A fun Jim Haslett story
Not long after Jim Haslett was hired as defensive coordinator by the Redskins, I tried to nab a few entertaining anecdotes from the archives, including the time he stepped on Terry Bradshaw's head. Many of the good stories seemed to involve Fred Smerlas, so I went ahead and bought Smerlas's biography off of Amazon.
There are several good Haslett moments, which I'll get to at a later date -- Smerlas calls Haslett his "off-field partner in crime." But for now, I just wanted to share one of his first appearances in the book. This comes from By a Nose: The Off-Center Life of Football's Funniest Lineman, by Fred Smerlas and Vic Carucci.
I brought a girlfriend from Boston to spend a couple of days with me [at Bills minicamp]. As we walked through the hotel where the Bills had all of their rookies and other out-of-town players staying, we ran into Jim Haslett. The Bills had also drafted him in the second round that year, nineteen picks after yours truly, from little Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Haslett reminded me of a bird, with his teeny head, long, skinny nose, wide shoulders and high-pitched voice. It didn't take long to discover he was of the cuckoo species.
When I saw him later, by myself, the first thing he said was, "Hey, your girlfriend has nice [slang for breasts, rhymes with Ritz]." It wasn't the kind of thing a 230-pound guy normally says to a 280-pound guy he doesn't know very well.
Which was why we instantly hit it off.
Of course, this doesn't count as nostalgia for you, as a Redskin fan; it counts as nostalgia for me, since I was raised in Western New York. So for you, here's what Smerlas had to say about John Riggins:
You could actually hear Riggo growling before every snap. There was a glare in his eyes. You just knew he wanted to make you a notch in the back of his Redskins helmet. Csonka was hardly what you'd call an evasive runner, but if it was possible for him to avoid you, he would. Not Riggins. If you were close enough to him as he ran downfield, he'd actually slow down a little to try and give you a shot. Riggins just enjoyed the sound of crunching bones -- especially if they were someone else's.
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