First, can you talk a bit about how being a successful undrafted free agent impacted your approach as a coach?
The biggest deal really of being an undrafted free agent is that people look at it as a terribly hard road to make it in the NFL. But it gives you the mindset to accomplish big things. The biggest thing for me was needing to understand the details quickly – the schematics in coaching. As an undrafted free agent I had to quickly learn all the wide receiver positions – the X, Z, slot…whatever they call it depending on the team. The details that also come with learning the run game and everything else. Just gaining the knowledge of the game. I constantly was learning the game and seeking information.
That’s because as an undrafted free agent you have the humility – you’re humble. And the veterans like that and will help you any way the can because of that humility. That helps me now as a coach – it’s the same deal. I always try to learn the details and be humble enough to ask questions and learn the work as humbly as possible.
First, let us know what brought you to your role as a scout for the Chargers – how did this come about?
I’ve been a scout for seventeen years now. I thought I’d get into the mortgage business – but the market fell through. I got the football bug so I went back to the University of Washington and finished my degree. I had ten credits left. I worked with the football program after then got a job as a coach at the University of Idaho – I was there for five years then I got a job at Nevada, I was there for seven-to-eight months But I had a young family and when the opportunity at San Diego to become a scout came up, I took that. It offered more security for me and my family – I took the job in 2000 and have been there ever since.
First, can you let me know what you’re doing with yourself since you’ve retired from the NFL?
Well, I’m on the path to getting my MBA. I’m working on logistics and strategy in business. The holdup for me is that I have the have a certain amount of work experience – I was conditionally accepted for the program but I need real experience. I tried to convince them that my time on the NFL counted – to twist that, but they didn’t accept that understandably. So I have to build my resume.
First – you’re a busy guy – tell me about the various things you have going on right now
The first thing is my energy business – we ship coal to utilities and export them from West Virginia.
But I’m now in the Agro-Med business – we have obtained a license for growing medical cannabis and are constructing greenhouses in Pennsylvania. We were one of twelve companies to be issues licenses by the state and have to have them up and running by the end of the year. So that’s obviously on the frontburner…
And I’m still doing the broadcasts for Penn State – I’m staying busy…
First, tell us about your new site and work as an Orthopedist!
Well, my main work is still as an orthopedist – surgeries, etc. But the new site is ProFootballDoc run by the San Diego Tribune. I live in San Diego and was the team orthopedist for San Diego. They contacted me to work with them on the site – they wanted a more national offering. The site offers injury updates for fantasy football players and fans.
What brought you to this point and how did you get so much popularity on social media as an orthopedist!
Blame it on my wife – for all of this. When I stopped being the orthopedist for the Chargers after seventeen years, I was watching the football games and hearing the announcers talk about an ankle injury when I could see the player blew out his knee the play before. I was yelling at the announcers on the tv when my wife told me to tell it to someone who cares.
So, she later signed me up on Twitter – I didn’t know anything about it really -I’m not on any other social media. I played wth Twitter and it just grew organically (now to over 60,000 followers – ). I made friends doing it in the media and enjoyed it. I can’t tell you now how many people tell me they follow me for football injury information but don’t want to tell their friends about me so they can win at fantasy football.
First – we’ve been chatting back and forth on Twitter as you’e been traveling across the country. Tell me about the trip – what drove you to start the trip and how it’s going.
Well I ride a lot – I have a couple of bikes. I stay on the West Coast normally – I usually go back and forth from Kansas City since I had kids in the area – I’ve probably done that ten times already. But I’m riding now to West Point to see my son – he’s a law major there. He plays football there and there’s a list of things other than football he can do. He’s struggling a bit – his older brother started at the Naval Academy and I think my younger son is trying to hold himself up to that too. I guess I’m going there to tell him it’s ok to walk away from the game – the game ends for us all at some point.
First, can you let us know what you’ve been doing with yourself since your time in the NFL?
I was coaching youth football for the past two years but stopped now since my son’s now playing baseball instead of football. I’m following him full-time – following him and his dream.
I’m retired now. And I’m giving back to the inner city community – that’s my passion. Seeing kids follow their dreams through athletics and coaching them to succeed.
First, how did you find your way to Pittsburgh as their Linebackers Coach in 1973 when you started with the Steelers?
I was the Linebackers Coach at the University of Minnesota previously, but I had coached at Michigan State before that. George Perles was the coach there and he used to be the Steelers Defensive Coordinator. So when the job opened up he recommended me to Chuck and I interviewed with him and he hired me.
Why do you think he wanted you to take over?
I had no experience as a player or coach in the NFL. But he told me he was looking for a teacher. That was his primary goal – he wanted someone to come in and teach his stuff to the players.
You’re a busy guy! So let’s start with some of the work you’re doing now with your LaMarr Woodley Camp5 6 program – tell us about that?
Well, Camp 56 is designed for all kinds of athletes. High school athletes who aren’t getting attention from colleges come to the camp – and we have coaches from D2 and D3 schools come in to work wth them to try to find those diamonds in the rough. Many of these kids are from small school, schools with bad teams or who have coaches that don’t do a great job of getting the word out about their players.
We give these kids the college feel – we bring it to life. I’ve been doing this for two years now. We had eighty kids last year – we try to keep it small so that all of the kids get reps and exposure. So far twenty-two of these kids have gotten scholarships.
First, let’s talk about your Tae Kwon Do experience – I’m curious how you got started with that and why?
It was my first year in the league. I tore my ACL the second day of camp and I needed total reconstructive surgery on my left knee. Terry Long was taking Tae Kwon Do and he took me with him. I wanted an edge to help me with my rehab. Terry told me about the master at his studio and now I’ve been seeing him for twenty-plus years.
I started it to make my knee stronger, but before I knew it I was doing competitions and fighting and competing, I was in competitions for a while but due to my contract I had to stop competing, Now, I don’t so it as much as I used to. Everyone wants to get to the ninth degree black belt – I’ll keep it going and we’ll see.