Cowboys' Haley has score to settle in San Francisco Former 49er eager to give club trouble


It's called "addition by subtraction."

That's the phrase sports people use when they get rid of a good player with a personality problem. They decide they're better off without him.

Which explains why Charles Haley is no longer a member of the San Francisco 49ers.

He simply wore out his welcome in San Francisco with several well-publicized outbursts even though he was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1991.

In one notable episode, he got so upset after a 1991 loss to the Los Angeles Raiders that the 49ers called on his former teammate, Ronnie Lott, to come out of the Raiders locker room to calm him down.

Coach George Seifert of the 49ers has said that Haley's departure "helped team chemistry."

When Seifert was asked about the moody defensive lineman on Thursday, he said: "I think Charles is a fine football player, and I have a lot of respect for him as a football player. He's a good guy."

Seifert then walked into the locker room, ending a session with reporters.

Seifert, though, isn't the only 49er who's happy to see him gone.

"You never knew when he was going to go off," 49ers running back Dexter Carter said. "Other guys would kid around and tease, but Charles was different. He was meaner. I didn't like the guy, and I told him that to his face. And believe me, I'm not alone."

Haley's reputation was so well known around the league that the 49ers could only get a second- and a third-round draft pick for him when they decided to trade him in August.

The team with the best offer was the Dallas Cowboys. They were willing to take a chance on Haley. So far, they think the gamble has paid off.

"I heard all the stories prior to making the trade, and it did give us some concern [but], he has come in and really fit in well with our players," coach Jimmy Johnson said.

Which is why Haley will be returning to Candlestick Park tomorrow when the Cowboys play the 49ers in the NFC title game.

Haley is part of a defense that is ranked No. 1 in the league, and this may be the one day the 49ers regret the trade. Although the muddy footing at Candlestick Park may slow his pass rush, nobody questions that when Haley is motivated, he can be a force.

The 49ers know Haley will be motivated against them.

Steve Wallace, who has the task of trying to block Haley tomorrow, said: "I know he wants to come back here and make a great impression on the fans. And he'll want to let the team and management know they made a bad decision."

Haley doesn't give many interviews, but he invited a New York Times reporter into his apartment earlier in the week and confirmed in an article that he is eager to play this game.

"To get the whole thing behind me, to close this chapter on the book. I have a lot of frustration and anger in me that the only way to get it out is to play them," Haley said.

Haley didn't discuss reports that he had fistfights with teammates, urinated on a teammate's car, cursed coaches and exposed himself to a female reporter.

He said he once talked to a 49ers official about personal difficulties and then learned the official discussed their talk with other players on the team.

Of the incident when Lott had to calm him down after a 12-6 loss to the Raiders in 1991, he said, "I was so mad. The reasons were that I wanted to beat Ronnie Lott and the Raiders so bad, and we needed to win very much . . . I smashed my hand through a glass door. So, I screwed up. The main thing is that I'm one of the worst in the world at accepting losing."

Haley said the 49ers never respected him after that incident and added he didn't have problems when Bill Walsh was the coach.

"So, finally, I'm projected as a lunatic, crazy, a raging animal, and I'm traded," he said.

He said things are much better in Dallas although he said he had to live down his troublemaker image. "It's a hell of a lot better than it was in San Francisco," he said.

* The teams likely will have to contend with rain and slippery Candlestick Park turf tomorrow.

"Rain is likely Sunday, possibly heavy at times," said Duane Dykema of the National Weather Service. "It looks like more of what we've had all week."

He said forecasts put the likelihood of rain tomorrow at 90 percent.

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