playing in the NFL. They said the same thing about Marcus Allen.
"You can't go by people talking. You just do what you're capable of doing, doing what you've done your whole life. I've been running the ball my whole life and I've been doing it pretty good."
To some, it's shocking to think the Oilers now possess a running game. Yeah, right, and now they'll probably find the Titanic, too.
Once upon a time, Houston had a luxury liner named Earl Campbell, and in 1978-79-80 -- when the head coach was Bum Phillips (now at New Orleans) and the line coach was Joe Bugel (now with the Redskins) -- Campbell led the league in rushing and won the NFL's most valuable player award three times. The Oilers went to the playoffs, too.
Campbell was traded during Week Six last season. The Oilers played a one-back offense and, although fullback Larry Moriarity gained 785 yards, the team's rushing average was just 105 yards per game, in the bottom third of the league. A whole bunch of third-and-longs fell on quarterback Warren Moon's shoulders.
Houston finished 3-13. And the Astrodome housed similar bumblers in 1982 (1-8) and 1983 (2-14). As offensive tackle Harvey Salem said, "A lot of teams turned on the projector last year and started laughing at us."
In the offseason, the Oilers reacted. They acquired running back Butch Woolfolk in a trade with the Giants. They acquired wide receiver Drew Hill from the Rams, with whom he had caught 171 passes over five years. Now, wide receiver Tim Smith (152 catches over two seasons) has some space and, judging by Week One, Moon has some weapons.
With an offensive line crammed with skyscraping former college all-stars -- Mike Munchak, Dean Steinkuhler, Salem, Jim Romano and Bruce Matthews -- opposing pass rushers are likely to have trouble getting their job done.
The Oilers play predominantly a two-back offense these days. Woolfolk started alongside Moriarity against Miami. He caught three passes for 120 yards (including an 80-yarder for a touchdown) and ran 12 times for 60 yards.
Rozier alternated with Woolfolk and ran the same number of times (12) for 34 yards and caught a seven-yard pass. He scored two short touchdowns, including the one-yard game-winner with 25 seconds to play. Never one to mince words, Rozier said this effort wasn't any big deal since, "I've been in the end zone my whole life."
Coach Hugh Campbell said the Oilers will continue to play both Woolfolk and Rozier. Each will raise a hand for a rest when it's necessary, just as they did against Miami. In that game, the Oilers had a total of 165 yards rushing on 41 carries.
"Mike turns his shoulders and gets a great hit (on the potential tackler) at the end of the play," Campbell said. "He seems to be holding up well. If we would run him 30 times a game now, it would show up on him later in the season."
Joe Faragalli, the offensive coordinator who came down from Canada this season, said of Rozier: "Playing 40 football games in a year is a little different than playing 162 baseball games. I know what kind of effort it takes.
"Plus, Mike has had to learn three different offensive systems in two years. He still hasn't totally grasped our offense. Anytime we get into a situation where a mental error would really hurt us, we put in Butch, because he knows the offense better. He's had much longer to work on it."
"I think our running game is about to explode," Salem said. "Woolfolk has shown his versatility. No one will stop Larry Moriarity on fourth and one. And besides the obvious agility, Rozier is a load when he puts the shoulder down. We have a little bit of everything. Actually, we have a lot of everything."
Rozier has a lot of everything, too. Especially money. He averaged nearly eight yards per carry and scored 29 touchdowns his senior year at Nebraska. Because his success was born in Nebraska, many people think Rozier was, too. Actually, he's from New Jersey, although he admits, "I do like sweet corn."
Rozier said he signed a $3 million guaranteed contract with the Pittsburgh Maulers after leaving Nebraska. An ankle injury limited him to just 792 yards in the 1984 season for an average of 3.6 yards per carry.
When the Maulers folded after one year, Rozier went to Jacksonville, with the world insisting he was another Heisman Trophy winner gone bust in the pros.
"Everybody thought I was washed up," said Rozier, small but firm at 5 feet 10, 200 pounds. "They said, 'He's not sure what he wants to do. He doesn't want to play ball.' Even coaches in Jacksonville weren't sure I was capable of doing the job."
Rozier rushed for 1,361 yards -- second to Herschel Walker in the USFL -- and caught 50 passes. After the Bulls missed the playoffs, he signed a reported $1.385 million, four-year deal with the Oilers. He hopes his financial status doesn't turn his body to little more than expensive rubble.
"I'm going to enjoy life. You only live once," said Rozier. "I'm not going to do nothing stupid. I've learned from other players' mistakes -- you know, drugs and racing around in cars and crashing, stuff like that. I'm not going to be into that stuff.
"I mean I go out, but not a lot. I don't like crowds. People talk too much, know what I mean?"