Romanowski scolds 7th-grader, keeps coaching gig

Updated: September 27, 2006, 11:36 PM ET
Associated Press

PIEDMONT, Calif. -- Former NFL player Bill Romanowski can continue coaching his 12-year-old son's flag football team after scolding another seventh-grader over what the notorious linebacker considered dirty play, the recreation league's director said Wednesday.

Bill Romanowski
Romanowski

Romanowski, who retired in 2004 after a controversial 16-year career that included stints with the 49ers and Raiders, took over his son's recreation-league squad this fall in Piedmont, an upscale enclave in the Oakland hills.

Romanowski already had protested rough play during the team's game last week in nearby Lafayette when he thought an opposing player tripped one of his son's teammates. He briefly confronted the player he accused of doing the tripping on the field, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Lafayette officials complained, saying Romanowski wouldn't be allowed to return to Lafayette to coach when the two teams meet for a rematch next month. But Piedmont Recreation Department director Mark Delventhal met with Romanowski on Wednesday and said he trusts the coach not to engage in out-of-bounds behavior.

"At this point, I have utmost confidence that Mr. Romanowski will continue to conduct himself in a manner that's appropriate," Delventhal told The Associated Press. "I think our players are very fortunate to have Mr. Romanowski as a coach."

Efforts to reach Romanowski were not immediately successful.

Romanowski won four Super Bowl championships in the NFL, playing for Denver and Philadelphia along with both Bay Area teams. He played in 243 consecutive games, a record for linebackers.

But Romanowski also earned a reputation as one of pro football's dirtiest players, accused of everything from dirty hits to spitting in opponents' faces. Last year, he acknowledged using steroids and human growth hormone supplied by Victor Conte, founder of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative.

In 2003, Romanowski punched teammate Marcus Williams during practice with the Raiders, breaking his eye socket. Williams received $415,000 in a lawsuit settlement with Romanowski, who retired after the season.

Romanowski, who lives in Piedmont, has dabbled in broadcasting and acting since his retirement, appearing in the Adam Sandler-starring remake of "The Longest Yard." He also appears on the cover of the latest edition of "Blitz: The League," an extra-violent football video game.

"I can talk smack, kick, punch, spit, knee you in the groin, and it's all legal," Romanowski said of the video game in a recent interview with IGN.com, a gaming web site. "This is my type of game."


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press