PHILADELPHIA -- Pete Kugler says it wasn't a question of money that prompted him to leave the San Francisco 49ers and sign a three-year contract with the Philadelphia Stars of the United States Football League.
Rather, it was the feeling of being wanted.
'I felt the Stars showed a better effort to sign me,' the 24-year-old nose guard said Friday at a Veterans Stadium news conference. 'They wanted me more and they got me. I'm convinced I've done the right thing and it's going to work out in the end.
'It's been a rough four days but I can say the people who should have won this thing did win in the end. It didn't come down to a matter of dollars. To me, it was a question of principle.'
The Stars and 49ers participated in a week-long tug of war for Kugler's services. Philadelphia President Carl Peterson indicated that he could not match the money the 49ers were offering the former Penn State player.
'I felt from the beginning that in total aggregate dollars we would not be able to match the 49ers,' Peterson said. 'But we were able to give Pete some security and the the opportunity to play at home again.'
Kugler, a native of nearby Cherry Hill, N.J., pointed out the reasons he wanted to play closer to home.
'One other major reason I did sign with the Stars is right here,' he said, acknowledging members of his family sitting nearby. 'I've got the greatest family in the world.'
Financial terms of the contract, which was signed Thursday night, were not disclosed.
'He's an outstanding football player as well as a person,' Peterson said. 'He's a player on the rise and will do nothing but get better.'
A sixth-round draft pick in 1981, the 6-foot-4, 260-pound Kugler switched from offense to defense in 1982 and became one of the 49ers' steadiest players. He anchored the defense during the 1983 season that saw San Francisco reach the NFC championship game.