First, can you let readers know what you have been doing with yourself since your NFL days – and how you got involved in your later non-football work?
I worked for the Butcher Singer brokerage firm in Pittsburgh after being released /cut. It was a great firm with many talented brokers. I learned a lot.
The stock market dropped more than during the Depression. I took a position with Procter and Gamble’s commercial division. We sold quality commercial products to major cleaning and laundry Companies in PA and Nationally. I was successful selling major products in large quantities for many of the best institutional and commercial cleaning contractors in Pa , Ohio and WVA. It was a great Company and great consumers.
I had a great career training individuals in their sales career with two of the top sales training companies in the US. Currently I’m an Independent Distributor with Shop.Com. We are the best independent shopping site on the internet. Please check my site out at shop.com/capp. It’s bigger and better than Amazon with a great search engine, unlimited cash back and the best check out program on the internet.
You were drafted by the AFL’s Boston Patriots in 1966 – did you play that season in the AFL – and how did that league differ than from your later experiences in the NFL?
The Pats had a lot of free agents on no cut contracts. That didn’t help us low draft choices or free agents .They kept their top draft choices with no cut contracts and placed the rookies with more talent and much lower salaries on what was called the Taxi squad or today the practice squad. Three of those top choices were stiffs, but they never activated any of the more talented lower selection.
What I respected most regarding Noll was that he played the best players. Even though I got cut.
You ended up playing for Green Bay in ’67 and won a Super Bowl with them. What was your role on that team and what are some of your greatest memories of that season in Green Bay?
What a team. The vets treated us like vets. They expected us to produce. I remember an All Pro Hall of Famer complimenting me on my effort in a blitz drill during training camp. Guard Fuzzy Thurston and another named Gerry Kramer both complimented me on my effort and contact. Coach Lombardi expected us to produce like vets.
Effort like that was not appreciated in Pittsburgh until Chuck arrived . I actually got in a fight with a veteran when I was traded to Pittsburgh for going full speed in practice. However, it was practice during training camp, not regular season. Hello, I’m trying to make squad!
How did you end up in Pittsburgh – did the organization trade for you? If so, why do you think did they do so?
Bill Saul was injured and another linebacker was hurt. The Packers’ top draft choice was a Linebacker, and Ray Nitchske, Dave Robinson , Leroy Caffey and a couple other good linebackers, including their top draft choice named Jim Flanagan from Pitt, were available and maybe a little better than me.
How difficult was having to leave a team like Green Bay for you?
Initially it was difficult, but I was traded to St Louis for a few weeks and I thought the Steelers have to be better than that. That is another whole story. LOL
Who were the players and coaches on those Steelers teams that helped you most to adjust to the team – both on and off the field – and how did they do so? Any examples?
Rocky Bleier and Andy Russell taught me attitude and technique. There were some awesome vets and young players with great attitudes and maybe just not enough talent but plenty of heart. There were many others that impressed me, but there were enough with bad attitudes that needed to go.
You played for Coach Austin then – how was he as a coach – what stands out most to you about his coaching style and the way he managed the team and players?
His assistants were very good. I thought Coach Austin tried to be like coach Lombardi and not himself and that hurt his effectiveness. Chuck benefited from our bad year with smart top draft choices
Who were some of the biggest characters on that ’68 Steelers team and what made them so? Any examples?
Soapy Campbell and I will not say why – you will have to ask him. Bill Saul , Rocky, Andy and many other were great friends and role models. With just a little more talent, direction and those top draft choices we would have won a few rings.
I was impressed with Andy Russell, Rocky, a couple of offensive lineman, and Ray May who I thought worked hard but Noll traded.
How did Art Rooney’s presence affect you and the team then – how did he and Austin work together?
Mr Rooney was awesome and when Chuck Noll cut me he had the class to say thanks for working hard for the Steelers’ success. The meeting was in his lower level office in the Roosevelt Hotel. I will never forget Mr. Rooney’s sincerity.
What do you think would surprise readers most about that Steelers team you played for?
That we played to win. We didn’t have a lot of talent. And that some key negative players influenced our results.
What do you see as the biggest differences between the way the game is played today versus when you played – and do you think the changes are for the better?
They are bigger, faster and better.What a great game and so impressive to watch the great talent and attitude.
What are your thoughts on the new CBA and it’s new pension and benefit rules for the more senior retired players? Do you think the NFL and NFL Players Association is doing enough for you and your peers? Why/why not?
I don’t think they are doing much.
Any last thoughts for readers?
Go Steelers. I loved my years in The Burgh and my home in Bethel Park . I have so many great memories about living in Pittsburgh and Love to go back to the city and my home and friends in Bethel Park.
Read more by former Steelers via the book Steelers Takeaways: Player Memories Through the Decades. To order, just click on the book: