Miami Dolphins assistant coach David Shula, denying that he has broken off discussions with Philadelphia Eagles owner Norman Braman, said for the first time yesterday that he wants the vacant Eagles head-coaching job.
"If things can be worked out, yes, I'd like to have the job," Shula said.
Shula, 26, son of Dolphins Coach Don Shula, made his comments after Miami beat Buffalo Sunday to clinch the AFC East title. He held an impromptu news conference to answer questions raised by a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer that talks between Shula and Braman had broken down Saturday.
"I met with Mr. Braman and (Eagles General Manager) Harry Gamble during the latter part of last week and we made good progress in the negotiations," Shula said. "We left it Saturday afternoon when they got in the plane for Minnesota (where the Eagles played the Vikings Sunday) that they would get back to us soon."
Both sides denied that there was an impasse, but aknowledged the existence of a problem. Charles Morgan, a Miami lawyer for Shula, said the two sides differed on just one point, but that there is apparently no room for compromise. "It's something that is or isn't," Morgan said. "It isn't something that's negotiable . . . "
The Atlanta Falcons announced the firing of executive vice president Eddie LeBaron, but said no decision had been reached on the status of Coach Dan Henning.
Rankin Smith Sr., owner of the team, said a decision on Henning's status would be made later in the week. He also said that General Manager Tom Braatz has been asked to remain with the organization, although his responsibilities will be redefined . . .
Maryland Coach Bobby Ross said a published report in St. Louis that he is a candidate to become coach of the Cardinals is unfounded. "Here we go again," Ross said. "It's not true. I've never had any contact with the St. Louis Cardinals. I don't even know anybody with the Cardinals, except Jim Hanifan (who was fired as coach Sunday)."
Ross said he expects to sign a long-term contract at Maryland by the end of this week . . .
General Manager Terry Bledsoe became the first casualty of the Buffalo Bills' second consecutive 2-14 season when he was fired . . .
The New York Jets have asked the Portage County (Wis.) sheriff's department to help them find one of their former players so they can sign him for the playoffs. The Jets, in need of an offensive lineman after tackle Ted Banker broke his right leg Sunday against Cleveland, are searching for Mark Shumate . . .
Player representative James Lofton said members of the Green Bay Packers would not take drug tests at their postseason physical examinations. "We're not going to take them," Lofton said. "It's the league-wide policy (of the players representatives) that the postseason physical is an orthopedic physical and not a test for drug use."
Last week, some members of the St. Louis Cardinals were fined $1,000 each for refusing to take drug tests as part of their end-of-the-season physicals . . .
Green Bay Packers assistant Ken Riley has agreed to become Florida A&M's new head coach, a Tallahassee newspaper reported.