Stubbs Plays For Love, Not Money Despite His Success In Business, He Couldn't Forsake Football.

Posted: December 10, 1995

"I went down their side of the (roster) sheet and it was Pro Bowl, Pro Bowl, Pro Bowl. And then I go down our side and it was Pro Bowl, truck driver, liquor-store clerk."

- Eagles coach Ray Rhodes, comparing the Dallas defensive line to the Eagles' on Nov. 7.

Daniel Stubbs heard the remark and quietly stewed. Not because Rhodes had made it, but because others were picking up on it.

"I read (about) guys being a truck driver and liquor-store clerk, and that is not me," Stubbs said. "I have an education. I have a business. It was just the perception. Like I was a street person, begging to get a job with nothing else to do. I'm proud of what I accomplish off the field as well as on it."

On the field, the defensive end is third on the Eagles in sacks with five.

Off the field, he is a successful businessman with a major financial interest in a publicly held alternative health-care company - Natural Health Trends Corp.

"This is going to surprise people, but I'd want to be more successful off the field," Stubbs said. "You don't see many guys playing that way. You only hear about the sad stories of people who have nothing after they're done playing."

One of the most intelligent players on Rhodes' team, Daniel Stubbs has resurrected a career that even he wasn't sure could be saved after Cincinnati released him in August 1994, leaving him to sit out the '94 season.

On more than one occasion this fall, Rhodes wondered how a player who had 36 sacks in his first six season in the NFL could disappear from football for a year.

The answer can be found in the NFL's new economics.

With incentives, Stubbs could have earned $800,000 last season with the tightfisted Bengals, who apparently released him because he was making too much money for a backup.

"I got caught in the system with the first year of the salary cap, and they wanted more people who could fit their price range," Stubbs said.

When Stubbs signed in July with the Eagles, he reentered football making $181,200 - just a few thousand dollars above the NFL minimum.

"Coming back, it was never about money," he said. "I just missed the game and had to start playing again."

He could have worked full-time on his business, which next month will open an alternative health-care center in Boca Raton, Fla. The company has three schools in South Florida offering instruction in massage therapy, skin care, acupuncture and homeopathic medicine.

But when Rhodes called last summer, Stubbs jumped at the opportunity to start over in football. By then, his absence had led to a craving to come back.

"I wanted to redeem myself," Stubbs said. "A lot of people had their doubts and criticized me. I knew I could still play. I had to prove that to myself before I could prove it to someone else."

*

Only a handful of athletes can say they won a national championship in

college and a professional championship the following season. Basketball star Magic Johnson hit the double at Michigan State and with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1979 and '80. Stubbs joined the elite circle when he won a national championship at the University of Miami - where he roomed on the road with the late Jerome Brown - in 1987, then earned a Super Bowl ring with the 1988 San Francisco 49ers.

Stubbs, 6-foot-4 and 272 pounds, was the 49ers' second-round pick in 1988. During his two-year stay in San Francisco, the team won two Super Bowls and he played in 32 games, starting just once. Rhodes was a defensive assistant with the team.

Stubbs had a moment in the spotlight at Super Bowl XXIV, where he sacked Denver quarterback John Elway twice and recovered a fumble.

"But my life didn't change after that," he said. "I look back now and think that some things I did back then were a little more than it seemed at the time."

Charles Haley, Pierce Holt and Kevin Fagan were in front of him in San Francisco, so Stubbs asked to be traded. He went to Dallas, where he started 15 of 16 games in 1990. The following year, he got into a contract hassle and played nine games before the Cowboys waived him in November 1991. Cincinnati picked him up, and in 2 1/2 seasons with the Bengals, he was credited with 20.5 sacks.

The knock on Stubbs is that he has never spent much time in the weight room so that he's not as strong as he should be. He has changed his diet and his work habits with the realization that he was losing weight in the weight room.

His strength has not come into question with the Eagles, for whom he has made plays at both defensive-end spots, filling in for William Fuller and Mike Mamula. In addition to his five sacks, he has deflected three passes and recovered a fumble.

"He is probably one of the smartest defensive linemen I've ever been around," Rhodes said. "This is a guy who's been out of football and came in hungry. He wasn't a full-time player before, but he always made plays and he's making plays for me."

Stubbs saw two sacks and a forced fumble against Seattle taken away from him last week after a review of game tapes by NFL statisticians.

"I would have had seven sacks," Stubbs said. "I have a clause in my contract about being up with the team leaders in sacks. It's part of the game, I guess, so I won't sit here and (complain). But it bothers me."

Stubbs will be a free agent after the season, and his agent wants him to get a three- or four-year contract from the Eagles with a substantial signing bonus. Along with Kevin Johnson and Ronnie Dixon, Stubbs has added valuable depth to a defensive line that leads the NFL with 42 sacks.

"How many years do I have left? I don't know," Stubbs said. "Maybe more

physically than mentally. You know when it's time to go - when the flame isn't stoked.

"I sat there last year and missed it. Now I'm having a great time and football is enjoyable again."

And when it no longer is, Daniel Stubbs can kick back and get a massage.

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