Doug Flutie needs no introduction.

He spent last year on the bench, except for playing in one replacement game, but he's still one of the most famous players in the National Football League.

Flutie's storybook Heisman Trophy career at Boston College, including "The Pass" that beat Miami in the Orange Bowl on the final play in 1984, made him a household name.

Flutie has done just about everything on a football field except prove he can play in the NFL.

He's still trying to live down the reputation that he's too short at 693/4 inches to make it in the NFL.

"Sportswriters can play with the height thing all they want, but it has nothing to do with playing football," he said. "Am I talented enough to play in the NFL? I believe so."

Flutie may finally get his chance to prove it in training camp with the New England Patriots.

Flutie has spent his career with the pros being rushed into the lineup: with the New Jersey Generals of the United States Football League in 1985, the Bears in 1986 and the Patriots last year for the final replacement game.

In this year's camp he'll work at a regular pace and will get a long look. Tony Eason is sidelined with nerve damage in his arm, Steve Grogan turns 35 next Sunday and doesn't need a lot of work in the exhibition games and Tom Ramsey has had a lot of work in the past.

Once and for all, Flutie should get his chance to prove whether he's an NFL player.

Flutie got a confidence boost watching Washington beat Chicago with Jim McMahon at quarterback in the playoffs last January. A year ago, the Bears blamed Flutie for the loss to the Redskins.

*** MORE QUARTERBACKS: The Jay Schroeder trade rumors will be swirling all during Washington's camp.

Looking at the quality of the quarterbacking in some of the other camps, it's easy to see why Schroeder could be in demand.

The Raiders have Vince Evans, Steve Beuerlein and Rusty Hilger; the Chargers have Mark Malone, Mark Vlasic and Babe Laufenberg; the Packers have Marc Wilson, Randy Wright and Don Majkowski; Pittsburgh has Todd Blackledge and Bubby Brister; Indianapolis has Jack Trudeau, Gary Hogeboom and Mark Herrmann; and Kansas City has Bill Kenney and Steve DeBerg.

There are obviously a few teams hurting at the position.

If Doug Willliams' knees hold up, it won't be surprising if any of those teams come after Schroeder.

*** EVEN MORE QUARTERBACKS: Jim Kelly is having an off-season he'd like to forget.

He wasn't able to throw much after being injured in the Pro Bowl, and he finally held a workout before a group of reporters to try to end rumors that his career was in jeopardy. He said his arm was 90 percent and he'd be ready for camp.

Now he won't be ready. He suffered a freak injury to his right ankle while signing autographs and playing catch with youngsters at a promotional event in Boston a week ago.

The ankle was sprained and he won't be ready to practice at full speed until after the Bills' preseason opener against Houston Aug. 4.

With Kelly out, Maryland's Frank Reich will get an opportunity to show what he can do.

*** JIMBO JUNK: McMahon has a new look this year: a goatee. He also has a No. 9 earring. He's marketing the earring as a McNine. Be the first in your neighborhood to get one.