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I SWORE I WOULD QUIT FOOTBALL
Ron Mix
September 16, 1963
That was the vow Ron Mix took in high school, but he broke it and went on to become the best offensive lineman in the AFL. He is also the best writer in professional football—a curious accolade, perhaps, but one he earns with this revealing training camp diary
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September 16, 1963

I Swore I Would Quit Football

That was the vow Ron Mix took in high school, but he broke it and went on to become the best offensive lineman in the AFL. He is also the best writer in professional football—a curious accolade, perhaps, but one he earns with this revealing training camp diary

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"Well, if I could have stuck around for the year, I would have had enough money to finish building my race car. That's what I would like to do some day, be a competition driver. Now I'm not sure what I'll do. I hope I can catch on with some other club. There can't be two good fullbacks on every club in the league. Maybe I shouldn't have come out here anyway; I have a beautiful wife at home, and I come out here and fool around with a football. Here, have you seen her picture?" And he showed me his wife's picture for the last of many times.

"I don't know how I'm going to get all these clothes in that suitcase," he said. "She packed it for me."

What a hell of a thing, getting cut. Fred must have felt all torn up inside, but he wouldn't show it. There couldn't be many things worse than being told that you are not good enough in something you love and have done for 10 years or more. I have always felt uneasy around a man that has been cut. What is there to say? Everything sounds so inadequate. But sympathy for the fellows that are cut doesn't last long, because most of the players are busy worrying about themselves.

AUGUST 2

The long-awaited day arrives tomorrow—the first game of the season. We play Kansas City, but who we play is not what lends importance to the day. With the first game come the better things in life to a football player: money, rest and free time. The money we earn for each exhibition game is just a symbol showing that we are professionals. Sixty dollars is the paycheck.

What we really welcome is the free time and rest that accompany the start of weekly games. Workouts are cut to one a day. A meeting takes the place of the morning workout. We have taken on most of our offensive plays now, so, unless the coaches decide to have meetings for the sake of having meetings, we should have a couple of free evenings each week.

The rookies have been getting a mental and physical working over. They are getting a shock course in professional football. Special meetings are held for them so that they may learn the system before the first game. The veteran defensive men have been rough on the offensive rookies whenever they have had the chance. But the rookies have held up well under the abuse.

Earl Faison and Ron Nery have treated them the nastiest. When one of the rookies would line up against a veteran for a blocking drill, Ron, feigning grave concern, would warn the veteran to be careful, that this was a vaunted rookie he was facing. Ron loves to humiliate new men with his patented defensive end moves. He has his moves numbered. The other members of the defensive unit always join in the fun by yelling out the number of the move they want to see him dump the new man with.

And Earl did more dumping than Ron. Earl normally is a pretty nice fellow on the practice field, and usually does as little as possible, saving everything for the game. This week he was different. As Joe put it, "Staying at Rough Acres has given him a nasty disposition." Ernest Park, Walt Sweeney and Tyrone Robertson were all on the receiving end of Earl's testimonial on his ability. They spent part of the time on the ground, but they learned a great deal about offensive tackle play from one of the best defensive ends in football.

We had a brief workout this afternoon, just enough to break a sweat. Afterward, at the evening meal, the linemen got together to discuss how we could best do our jobs. Pat Shea had never played against Paul Rochester, so he sought some advice from me, since I had played guard last year and faced Rochester then.

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