Chat highlights


Chat Highlights

Each Friday during the NFL season, the Pro Football Hall of Fame's web site has invited fans to participate in chat sessions with Hall of Famers. Paul Krause rounds out the regular season next Friday at 10:00 AM ET. The following is a sampling of some of the more colorful replies from many of the all-time greats.

Chuck Bednarik

Q: Who had the biggest influence on your pro career?

Chuck Bednarik: I would think my first coach Earle "Greasy" Neale. I was the first selection in 1949 and he chose me from the University of Pennsylvania. I admired him so much. He introduced me into the Hall of Fame, and two years later I introduced him when he was inducted. I'm looking at a picture of him on my wall right now.



Bob St. Clair

Q: I heard you used to eat raw meat. How did that start and what did your diet consist of?

Bob St. Clair: It started when I was about five. My grandmother, when preparing dinner on the chopping block, would give me pieces of it. Even today, at restaurants and at home, I still eat meat raw. With today's reports coming out about cooked meat, I think eating it raw is healthier for someone like me, who is almost 70! If there was a nuclear holocaust, I guarantee I would survive!



John Hannah

Q: John - it seems linemen just keep getting bigger and bigger (example Detroit's Aaron Gibson, who's playing at well above 380). How did you rate in your day in terms of size and how do you think the game will change as players keep getting bigger?

John Hannah: I was one of the smallest guys on the offensive line back then. The way the game is played today, they've given up mobility for size because it's all pass protection. What's happened is that a lot of the greatness of the game is being missed without a running game. A lot of the schemes and quality of play is definitely missing today.



Mike Haynes

Q: Who is your all-time favorite NFL player? Why?

Mike Haynes: My favorite all-time player is Jim Brown. He was strong, fast, and off the field he was trying to improve society. He had a strong desire to make a difference. As a player, his records stood up for a long time. He's been out of the game a long time, but he is still the guy people use to measure other running backs.



Dwight Stephenson

Q: Is football getting too complicated? For example, all the stunts, coverages, etc?

Dwight Stephenson: Not at all. The game is good and it's great how offenses are moving people around to create mismatches. I think it's great and it's always been a thinking game.



Tony Dorsett

Q: Do you try to give your son advice about playing in the NFL, and if so, does he take it?

Tony Dorsett: No, I don't give him advice. I've given him advice from a financial standpoint. We talk every week after his game. I do some critiquing, but I really don't want to jump in. He's doing it his way. He doesn't need my input he needs my encouragement.



Forrest Gregg

Q: How much do you miss football? Was it tougher retiring from playing or coaching?

Forrest Gregg: I think it's tougher to retire from playing. There's a time for everything and things must come to an end. You have to accept that both as a player and a coach. In coaching, you're not limited in age -- although people think you go braindead after 60! I have great memories of both playing and coaching. As for missing football, I still have friends in coaching that I talk to. I watch college on Saturdays and the pros on Sunday. It's still something I can enjoy!



Joe Schmidt

Q: Did you ever play on artificial turf? If so, did you like it? Do you think that teams that play in domes are hurting the integrity of the game?

Joe Schmidt: I never played on artificial turf and I'm very happy about that. It can shorten your career. All these young guys today have lasting injuries that pop up when you get older. As for domes, I don't really care for them. Football should be played outdoors in the elements. People who go to the games (the real fans) probably enjoy the game more outdoors.



Bobby Bell

Q: What do you think about today's players?

Bobby Bell: They're bigger, stronger and it looks like they've been raised on a farm somewhere! The players platoon so much, too. They're in for 3-4 downs and then they leave the field. When I played, I played on all the offense, all the defense, and special teams. I got into the rhythm of the game and as it went along, I got sharper and sharper. It would be hard for me to play like they do today! You get warm, you get cold, and you don't get into the rhythm of the game!



Ozzie Newsome

Q: What was the hardest part about retiring as a player?

Ozzie Newsome: I think it's missing the relationship with the players. With a group of guys, you establish some bonds. With no arena do you get that, and that's what makes it so special.



Jack Ham

Q: Who was the meanest player on those Steeler Teams? And who was the meanest you ever played against?

Jack Ham: The meanest player on our team was Ernie Holmes. This guy was mean on and off the field. He was a terrorizing player because even his own teammates were afraid of him! As for people I played against, I would say Conrad Dobler. He cheap-shotted me a couple times!



Roger Staubach

Q: Do you still get fired up when you see the video of the Hail Mary pass to Drew Pearson at Metropolitan Stadium in Minnesota?

Roger Staubach: You know, I do! Ironically, last night I was at this party and Charlie Waters was there. He had a VHS tape of that game and sent a copy over to me today! I'm going to try and watch that whole game. We were a Wild Card team that year against the Vikings and a big underdog. It was 14-10 at the time and time was running out. When I threw the ball to Pearson, I kind of under-threw it. The term "Hail Mary" was developed because after the game, I told the press I closed my eyes and said a "Hail Mary."

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