National Football League Commissioner Pete Rozelle said yesterday there's little he can do to force teams to hire blacks as head coaches and in the front office. He said those are decisions the teams themselves must make.
"I'm certain we'll have a black head coach when an owner thinks that coach can help him win," Rozelle said at the Associated Press sports editors convention in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. "Until then, there's nothing I can do about it."
Rozelle said he feels a recent decision to start a minority intern program for assistant coaches at major colleges is a step in the right direction. "We have a long way to go on minority hiring," he said. "While we can't make black coaches, we can provide the opportunity for them to rise up through the organizations" . . .
All-time NFL rushing leader Walter Payton announced he has reached terms on a one-year contract with the Chicago Bears, but said again he is considering retiring after next season. Payton, who has 16,193 yards in 13 seasons, declined to be specific about the terms of the new contract. His last contract was for three years at a reported $850,000 annually, plus bonuses.