Graham nods in agreement and asks, "Goosby?"
"He hurts a little, but if you need him he'll be mobile."
"More than anything else, what makes a good trainer is a coach that trusts him," says Kuczo after Graham leaves. "If a coach is second-guessing a trainer because he thinks the players are being babied or is afraid to use boys the trainer has okayed, he will push his trainer into making mistakes, rushing boys too fast, holding them back when they could go. But that usually happens with inexperienced trainers and inexperienced coaches. After 25 years I like to think I know what I'm doing, and I'm going to stick by my judgment. Nobody goes out of this room until I am sure he's ready."
"It's no problem," Graham says emphatically of coach-trainer relationships. "I don't second-guess Joe on injuries any more than he would second-guess me on how I run the team. If he says a boy is out, he is out, period. If he says a boy can play, I expect him to play. The only place I make a decision is if Joe would say So-and-so can maybe go today, half-speed, for a little while, but by next week he should be 100%. Then you have to play it by ear, use the man or not, depending on how the game goes.
"There's one other thing that a good trainer can do," says Graham. "The boys will come into the training room and gripe, talk over their problems and relax as they can't with their coaches. A trainer can be a chaplain, a psychiatrist, a safety valve."
In due course Kuczo, Graham and his collection of football players arrive on a Sunday in the locker room at Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, to get ready to play against the Steelers. For three hours Kuczo and his crew work steadily, rapidly, wrapping all the ankles, Goosby's rib, Gogolak's foot, Rickie Harris' thigh, and selected spots on defensive backs and others. The players apparently have too much free time on their hands. They jitter and flitter about the small training room like so many 250-pound butterflies, now obviously suffering, along with everything else, from nerves.
Fred Mazurek, a punt and kickoff returnee, spends the better part of half an hour feverishly taping, untaping and retaping two fingers of his right hand. Every now and then Mazurek calls frantically for more tape, wider tape, narrower tape, which the trainers supply noncommittally.
"Boys you never hear a word out of all week get high as a kite before a game. All you can do is humor them. One day in Baltimore one of them just about had a breakdown because we ran out of a certain kind of salt tablet. It was cold, so he didn't need salt tablets any more than he needed wings, but he thought he did. He decided he couldn't play without them, and maybe he couldn't have. I sent somebody in a cab to a drugstore. It cost six bucks but it was worth it."
Carl Kammerer, a 240-pound defensive end, barges up and down the crowded training room beating a mallet-size fist against his anvil-size palm, muttering to no one in particular, "I'm ready, I'm ready."
Bobby Mitchell, a notable pass catcher, is doing a stand-up comedy routine, a bit on how the lot of baseball players is happier than footballers. "You know what you see every time you go into a baseball dressing room?"