Which came first, Buddy Ryan or the bounty?

While Ryan recently has brought the concept of a bounty to the public conscience with ones he supposedly put on Cowboys kicker Luis Zendejas last season and on the Dolphins' Jim Jensen two weeks ago, bounties, or incentives to knock players out of games, have always been as much a part of football as bumps and bruises.

"Those things are commonplace in the game," said former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann. "I had them on my head, sure. I heard numbers like $1,000. People say things after the game. The word gets out."

Jensen, a wide receiver and special teams player with the Dolphins, said an Eagle told him after the Dec. 9 game that Ryan had a $100 bounty on him. The player said Ryan wanted Jensen knocked out of the game.

Jensen said that on a second-quarter punt, Byron Evans and Jerome Brown went after him even though he was out of the play. "I wasn't near the play," Jensen explained. "I saw this nice, high kick and these guys come at me. I just stopped. I'm disappointed it was only $100."

About the bounty, Ryan said: "I thought that was last year's news. What does he want, a little {publicity} or something."

Ron Howard, the team's director of public relations, said the Eagles' dislike of Jensen stems from a three-on-three pickup game between some Eagles and Dolphins players in the offseason in Jamaica. Eagles players said Jensen roughed up then-backup quarterback Don McPherson.

"This has nothing to do with Buddy Ryan," Howard said. "Our players thought Jim was a jerk."

Sam Huff, a linebacker with the Giants and Redskins in the 1950s and '60s, once hit Saints quarterback Billy Kilmer so hard Kilmer flew into a sideline table and bruised his hip. Years later, Kilmer told Huff that he had put a $100 bounty on Huff's head because of the hit. Kilmer never had to pay it. Not a Pocket Picker

One might think Eagles quarterback Randall Cunningham is more likely to get hurt with his Edwin Moses-type leaps over defensive backs than if he just slid to the ground. Not so, says Cunnnigham, and he points to last weekend, when six starting quarterbacks, including the Bills' Jim Kelly and the Giants' Phil Simms, were hurt.

In fact, Cunningham watched both Kelly and Simms wriggling on the turf on television.

His conclusion:

"The pocket is dangerous," said the oft-scrambling Cunningham, "I'm glad I am the style quarterback that I am." . . .

Lionel Manuel, the Giants' top wide receiver in their 1986 Super Bowl season, was waived for what the club described as an attitude problem. New York now has 20 players left from its championship team.

Bill Parcells refused to comment, but spokesman Ed Croke said the coach was annoyed because Manuel was late for several practices and fell asleep at some meetings.

Manuel, who has seen his limited time this season (11 catches for 169 yards), reportedly was late for a meeting yesterday and Parcells told him not to dress for the afternoon workout, after which he was cut.

Manuel best year was 1988: 65 catches for 1,029 yards and four touchdowns.

Wide receiver Stacy Robinson was activated off injured reserve.


Packers tackle Tony Mandarich has lots of money but apparently a poor center of gravity, because against the Eagles he was tossed around like a doll. The spanking by defensive end Reggie White became so bad that White's fellow lineman, Bob Golic, said it was difficult to rush the passer because White kept throwing Mandarich in his way. . . .

The 49ers, who have secured the home field through the NFC playoffs, will play Joe Montana in their last two regular season games. But Coach George Seifert said Steve Young, who has thrown one pass all season, will play too.

Said Montana: "I feel the best I've felt at this time of the year in a while. . . . I don't think the Giants or Miami are saying, 'We have to get our backup quarterback playing time.' . . . This is the only place I know where that happens."

On the other hand, Montana does see this as a chance for Young to get some work. "Maybe the last five minutes of a game," Montana said, smiling. . . .

Former 49ers coach Bill Walsh, he of the three Super Bowl rings, has his surprise pick to win the Super Bowl.

"I think the Washington Redskins could win it all," he said. "I think they could sneak up on everybody. Watch out for the Redskins. With their defense and coaching staff they could go far. I don't like picking against the 49ers for obvious reasons, but if anyone can beat them, it's the Redskins."

The Upset Pick

The Cowboys will beat the Eagles, 22-10.

Record to date: a miserable 0-7, but who's counting?