IRVING, Texas -- For Steve Walsh, yesterday was Emancipation Day, Independence Day and Draft Day, all balled into one long-awaited transfer from the Dallas Cowboys to his personal Mardi Gras with the New Orleans Saints.
"This is like draft day all over again," said Walsh, who finally, mercifully, was traded to the Saints. "There will be high expectations from the fans, who expect you to be a superstar. I find that exciting, not frightening at all."
What was received in exchange for Walsh, the 23-year-old backup quarterback, excites Cowboys management. Dallas gets the Saints' No. 1 and No. 3 picks next year. In 1992, the Cowboys get a second-rounder that can move to a No. 1.
League sources said that for the pick to jump to the first round, Walsh must lead the Saints to an NFC West division title within two seasons. And that's obviously the Saints' and Walsh's plan.
"I can't expect to walk in there and be the guy from the first day," said Walsh, who has 12 days to get ready before the Saints play again, Oct. 7 against Atlanta. "But I got five starts last year, and I'm in my second year. I have a much better understanding of how to attack a defense. I'm thrilled to go to a place and make my career."
Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson said he had no doubt that Walsh eventually would start for the Saints, who are 1-2.