Times-Advocate from Escondido, California on October 30, 1981 · 7
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Times-Advocate from Escondido, California · 7

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Escondido, California
Issue Date:
Friday, October 30, 1981
Page:
7
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The Times Advocate A picture that needs no explanation. JJ's catching his paycheck but not too many passes By Don Norcross The Times Advocate The bottom line is this : Is the man happy? John Jefferson wasnt in San Diego. He loved lining up at wide receiver, going in motion, charging down the field, arms pumping at his side with his hands curled up in fists. He loved angling across the middle, leaping in the air and then making catches that only John Jefferson could make. The man loved playing. No one loved playing more than John Jefferson. But as much as he loved playing, he hated those numbers on his paychecks. He saw Lynn Swann, a man whose best years are already past him, sign a $300,000-a-year contract this summer. Then Jefferson looked at his numbers, $100,000 without incentives for another six years, and he Just couldnt take it any more. His hatred for those numbers had outgrown his love for the game. He asked the Chargers to renegotiate his contract for the second time in two years. Owner Gene John Jefferson waves to the crowd after Clippers By John Maffei The Times-Advocate SAN DIEGO Since the start of the last National Basketball Association season, the San Diego Clippers have changed owners, general managers, trainers and public relations men. What they havent done, however, is change very many of their players. The addition of power forward Tom Chambers, the teams first-round draft choice, will help the club contend for a playoff berth, something thats eluded the Clippers each of their three seasons in San Diego. Following is a breakdown of the 1981-82 Clippers as they head into tomorrows 7:35 p.m. NBA opener against the Houston Rockets in the San Diego Sports Arena: CENTER Swen Nater (6-11, 250) is the incumbent with Jerome Whitehead (6-10, 220) in reserve. Nater enjoyed his most productive season in 80-81, Klein said no. Then the two matched wills. Jefferson sat. Klein sat. Then all of a sudden, on an otherwise beautiful September morning, the issue came to a head. Jefferson said he would not play for the San Diego Chargers again. An hour later, the Chargers confirmed as much, announcing they had traded San Diegos favorite athlete to the Green Bay Packers, the Siberia of the NFL. Soon agent Howard Slusher, public enemy No. 1 among sports franchises, got J.J. his money and one day the Chargers will get all those draft choices, a first and two seconds, they received in trade for Jefferson. And so it all gets back to the beginning: Is the man happy? "I am, said J.J. by phone from Green Bay. Its going real well. . .financially. It is going well for Jefferson. . .financially. Hes In Lynn Swanns tax bracket now. Unfortunately, the team he plays for is in a league by Itself, or at Please see JJ, page C3 last year's 20-14 playoff victory. facing an The Trades Chargers don't really like 'em but figure what can they do Its been tour weeks since San Diego Chargers Owner Gene Klein completed his house cleaning of disgruntled All-Pro stars. John Jefferson was the first to go in a surprise Sept. 17 trade to the Green Bay Packers. Two weeks later, in a trade that surprised absolutely no one, Fred Dean was shipped to Stm Francisco. The Times-Advocate talked to the Chargers this past week to see how the team has responded to the loss of two of its premiere players. By Don Norcross The Times Advocate To say that the Chargers players still are not crazy about the John Jefferson and Fred Dean trades is a bit of an understatement. Were still a good football team without J.J. and Fred, said defensive tackle Louie Kelcher, but they made us even better like getting that double cherry on top of the soda. "Guys like that are clutch ballplayers that make the big play. And even though the Chargers were able to acquire Wes Chandler from New Orleans, plus stockpile a bundle of draft choices through the trades, Kelcher still remains skeptical. The draft choices, said Kelcher laughing in sarcasm, dont really do a lot for me on Sunday. "I cant go out there and tell the guy across from me, Hey, were going to win cause weve got four number ones and three number twos. 'The draft choices don't really do a lot for me on Sunday. I can't go out there and tell the guy across from me, 'Hey, we're gonna win 'cause we've got four number ones and three number twos.' Louie Kelcher The draft choices are fine, but there are guys on this team that'll never even meet those draft choices. The draft choices right now, theyre Just question marks. Its important, I guess, for the future of the club. But Im concerned with now, the ballplayers that can play now. "Those draft picks arent going to help us win the Super Bowl this year, echoed safety Pete Shaw. While the Chargers players are critical of the trades, they say they have recovered from them and now have their minds set strictly on playing football. "Nobodys looking over their shoulder now, said Shaw. There was an uneasiness for a while. Am I going to be next? There was a Joke going around in the locker room at the time. If you made the Pro Bowl last year you were supposed to keep your bags packed. "I think everyones settled down now that all the controversy is out of the air. I think were actually a better team than we were at the beginning of the season. Now we know Freds not going to be here any more. Now we know J.J.s not going to be here any more. And now we know that the people who are here are very capable. Shaw says the players got the message Chargers management was sending out when it traded Jefferson and Dean. Basically, they were saying we dont renegotiate contracts and that everyones expendable, said Shaw. You cant have anybody better than J.J. So they were tell iffy situation as '81 playing in all 82 games, scoring at a 15.6 clip and averaging 12.4 rebounds. He had surgery on an injured knee in the off-season, though, and has been brought along slowly in the preseason. That surgery made the signing of Whitehead a necessity. Whitehead became a free agent at the end of last season and signed an offer sheet with the Portland Trail Blazers. The Clippers, however, matched the offer and retained Whiteheads services. Last season, as Naters relief man, Whitehead averaged 4.0 points and 4.5 rebounds. FORWARDS Chambers (6-11, 225), the clubs top draft choice out of the University of Utah, is the biggest addition to the club. He can run, shoot, rebound and muscle under the boards all qualities admired by Coach Paul Silas. The Clippers will play a running-type offense this ing us no ones bigger than the team. "You get the message, but if youre a Kellen Winslow or a Gary Johnson or a Dan Fouts, you know youre going to play somewhere else if you dont reach an agreement. Youre talking about super-stars. And I dont care what management says, the superstars can still do it. What bothers Shaw is what he calls managements one-way stand toward renegotiating. They renegotiate when its beneficial to them, said the fifth-year safety out of Northwestern. As a case in point, he offered his own contract situation. Shaw signed a three-year contract prior to his rookie season, 1977. After his second season, in which he emerged as a starter, Shaw said Chargers General Manager Johnny Sanders phoned his agent to start talking contract again. Shaw said the Chargers dropped the third year on his original contract and signed him to a new four-year deal. The first year on Shaws four-year deal called for him to earn 40 percent more than he would have under his original contract. "Thats correct," said Sanders. "And thats the same thing we had done for Fred Dean a couple of times." Asked if that wasnt renegotiating, Sanders said, We call it extending. I dont regret doing it, said Shaw. "I think its worked out for both sides. But why should it be only for managements benefit? I thought we were supposed to be one big happy family. Kelcher said that in no way has management intimidated the players with the trades. Hey, you know, that a contract is Just a piece of paper and it doesnt really mean doodly squat, said Kelcher. "They can get rid of you any time they want to so how how can they be holding something over our head. Were not dummies. Were not Just figures that can be manipulated. Were all grown men and we have responsibility to ourself and to the team. Kelcher not only questions the trading of Jefferson and Dean, but also the other player moves that brought 14 new faces on the opening-day roster this year. You look back from 79 (the first year the Chargers won the AFC West title) to here and theres a lot of people missing, said Kelcher. At times you wonder why. Those guys carried you that far, why change in midstream? The trades are something youre sad to see happen, but we still have a long season ahead. And we still have our expectations of winning this thing. We know what we have to do, said Shaw. And if we dont reach our goal, I wont say, What if this happened or what if that happened. I still think were a Super Bowl caliber team." season and Chambers ability to get up and down the court quickly will be a tremendous addition to the team. Chambers presence allows Silas to use several of his other players at the small forward position. Michael Brooks (6-7, 210) was sensational at times last year in his rookie season. He averaged 14.7 points and 5.4 rebounds and played in every San Diego game. Hes a racehorse-type player who should benefit from the Clippers running game. Joe Bryant (6-9, 218) enjoyed his best season in the NBA in 80-81, averaging 11.6 points and 5.4 rebounds. He is versatile enough to play the small or power forward and at one time, Silas was even toying with the idea of moving Bryant to guard. Ron Davis (6-7, 205) was spectacular at times last season. He played in only 64 games, but averaged 5.8 points and 1.9 rebounds. The new man up front is Jim Smith (6-9, 228), a third-round draft pick out of Ohio State. He is not a Fred Dean gets ready to lower the boom 49ers have fallen in love with sack-happy Fred Dean By Don Norcross The Times Advocate September 17. Earlier in the day the San Diego Chargers announce the surprise trading of disgruntled superstar John Jefferson. Its now late afternoon outside San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium. The Chargers players file off to their cars, their work day of meetings and practice behind them. Lunch palls are replaced by play books. Reporters scurry from one player to another, getting their reaction to the bombshell trade. For obvious reasons, the players are not in a good mood. One man in particular stands out. Fred Dean keeps his head down and speaks in a barely audible tone. Like Jefferson, Dean has been in a contract dispute with Chargers management. Asked to explain his situation, Dean sighs, then says, My situation is a lot worse than J.J. 's, a lot worse. " Things have changed a bit for Fred Dean since then. Two weeks after the Jefferson trade, Dean announced he would sit out the rest of Fred Dean lowers the boom on Ram - 82 season opens The Times Advocate on Ram quarterback Pat Haden. the year and the next one too if he had to in order to settle his financial differences with the club. As it turned out, Dean diem t have to sit out very long at all. The Chargers traded him to the San Francisco 49ers two days after Ms announcement. In return for the two-time All-Pro, the Chargers received a second-round draft choice in 1983 and the right to swap first-round picks the same year. After negotiating for more than a year with the Chargers, Dean came to terms with the 49ers in six days. In a phone interview from San Francisco, Dean said that after ail the turmoil, after all the name cali ing, after all the fruitless negotiating, hes happy with the way things have turned out. Presumably, so are the 49ers. In the three games that Dean has played in for San Francisco, the 49ers have accumulated quarterback 13 sacks. Dean has 7 of them. In their previous five games the 49ers had only nine sacks. Please see Dean, page C3 The Times Advocate quarterback Pat Haden. m big scorer, averaging Just 7.1 points as a senior in college, but he can rebound and play defense. GUARDS Brian Taylor, Phil Smith and Freeman Williams formed a very effective backcourt trio for the Clippers last season. Taylor averaged 10.1 points, handed out 440 assists and ran the club. Smith averaged 16.8 points and had 372 assists while Williams came off the bench to lead the team in scoring with a 19.3 average. Those three are perhaps as good a trio of guards as there is in the NBA. The only problem is that the opening tipoff of the 1981-82 season is about 24 hours away and Smith hasnt reported. He became a free agent at the end of last season, but was not signed to an offer sheet by any other Please see Clippers, page C6

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