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Elway Gets Help For Offensive Problem

Sat., Sept. 9, 1995

Brett Favre got a phone call from John Elway and was surprised to find himself giving advice to one of the NFL’s premier quarterbacks and a player 10 years his senior.

Favre, 25, and Elway, 35, became friends through charity golf tournaments and an annual off-season quarterback challenge.

They are running similar offenses this year.

Favre is in his fourth season working with coach Mike Holmgren in the so-called “West Coast” offense Holmgren brought to the Packers from San Francisco. Elway’s new head coach at Denver, Mike Shanahan, was the 49ers’ offensive coordinator last season.

“We were just comparing notes,” Favre said of the telephone conversation last week. “He likes (the offense), but like we’ve all found out, it’s difficult. He was saying, ‘I can’t believe how hard it is.’ He asked, ‘How long did it take you to get it down?’

“Here’s a guy who already has a ticket to the Hall of Fame, and I’m like, ‘Hey, I can’t believe it, I’m helping him for a change.”’

Favre said the West Coast offense was more difficult than the run-and-shoot he learned in Atlanta his rookie year. There are more variations of pass patterns and blocking schemes that depend upon the defensive alignment, he said.

“I don’t think I’m the brightest quarterback in the league, but I’m pretty sharp, and this has tested my boundaries,” Favre said.

Deion saga, Part MCMLXXVI

Members of the Cowboys organization, including the team photographer, were in Chicago late Friday night ironing out the final details of a lucrative multiyear contract that would end a whirlwind week and bring Deion Sanders to Dallas.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ private Learjet arrived from Fort Wayne, Ind., carrying the Cowboys’ entourage and Sanders’ agent, Eugene Parker, at Chicago’s Midway Airport at 10:16 p.m., witnesses at the airport said.

They were there to meet with Sanders, whose baseball team, the Giants, played the Chicago Cubs.

The latest development capped a day that began with Leigh Steinberg, the agent for Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman, saying a deal between the Cowboys and Sanders is “imminent.” San Francisco 49ers president Carmen Policy and others involved agreed.

Finalizing the restructuring of Aikman’s contract to provide $2 million of room under the salary cap for Sanders should be taken as an indication that Sanders will join the Cowboys soon, Steinberg said Friday. “It should happen within hours, no more than 24 hours,” he said.

But the coveted free agent’s acceptance of a Cowboys offer will not be official until he settles what Sanders’ friends said is a minor family dispute.

Sanders’ mother, who travels from her home in Fort Myers, Fla., to all her son’s games, joins her son in favoring the Cowboys. But Sanders’ wife is said to favor remaining in San Francisco.

Sanders’ wife, Policy said, “is a pretty bright lady. Lots of class. Lovely woman.”

There were suggestions that the Cowboys raised their bonus Friday from the original $9 million to $10 million that they had been offering in at least a five-year deal.

Jones, a non-smoker, left Valley Ranch with a cigar in hand. Meanwhile, word from The Ballpark in Arlington was that a Vernon Wells painting of Sanders in a Cowboys uniform that was hanging in the Sports Legacy Gallery has been sold for $1,500 to a Jones associate.

Taylor definitely out

The 49ers declared four players inactive for Sunday - receivers J.J. Stokes and John Taylor, offensive tackle Harris Barton and guard Tim Hanshaw.

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