Last Modified: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 5:54 PM
Years ago there was a football player named Lance Rentzel who was an All-American in high school and used to play for the Dallas Cowboys. He was married to an actress, but I can’t remember who it was. What was her name?
He was married to Joey Heatherton, who was known as much for her singing and dancing as for her acting.
Rentzel, who played under Bud Wilkinson at the University of Oklahoma, started his NFL career as the second-round draft pick for the Minnesota Vikings in 1965, but was traded to Dallas two years later.
He had been arrested in September 1966 for exposing himself to two girls in a St. Paul, Minn., park. He pledged to seek psychiatric treatment and was allowed to plead guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct.
“In Dallas, Rentzel seemed to have finally found a home. He started for the Cowboys in 1967, became an all-pro in 1968,” reads a 1973 Harvard Crimson review of Rentzel’s book, “When All the Laughter Died in Sorrow.”
“On April 12, 1969, he married Joey Heatherton after a courtship widely covered by national media. But one year later, everything turned sour.”
In November 1970, Rentzel was charged with exposing himself to a 10-year-old girl at a suburban Dallas park. He pleaded guilty the following April and was sentenced to five years’ probation and was ordered to continue receiving psychiatric care.
Heatherton filed for divorce from Rentzel in September 1971, just four months after the Cowboys traded him to the Los Angeles Rams. Two years after the trade, Rentzel was sentenced to 90 days in jail for marijuana possession and was suspended from the league.
He was reinstated and played with the Rams in the 1974 season. But the team placed him on waivers the following year, and no other team would touch him.
Heatherton’s career waned throughout the 1970s, and she was arrested several times in the 1980s — for disorderly conduct, drug possession and assault. She was acquitted of the first charge; the second was dismissed on a technicality; and the third was dropped by the complainant, her drummer and ex-boyfriend.
She went on to appear in the 1990 John Waters film “Cry-Baby,” and she posed, at age 52, for Playboy magazine in 1997.
On Nelson Road, there are rectangular boxes outlined in the roadway, with diagonal lines at the corners, usually at traffic lights. What are these?
They’re detectors that work in tandem with the traffic signals, said Steve Jiles, head of the state highway department’s regional office.
“Detector wires are embedded in a saw cut approximately 2 inches beneath the road surface and then sealed to prevent water intrusion,” he wrote in an email.
“Four 6-foot-by-6-foot detectors separated by 9-foot spaces are placed in left-turn lanes to detect vehicle presence. Additional detectors are commonly located in the two through lanes approximately 150 feet in advance of signalized intersections to identify approach volumes.”
Most new traffic lights employ cameras instead of embedded detectors, which are less expensive to maintain, Jiles said.
The Informer answers questions from readers each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. It is researched and written by Andrew Perzo, an American Press staff writer. To ask a question, call 494-4098, press 5 and leave voice mail, or email firstname.lastname@example.org