The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 1, 1997 · Page 113
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December 1, 1997

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 113

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Monday, December 1, 1997
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Page 113
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THE PALM BEACH POST MONDAY, DECEMBER 1, 1997 7C Dolphins 34, Raiders 16 ; r H i ll ; , . - f - GREG LOVETTStaff Photographer the Raiders on the West Coast with a fourth-quarter sack of Jeff George. HIGH w m Dolphins end their misery against Former Raider wins game ball, Marino's respect By Dan Moffett Palm Beach Post Sports Editor OAKLAND, Calif. In the past two weeks, Charles Jordan has caught more passes for more yards and as many touchdowns than in any of his previous four seasons as a professional. Sunday his five receptions for r 106 yards and two scores were the -impetus for the Dolphins' 34-16 ' victory, and also vindication for Jimmy Johnson, who has stayed with Jordan when some thought it , unwise. "Charles Jordan has had a lot of disappointments," Johnson said. '.'Some of the people wondered if we wanted him back (this season). But today he played a great game. He's come a long, long way and I'm happy for him." Consider that last December when the Dolphins played here and lost, Jordan missed the team bus from the hotel and contributed nothing. After his performance Sunday and after making five receptions for 78 yards the week before at New England, Jordan suddenly looks like the reliable receiver Miami has sought to complement O.J. McDuffie. "I've changed a lot and I've matured a lot," Jordan said. "Today I felt like I was in the zone. I felt that all the learning experiences were going to be paying off." Jordan's touchdown receptions of 8 and 44 yards came in the second quarter. Besides looking for him near the end zone, quarterback Dan Marino also sought him out on third downs. Twice in the third quarter, Marino hit Jordan for gains fo 23 and 17 yards on third-and-10 situations to keep a touchdown drive alive. "Dan told me he was coming to me," Jordan said. "We made eye contact real well all afternoon. I felt like we were clicking together whatever we tried to do. When ' - - - - i , n,mam,inm,-m,, f lU.Hf.-i r riliil " , ,...i ,jt i A.,... ; I Charles Jordan heads for the end zone and on the way to the on a 44-yard scoring pass irt the second quarter. End Trace Armstrong helps the to meet with J.J. By Ed Price Palm Beach Post Staff Writer I The Miami Dolphins will meet this week with Lawrence Phillips, the controversial running back recently released by the St. Louis Rams. "We're going to bring him in, but just to talk to him," Dolphins coach Jimmy Johnson said. "No other decisions have been ' made whether we do something after that. I just want to meet Tl hrp-tn-fari and get a feel for things." , Johnson ' did not say when the meeting would take place, but visit Tuesday. . "Miami is very high on our list. We'll meet with them and go from there," Phillips' agent, Steve Feldman, said. ! Two television commentators reported Sunday that Phillips would be offered a minimum salalry contract through the 1998 season, provided that he meet certain conditions of the off-season workout program. Feldman said no terms had been discussed. ( Phillips, the No. 6 pick of the draft in 1996, was released by the Rams on Nov. 20 after skipping team meetings and practice the day before. He also jad failed to show up at Rams Park for a meeting on Oct. 13 the day after the Rams were defeated 30-10 in San Francisco r- and was fined $2,000 for tnissing work, according to team sources. ! Phillips had led the Rams by rushing for 633 yards and eight touchdowns tied for most in the NFC at the time of his release in 11 games. But he also had been fined about 20 times this season by the team, more than any other player. About half of the fines were for failure to make weight. But the rest of the fines were for being tardy or missing team duties, mainly training sessions. In a grading system by the team's strength and conditioning department, Phillips was graded "F" for his participation in weight training. , Phillips also failed an NFL flrug test, according to The St. iMuis Post-Dispatch. All players piust undergo random drug testing, but only in the case of a Second positive test is a player Suspended from regular-season games. In college at Nebraska, Phillips was sentenced to a year of Probation and ordered to pay $359 in restitution for assaulting Nebraska basketball player Kate McEwen. t Q I Staff writer Ethan J. Skol-hhk contributed tfahis story. Phillips V fx r, , , ' , 1 r Who... might never lose again here"! to the Dolphins? ' Joe Bugel, the Raiders ' coach, whose job is hanging , , by a thread. What. will the Dolphins be keeping? A seventh-round draft choice. They would have had'"' to give it to the Green Bay 1 Packers as compensation for' ' ' Qadry Ismail, had the receiver ' been active for six games this' ' season. When... did the always unusual, ' 1 sometimes totally bizarre, Raiders crowd show the most emotion? The instant the final score" ; of the San Francisco game -' : ' was announced. The 49ers lost 44-9 to Kansas City, which brought a boisterous and derisive cheer. ' " Where... 0 does Karim Abdul-Jabbar . , rank among the league's most sure-handed ballcarriers? Near the top, despite his fourth-quarter fumbles. In 280,-touches as a professional, ;-u , Abdul-Jabbar has fumbled only three times. Why. did the Dolphins' visit to the ; Bay Area get off to a bad ;, start? ,. , The team's jet was met by personnel from the fire v .. department upon landing at A, Oakland Airport. The plane ; was leaking hydraulic fluid. No,,-one was injured, and the t', players got off without any , ; i problem. , i 51 i; i 1 I f 1 . StAN TEVISStaff Artist. SCOn WISEMANStaff Photographer best game of his NFL career the antithesis of a third-down receiver. Marino looked for him only in desperate moments. Sunday, the two found each other consistently when it mattered most. "Jordan played a great game," Marino said. Johnson awarded him with a game ball. Not bad for a player who could not be located here a year ago a player who dropped out of football from 1988-92 after one year at Long Beach City College and worked at his aunt's hair salon and his uncle's soul-food restaurant. Not bad at all. "I just need to build on this and keep getting better," Jordan said. see I Johnson's approach: If it Johnson was not amused and talked to Jordan when he came to the bench. "He's lucky he scored," McDuffie said. "I started showboating a little bit and it could have cost us," Jordan said. "I shouldn't have done it. But I'm still learning." The Raiders' Tim Brown, who worked with him while they were teammates, is the model for what Jordan hopes to become. "He's my mentor and I look up to him," Jordan said. "I still learn from him, even though we're on different teams." Jordan began this season as helps, do it were capable of getting into all sorts of trouble after he left town. Jimmy Johnson built his reputation as a coach by winning a national title with the Miami Hurricanes. No one knows more about the risky business of embracing upside potential and ignoring downside baggage than he does. But in Lawrence Phillips, John-l son will look across the table and see a remarkable talent who no one has been able to reach not .Osborne, not Vermeil, not counselors, not the judicial system and not his teammates. ' In a perverse way, this makes him all the more attractive to Johnson, a coach whose confidence in his ability to lead and motivate is unsurpassed. Should Johnson give Phillips a chance? Probably, because Johnson may be the only man who can save him. someone like Dan Marino says he's coming to you, it makes you work hard because you know you'll have to make plays when you get the chance." Four years ago Jordan was released by the Raiders after spending a season on injured reserve. To be able to star in a game against them was heady stuff almost too much so. After he had broken free of the Raiders secondary on his 44-yard score, Jordan started high-stepping at the 8-yard line, taunting safety James Trapp, who threw him to the ground as he crossed the goal line. stark as the contrast in the reputations they carry. Phillips has size and power to go with his speed. Abdul-Jabbar must twist, squirm and fake to gain his yards. Since his college days Phillips has been either in trouble or trying to rehabilitate himself from it. Abdul-Jab-bar's record is spotless, preferring quiet time with his family to the nightclub tours Phillips has been known to fancy. Johnson is considering putting this troubled runner on his roster because of an inherent affection for something called "upside potential." He believes that building a championship team often requires accepting the risk that some extraordinary talents bring with them. Johnson accepted that risk when he made Daryl Gardner, a reputed loafer at Baylor, his very first draft choice as the new Dolphins' coach. Johnson accepted it when he was at Dallas by assembling f group of Cowboys that f 0 i. i MOFFETT From 1C player on your roster, I don't think it affects the chemistry. I take care of the chemistry, and I don't think anybody's going to be upset by my decision." Abdul-Jabbar fought hard for 85 yards in 23 carries against the Raiders, and his third-quarter touchdown was his 14th of the season. It was Johnson, after all, who said, "I thought we ran the ball well today and that was a key for us." But Phillips is still coming, and Abdul-Jabbar insists he doesn't mind. "I know Lawrence Phillips and I know he's a great athlete," he said. "Anyone who can help us I'd be happy to see. He has the type of capability to do that. It's a coach's decision. I'll just keep working hard." - The tontrast in runners is as SCORE: Dolphins 17-10. TIME: 4:31 left, third quarter. DOWN: Third-and-10, Raiders 29 yard-line. Z WHAT HAPPENED: The Dolphins lined up with Bernie Parmalee and" Jerris McPhail in the backfield, along with three wide receivers, and Daft" Marino threw behind McPhail. But the ball was thrown so hard that its' flight pattern hardly altered on its way from McPhail's fingertips, into the arms of wide receicer Charles Jordan who was running a crossing pattern, behind him. Jordan's 19-yard catch wasn't his longest gain of the day, but it extended a drive that ended two plays later in a touchdown. ' ;

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