- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
"Oh, you don't have to answer me today," he said. And I said, "Well, this is shocking. I've never really been up against anything where I had to make a decision with reference to leaving people I'm established with." So I immediately made my departure and went across the street to the Conway Building. Halas and Sternaman had graduated from the lobby of the Planters to a real office.
I told them the true story and nothing else but. Mind you, both had become dear friends of mine. I said, "There's the situation, boys. There it is, right in a package. Now what am I to do?" Naturally they could not justify any such money as Pyle had offered me, because the attendance didn't justify an expenditure of $10,000 for one individual. Even the great Paddy Driscoll might have commanded only $5,000 or something like that. So, after much deliberation, George S. Halas and Edward C. Sternaman came up with a figure which, as far as I was concerned, was satisfactory not to leave them. So I walked back across the street and told Pyle that he had better look for someone else. And one of the things that prompted me to make such a quick decision was this—I figured that any man that could be married and divorced three times and come up with a woman in another room, I didn't have any business working for him. If I had gone with him to New York, he might have taken care of my situation, and then again, he might not have.
I had no reason to regret my decision. In that connection my thoughts are of poor Ralph Scott. He was our right tackle. Walter Camp had chosen him All-America when he played for Wisconsin, so you have to give him credit for being a pretty good tackle. He came from Montana and was a World War I veteran, shot up a bit. Well, Ralph Scott took that job Pyle was offering. Scotty didn't have any more business being in New York than I did. I mean. New York is a fast town. The last I heard the poor guy was shot. I actually don't know whether he killed himself or somebody killed him, but I do know he never came back from New York.
The late Ralph McGill, the distinguished Atlanta newspaper publisher and author, once wrote, "There is no argument about the identity of the greatest football player who ever performed in Dixie. There is a grand argument about second place, but for first place there is Joe Guyon, the Chippewa brave." McGill probably was right. I found Guyon living in a workingmen's section of Louisville. He is still, at 77, a forceful man, and he recalls with zest a forceful meeting with George Halas .
Jim Thorpe was the one that hired me for my first job in pro football. I had put in two years at Carlisle, which was really nothing but a grammar school, and made second-team All-America. Then I had to go to prep school in order to get enough credits to go to college, see? So I did, and Georgia Tech grabbed me, and I made All-America again. Then, in 1919, a group of people who sponsored a pro football team in Canton, Ohio hired Jim to coach it and play in the backfield. So he called me over there. I guess I was 26 or 27 by then, I don't know.
I played halfback on offense, and on defense I played sideback, which I suppose is what they later started calling defensive halfback. I had more damn tricks and, brother, I could hit you. Elbows, knees or whatchamacallit—boy, I could use 'em. Yes, and it's true that I used to laugh like the dickens when I saw other players get injured. Self-protection is the first thing they should have learned. You take care of yourself, you know. I think it's a sin if you don't. It's a rough game, so you've got to equip yourself and know what to do.
The games that were real scraps were the ones in Chicago. George Halas was a brawler. There'd be a fight every time we met those son of a biscuits. Halas knew that I was the key man. He knew that getting me out of there would make a difference. I was playing defense one time, and I saw him coming after me from a long ways off. I was always alert. But I pretended I didn't see him. When he got close I wheeled around and nailed him, goddam. Broke three of his ribs. And as they carried him off I said to him, "What the hell, Halas. Don't you know you can't sneak up on an Indian?"
OLE HAUGSRUD (1926-1927: Owner, Duluth Eskimos)
One day I was visiting with Johnny Blood, the much-chronicled Vagabond Halfback (SI, Sept. 2, 1963) who now lives in St. Paul, and he suddenly offered a suggestion. "There's an old gentleman up in Duluth you've got to see. His name is Ole Haugsrud." I had never heard of Haugsrud, but I became curious to meet him when Blood explained that in 1926 Haugsrud had bought an NFL franchise for one dollar. Early the next morning Blood picked me up at my motel, then drove to a residential neighborhood where we were joined by a white-haired giant named Dan Williams, who, along with Blood, had played for the Duluth Eskimos, the team Haugsrud had bought. During the 150 miles or so north to Duluth, the two men briefed me on that unusual transaction, which, as it turned out, may have saved the National Football League from death in its infancy.