With the addition of former Chicago Bears wide receiver Willie Gault, the Los Angeles Raiders have shored up a section of their offense, but still haven't decided who will call the plays.
The Bears traded the 28-year-old holdout Thursday and in return got a No. 1 draft pick in 1989 and an undetermined choice in 1990.Gault, an Olympic track team member on the 1980 U.S. boycott team and an alternate on the 1988 Olympic bobsled team, had been taking acting lessons in Southern California. He earned $347,000 last year and wanted $700,000 this season.
Bears coach Mike Ditka had said earlier that Gault was "trying to combine two careers and it would be easier for him to do it on the West Coast."
On Thursday Ditka, at the Bears' camp in Platteville, Wis., said, "We're providing another opportunity for a person to do exactly what he wants to do in life.
"They (the Raiders) throw the ball a little differently than we do. They push it down the field more, which is much more into Willie's strength. It should make him a much more noticed receiver."
"I'm just happy to have the opportunity to come here and hopefully contribute to the greatness of the Raiders," Gault said. "I'm sure Mr. (managing general partner Al) Davis saw something in me."
Gault agreed to terms on a five-year contract with the Raiders at their training camp. After meeting with Raiders coach Mike Shanahan and the media, and taking a physical, he was on the field for afternoon practice.
"He's one of the most explosive receivers in the NFL," Shanahan said. "You don't get a chance to sign a player like Willie every day. This move can only strengthen our team."
The trade gave the Bears three picks in the first round of the 1989 draft.