Alex Webster took over, and he was more relaxed. Alex was liked by the guys because he had played football for the Giants and was one of their alltime greats. He just wanted you to play football, and that was it. But he wasn't a head coach, or at least not my idea of a head coach. To me, a head coach is one who takes command, decides what to do and then delegates the job of doing it right to his assistants.
It was just the reverse with Alex. The assistants did the planning and funneled their ideas through him. He was more of a cheerleader, a figurehead. He would get up in front and say, O.K. we gotta do this or we gotta do that, or I'm proud of you guys or I'm teed at you guys, and then the rest of the coaches would take over. Maybe this was because he took over the team the week before the season opened and didn't have a chance to change things.
I got an inkling of what was going to happen to me after an incident with Rosey Brown during the second game of the season. I had started the first one and got banged up, so I was on the sideline wearing street clothes. Suddenly Rosey came up to me there on the sideline and accused me of disrupting the team. He said, "Don't talk to any of the guys." I said, "O.K." The Giants were shut out that day and I guess I was a handy guy to take it out on.
This went on for a couple more games. I wasn't playing, I was on the inactive list. It kills you not playing, it tears your guts out. I wanted to be playing, to be part of the team. When I was sitting up in the stands I'd leave five minutes early, ahead of the crowd, and go down to the locker room to be there when the guys came in. It was just pride. I wanted the team to know I was there, even though most of them didn't give a damn about me. One Friday, before a Monday night game in Dallas, I asked Alex if he was planning to activate me. He said he didn't know yet. I asked him when he would know. He said, "Why?"
I said, "My daughter's birthday is this weekend and I'd like to go see her in Green Bay."
He said, "As it stands now, no, we're not going to activate you."
I said, "All right, then I'm going to take off to Green Bay."
He said, "All right."
So I took off. The Giants lost Monday night, I get back on Tuesday and the first thing I hear is that I'm fined $750. For what? I went to see Alex.
He said, "Where were you?"