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Jim Haslett stepped on Terry Bradshaw's head


Outgoing Redskins coordinator Greg Blache was a world-class quote. Like, one of the best ever. That means incoming Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has massive, metaphor-stained shoes to fill. And it turns out he's gotten off some good lines in his own past, although the real motherlode is just beyond the reach of my archive skills.

Still, there was that time he stepped on Terry Bradshaw's head during his playing career. While he was coaching at the University of Buffalo in the early '90s, the Buffalo News asked him to revisit the incident, which got him kicked out of the 1979 finale.

"The bad thing is I'm from Pittsburgh and when I was growing up, Jack Lambert and Terry Bradshaw were my idols," Haslett said. "Anybody who has asked me if I did it on purpose, I would say I slipped or something. But the truth is, I knew if they scored again we were never going to beat them. So one of the players accidentally ripped his helmet off, and his head was exposed so I kicked him. It wasn't the best thing to do. My family was getting into fights in the stands. I couldn't go home for a couple off-seasons."

I mean, anyone who stepped on Terry Bradshaw's head is fine by me. (Said with a wink, insofar as if a current Redskin stepped on a star quarterback's head I would be required to express moral indignation while taking photos of the incident on my television.)

That was really just a tiny, tiny example. See, for years, Haslett and teammate Fred Smerlas co-hosted a weekly show on a Buffalo radio station. It sounds unbelievably legendary. Like, were I blogging back then, I'd be forced to transcribe the entire thing every week. A caller once asked Smerlas about his offseason conditioning routine; "I carry two six-packs and chase women around the streets," Smerlas said. Some fans were outraged by the duo joking around during losing seasons; one asked Coach Hank Bullough during his own radio show if he could make it stop.


"Could you possibly do something about those two yo-yos who come on after you? As the boss, couldn't you eliminate this humiliation?" went the question, according to the Globe and Mail.

During one bad Bills season (and there were many), some veteran players held a meeting. A radio caller asked what they talked about.

"Fred's girlfriend," Haslett replied.

Sports Illustrated later asked Smerlas about the show; "We'd say anything that came into our heads," he said. "We'd have guess-the-combined-length-of-our-noses contests, guess-the-name-of-Haslett's-dog contests. The callers would get out of control sometimes. Our fingers would be on the click button to turn 'em off if things got too bad."

Note to Comcast SportsNet. Act quickly here. I should also say that I grew up in Fredonia, N.Y., where the Bills held their training camp during Haslett's playing days. I'm virtually positive I asked him for an autograph as a kid, but I don't think I knew about his quotability. For now, I'll just focus on stuff before 1990. There's lots more. And he also talked about becoming more of a professional after he became a coach, so maybe these days are passed.

Date unknown, via Sports Illustrated: "I don't like any hobbies where you sit down, like playing the guitar or collecting stamps."

1981, talking about the Jets: ''I hate them. More than anybody in the league. They talk all the time, and some of their guys spit on you. I hated to watch their game with Green Bay. It was disgusting. It was pitiful. I hate to lose to them.''

1982, talking about a report of cocaine use in the NFL: "'From the beginning, I said it was a bunch of bull. The only thing that shocked the hell out of me was that a guy would write a thing like that. Fifty percent of the players can't even afford to use cocaine.'

1984, on the radio show: "Hey, Murph, ever wonder what some of these callers look like, fat, ugly, skinny? Do they carry bowling balls?"

1984, on the team's unpopularity: "I have five dogs. They are the only people in Buffalo who like me."

1984, concerning Doug Flutie: "I don't care if he's 4-foot-9. He's a good quarterback."

1985, concerning WIlliam Andrews: "He is just the best runner in the NFL. I know all about Walter Payton, Tony Dorsett, Eric Dickerson and the rest. But Andrews is the best I've seen."

1989, concerning Smerlas: "If you think about what a nose guard goes through, it's amazing he's had all those starts. Both his knees wobble. Both his elbows wobble. But he'll keep on playing until the end."

1990, concerning his diet: "I eat the same stuff every day. Eight pancakes in the morning with skimmed milk, a banana. Turkey sub for lunch: lettuce, tomato, onion -- dry. For dinner I have spaghetti, fish or chicken."

1990, concerning his upcoming fatherhood: "I'm reading books a lot, why they cry. I want to know so I don't get mad if they're crying all night or something."

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 14, 2010; 7:39 AM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Comments

Great stuff Dan. I'm still not thrilled about this guy's qualifications, but at least he's a character.

I look forward to seeing more recent quotes, to see if he really got more "professional" or if we can expect some hilarious stuff from him in the future.

Posted by: REXskins | January 14, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

I grew up in Rochester, and still have a "Bermuda Triangle" poster featuring Haslett, Freddy Smerlas and Shane Nelson.

Posted by: AnnandaleAnnie | January 14, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Where have all the good bald quarterbacks gone? Heck, who do the Skins have without hair past Hall and ARE? Propecia must be making a killing.

Posted by: WorstSeat | January 14, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

yeah, nice post.

Posted by: tedunni1 | January 14, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

The book about babies crying should be of great assistance to him when dealing with Hall, AH and Smoot :-)

Posted by: leopard09 | January 14, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

What is the purpose of the article? If was terrible and a complete waste of my time to read. If you are going write something, make sure it add value to your readers.

Posted by: neil64 | January 14, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone else notice Macho Harris' false start along the goal line right after their TE went in motion? He starts drifting forward, which is called EVERYTIME it happens these days.

Posted by: dupa3 | January 15, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone else notice Macho Harris' false start along the goal line right after their TE went in motion? He starts drifting forward, which is called EVERYTIME it happens these days.

Posted by: dupa3 | January 15, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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