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Hoying Has Eagles Soaring

Tue., Dec. 2, 1997

Now that Bobby Hoying is undefeated in his first three pro starts, the obvious question is why it took the Philadelphia Eagles so long to give him a shot.

It’s a question coach Ray Rhodes doesn’t like answering.

“I’m not going to sit here and start talking about when we should have played him,” Rhodes said Monday. “I honestly feel by him sitting and watching, it’s helped him a lot. If you put him in early and things don’t go well, what happens to his confidence?”

Hoying agrees.

“Don’t get me wrong, I would have loved to have been the starter,” he said. “But I think I’ve learned some valuable lessons along the way.”

The latest chapter in Hoying’s journey from third-stringer to local hero occurred Sunday, when he rallied Philadelphia (6-6-1) to a lastsecond victory over Cincinnati.

With the crowd chanting “Bobby, Bobby, Bobby,” Hoying led the Eagles 61 yards in the final 54 seconds to set up Chris Boniol’s 31-yard field goal in a 44-42 win.

With two wins and a tie, Hoying has Philadelphia, which seemed out of the playoff picture three weeks ago, in a position to get a share of the NFC East lead with a win over the New York Giants on Sunday.

“It’s crazy to think about where we were, where we are now and what the possibilities are for our season,” Hoying said.

Dolphins interested in Phillips

Jimmy Johnson salvaged the career of receiver Charles Jordan, who ran with street gangs as a youth and was cast off by two NFL teams before emerging as a potential star for the Miami Dolphins.

Is troubled running back Lawrence Phillips the coach’s next project?

Jordan caught two touchdown passes Sunday at Oakland in his best game for Miami, a breakout performance that may embolden Johnson to take a shot at Phillips.

The Dolphins planned to meet with the running back and may try to sign him today, Johnson said.

“We haven’t decided what we’re going to do,” Johnson said. “We will be giving him a physical. We haven’t made any kind of decisions. We don’t plan on having anything finalized, if we do something, until later today.”

Cowboys glad Lett’s back

Leon Lett, 29, returned from a yearlong suspension for drug use, with some kidding from his Dallas Cowboys teammates and lots of serious expectations.

“Teams have been running on us pretty good and now Leon’s going to have to have something to say about that,” Michael Irvin said. “The pressure is on, Leon. I know you just got back, I understand that. I’ve been there, done that. But, Hoss, do you not feel that world above your shoulders? Please, help.”

Lett, 6-foot-6 and 290 pounds, didn’t seem to have missed a beat while going through drills alongside fellow defensive tackles.

Frerotte sidelined

Washington Redskins quarterback Gus Frerotte will miss the rest of the season with a broken right hip.

Frerotte, who was hurt in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 23-20 loss to the St. Louis Rams, will be on crutches for six weeks.

Jeff Hostettler will start at QB.

Hearst breaks collarbone

San Francisco 49ers running back Garrison Hearst will miss four to six weeks after suffering a broken collarbone in Sunday’s loss to Kansas City.

Hearst, 26, was injured in the third quarter, shortly after he became the first Niner to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season since Ricky Watters in 1992.

Spellman back with Bears

Alonzo Spellman rejoined the Chicago Bears for practice, insisting he was right to refuse exploratory surgery on his left shoulder, a move that prompted the team to suspend him for three games.

Spellman also acknowledged that the NFL has separately suspended him for failing to take a random steroids test. He called it a “total misunderstanding,” and said he has since taken the test and is appealing the suspension.

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