March 25, 1993
PRO FOOTBALL; Raiders Land Hostetler For 3 Years, $8 Million
By FRANK LITSKY
A month ago, the Giants discarded Jeff Hostetler, a quarterback who won a Super Bowl for them in January 1991. Yesterday, Hostetler found a new job with the Los Angles Raiders.
Marvin Demoff of Los Angeles, Hostetler's agent, said by telephone last night that Hostetler had agreed to a three-year contract and would fly to Los Angeles this morning to sign it. The contract was reported to be worth $8 million over three years. Last year, Hostetler's salary was $1.6 million.
Demoff also represents Jay Schroeder, who had been starting most of the time in his five seasons with the Raiders. He said Schroeder, like Hostetler an unrestricted free agent, would sign with another team. He said three teams were interested. 'I Felt Electricity'
Hostetler, speaking from his home in Morgantown, W. Va., said he was "happy, real happy."
"When I visited the Raiders," he said, "the chemistry was there. I threw for Al Davis, and he was happy. When I left them, I felt electricity going around. My sons want to go out and see the nice weather and the ocean."
Demoff said he negotiated with the Raiders last Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
"By then," he said, "they had committed to him and he to them. We had just one or two minor details to finish, and we did them with Al Davis and Steve Ortmayer."
Davis is the managing general partner and Ortmayer a personnel executive. They are in Palm Desert, Calif., for the National Football League meetings. Demoff joined them there and concluded the contract. Not Necessarily the Starter
Art Shell, the Raiders' coach, would not say outright that Hostetler would be his starter.
"That's down the road right now," Shell told The Associated Press. "He has to learn our system."
But the 31-year-old Hostetler has spent most of his nine pro seasons as a Giants backup, and he had told Demoff he did not want to sign with a team unless he was assured of starting. Demoff had no doubt what would happen with the Raiders.
"It's fairly clear the starting job is his to lose," Demoff said. "He's as confident of being the starter as Phil Simms is of starting for the Giants."
Barring injury, Simms will certainly be the Giants' starter because their only other quarterbacks are Dave Brown and Kent Graham, both rookies last year. For the two seasons since Hostetler's Super Bowl victory, he usually started, but the job bounced between him and Simms. Coach Ray Handley's indecisiveness over which should start contributed to his dismissal after two seasons. Injured Last Season
Last year, Hostetler was the designated starter, but when he injured his passing elbow in preseason, Simms took over. When Hostetler was ready to return after the first two games of the regular season, Handley stayed with Simms, saying he wanted continuity. In the fifth game of the season, Simms injured his passing elbow, underwent arthroscopic surgery and did not play again.
This year, Hostetler and Simms were unrestricted free agents, free to sign with any team. When Dan Reeves, the Giants' new head coach, chose Simms as his starter, Simms signed a two-year, $5,050,000 contract. Because Reeves felt that the two quarterbacks could not co-exist professionally, he advised Hostetler to find another team.
"I could see what was coming," Hostetler said, "even though I didn't think it was a fair decision. I didn't necessarily agree with it, but I made the best of my situation.
"Dan said he had no good reason for picking Phil over me. Those were his exact words. I didn't feel bad because it was beyond my control. I knew there would be teams that wanted me, and I was lucky enough that the team that I wanted also wanted me."
Hostetler first visited the Minnesota Vikings, who decided yesterday to sign another free-agent quartereback, Jim McMahon of the Philadelphia Eagles. Hostetler then visited the Raiders. Last year, the Raiders sputtered to a 7-9 record. They moved from one quarterback to another, using the often-erratic Schroeder, the young and unsophisticated Todd Marinovich and even the well-traveled Vince Evans.
Mike Rinehart aka MadRaiders #32