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Dickerson, Warner, Marino head All-Rookie team

By JOE CARNICELLI, UPI Executive Sports Editor

NEW YORK -- Eric Dickerson of the Los Angeles Rams and Curt Warner of Seattle, who led their conferences in rushing, and Miami's Dan Marino, the NFL passing leader, head United Press International's 1983 NFL All-Rookie team.

Dickerson scored 20 touchdowns and led the NFL in rushing with 1,808 yards as he helped carry the Rams from also-rans to the playoffs this season.

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Warner led the AFC in rushing, gaining 1,449 yards and scoring 14 touchdowns, and was one of the big reasons why the Seahawks earned the first playoff berth in their 8-year history. Seattle will play host to Denver in the AFC wild card game on Saturday.

Marino, the last of six quarterbacks drafted on the first round, took over as a starter from veteran David Woodley early in the season and gave new life to the Dolphins' listless offense, carrying them to the AFC East title. Marino hit 173-of-296 passes for 2,210 yards and 20 touchdowns in leading Miami to the playoffs.

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The 1983 crop of rookies was one of the finest in recent years and the All-Rookie team announced Monday reflects the impact of the first-year players, many of whom earned All-Pro status as rookies. The UPI team was selected after consultation with NFL coaches and scouts and writers covering NFL clubs.

The wide receivers named were speedy Willie Gault of Chicago and unheralded Jeff Chadwick of Detroit and the tight end was Tony Hunter of Buffalo. Jim Mills of Baltimore and Jimbo Covert of Chicago were named at tackle, Chris Hinton of Baltimore and Bruce Matthews of Houston at guard and David Rimington of Cincinnati at center.

Ali Haji-Sheikh of the New York Giants, who set an NFL record for most field goals in a season, was selected as the kicker.

On defense, Mike Cofer of Detroit and Mike Pitts of Atlanta were chosen at end and Bill Pickel of the Los Angeles Raiders was named at nose tackle. The four linebackers selected were Vernon Maxwell of Baltimore, Mike Green of San Diego, Bob Harris of St. Louis and John Rade of Atlanta.

Danny Walters of San Diego and Darrell Green of Washington were chosen at cornerback, Bill Bates of Dallas was selected at strong safety and Terry Kinard of the Giants was picked at free safety.

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Reggie Roby of Miami, who averaged nearly 43 yards a kick, was named as the punter.

Of the six quarterbacks taken on the first round, Marino was the only one to get a starting berth and keep it. Denver's John Elway, the No. 1 pick, opened the season as a starter, lost his job to Steve DeBerg and regained his spot only after DeBerg suffered a season-ending injury.

Todd Blackledge of Kansas City and Tony Eason of New England saw limited action as backups, Jim Kelly passed up Buffalo's offers and signed with the USFL and Ken O'Brien of the New York Jets did not play a down all season.

Gault, a sprint star at Tennessee, passed up a shot at the Olympics to play pro football and gave Chicago a long ball threat the Bears sorely needed. He caught 40 passes for 836 yards and eight touchdowns.

Chadwick, a lanky free agent from little Grand Valley State who resembles Cincinnati's All-Pro, Cris Collinsworth, in his style, was a major surprise. He caught 40 passes for 617 yards and four touchdowns and was a key factor for the Lions as they won the NFC Central Division title, their first championship since 1957.

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Haji-Sheikh, a ninth-round draft pick from Michigan, hit 35-of-41 field goal attempts, including 24-of-25 inside the 40 and hit two from beyond the 50-yard line. He broke Jim Turner's record for most field goals in a season. adv for 6:30 p.m.

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