The New York Daily News

August 15, 1974

By Steve Marcus

Sauer Proves Stars Have Passing Game

Randalls Island - George Sauer does not ask for understanding. He apparently feels no obligation to speak about what most people continually ask; "Why did you leave the game of football and are you happy to be back?" Those who have come to know Sauer will accept his line, "I don't like to answer personal questions," and leave it at that. Why Sauer returned after a three-year absence will for now remain inside the 30-year old wide receiver. He asks for no acceptance from those who are offended by his lack of candor. Preferring to go about his business without the least bit of interest in what his admirers - or critics - think of him.

The private life of George Sauer has been interrupted only twice since his return to football with the Stars; the first day of practice back in June when he was bombarded with the questions of his return, and last night, when the former Jet played his finest game of the World Football League season with two touchdowns and seven receptions for 92 yards in the Stars' 38-16 victory over Portland, their fourth straight, before an announced crowd of 16,222 at Downing Stadium on Randalls Island.

Until last night, the Stars' primary offensive strategy was centered around their running game. It was time to try out the passing game, coach Babe Parilli would later say, and that meant the first real look at Sauer." "Hell, he can still catch," a fan said afterward.

"It's gotten a lot better in the last two weeks," Sauer said, standing quietly near his locker in the Stars' dressing room. "What's gotten better?" someone asked. "Oh, I don't know," Sauer replied, leaving his questioner with an incredulous expression. Sauer will reply to questions, but will seldom give a satisfying answer.

Sauer was asked if the inexperience of the opponents' defensive secondary's in the WFL has contributed to his efforts this season, which ranks him fifth among all receivers. "I don't know," he answered typically. Sauer lets others judge his ability, he is very critical of himself, and reacts to comments of "Nice job, George," with only a slight nod.

How does he feel physically after six weeks? "I think I'm finally getting to a pace," he said. "And then he blurted an unsolicited remark about his former team. "Weeb [former Jets coach Ewbank] never worked us that hard. "We've worked hard here. It wasn't until the last couple of weeks that [Stars coach] Babe Parilli has begun to take it a little easier."

Reporters encircled him, rarely asking about his on-field performance, choosing to dwell on the past. "You look like a guy I once knew," a reporter jokingly said to Sauer. The player responded with a half-smile. "I feel okay," Sauer finally said, "better than in training camp."

The old Sauer moves were displayed throughout the game, the quickness compensating for his lack of speed, and his always good hands pulling in the sometimes good passes of quarterback Tom Sherman. Sauer helped the Stars to a 16-0 edge after the first quarter as he caught a 20-yard pass from Sherman in the end zone. Sherman recognizes the importance of Sauer in the lineup.

"I had to get used to his discipline on patterns," the quarterback said. "He runs everything to a T." Sauer's second touchdown, a three-yard pass from Sherman, gave the Stars a 30-0 lead and the rest of the game was to be enjoyed by the Stars' reserves, many of whom played the entire fourth quarter.

Parilli, who played with Sauer on the Jets' 1969 Super Bowl team, says he has noticed a slight difference in Sauer. "He's working harder now than then," the coach said. Of the personal Sauer, Parilli said, "If we win I think George is satisfied. I don't know, though, if he's ever satisfied with himself.

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Quarterback Brian Dowling, whom the Stars had signed as a future for 1976, yesterday was placed on waivers by the New England Patriots. He will be on NFL waivers for 48 hours, if he clears waivers, he will be available to sign with the Stars immediately.