Hall of Famer Q&A Archive
Week 8: Ted Hendricks
Enshrined in 1990
LINEBACKER 6-7, 220
1969-1973 Baltimore Colts
1974 Green Bay Packers
1975-1983 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders
Three-time All-America. . .No. 2 draft pick, 1969. . .Strong, fast, devastating tackler, used height to great advantage. . . Played in 215 straight games. . .In eight Pro Bowls, seven AFC title games, four Super Bowls. . .All-AFC seven times, All-NFC once. . .Career record: 25 blocked field goals or PATs, 26 interceptions, 16 opponents' fumble recoveries, four safeties. . .Born November 1, 1947, in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
Mr. Hendricks, You played with some of the most colorful personalities ever in the NFL, such as Stabler and Tatum, and I recall the NFL Films footage of you wearing a mask on the sideline during a game. Were there any pranks or practical jokes, that were played, that really stand out to you? - Mike J. in Florence, MS
TH: Well, that wasn't a practical joke - the mask that I wore on Monday night TV. I was very upset because I wasn't starting in the lineup and was sitting on the bench. Not to show my frustrations, I picked up a Harlequin's mask at a Renaissance Fair in the Bay Area. And, I thought would show my disgust about not being able to play - hide my frustration with a big smile on my mask.
Ted, You have had the privilege to play for three storied NFL franchises. What is one lasting impression that you have for each of these teams? - Kevin Ganther, La Crosse, WI
TH: All those teams that I played for were all classic teams. It was a privilege to be drafted by the old Baltimore Colts. And not only that but the rivalry with the Green Bay Packers and I end up playing for both teams. Then, to go to the Raiders, who had played the Packers in the Super Bowl. And, as far as with the merger teams, they were one of predominant teams in the AFL at that time and their history goes back as far as anybody's in the AFL. It was a privilege for me to play on all three of those teams.
Mr. Hendricks - How did you get the nickname 'Mad Stork?' - Marie Anderson
TH: The University of Miami's defensive team had a middle guard on the team that was nicknamed the "Mad Dog." So he decided to nickname all the other ten players on the defensive team with the prefix "mad." Since I had skinny legs and the mascot for the University of Miami team was an ibis in the stork family, he named me the "Mad Stork."
What's your feeling about this current Raider team, can you see them in the Super Bowl this February? P. Kondratuk
TH: I was very frustrated last year when the Raiders didn't make it to the Super Bowl game, especially with home field advantage. They have a wonderful opportunity to repeat in the playoffs and hopefully this time they will make it to the Super Bowl.
Who was the best defensive player that you played with on the Raiders?
TH: The defensive team had no really big standouts. They were all considered great players. That goes for our defensive backfield to our linebacking crew to our defensive line. It wouldn't be fair for me to pick one out of the many that have passed through the years. Maybe that's why we don't have any numbers retired on offense or defense in the Raider organization because they would have to use triple digits in their numbering scheme on the jerseys.
Hello Ted, How good of a TE do you think Dave "The Ghost" Casper was? Do you think he should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame? - Barry Corrigan
TH: Dave Casper played for the Raiders and as far as I was concerned was the best tight end in the league at the time. And that goes for the fact that he was a well-rounded tight end - he could catch, he could block, and he could run with the ball. A lot of the tight ends at that time were just glorified or pseudo-wide receivers, they didn't block very well and only more in tuned to the passing offense than they were to both the run and the pass. I was very fortunate that I started out with John Mackey at the Baltimore Colts, he was my teammate, and I had the privilege to also have as my teammate is Dave Casper. So, any tight end that I faced in the National Football League on game day was a piece of cake compared to practicing with those two.
Hi Ted, I am a HUGE Raiders fan, I was wondering if you are still involved with the Raiders in any capacity, and also during your playing days who was the hardest QB for you to sack and who was the hardest running back for you to stop. - Barry Dodson, Chico, CA
TH: Well, I'm a big fan of the Raiders. I'm not involved with any part of running the business. I do have the privilege of being able to sit up in the box with our owner Al Davis and his family, and a couple of the other Hall of Famers with the Raiders. We try to make as many games as possible during the year; it's quite a treat.
The quarterback that was the toughest is always the ones that run a lot. I have to break it down in passing also. The most accurate passer that I played against was Joe Namath. He impressed me a few times with his pinpoint passing. I was standing right next to the defender at the time and he was completing the ball. The one that was the hardest to catch was Fran Tarkenton. He ran back and forth across the field and I think the best you could do was to stop and wait for him to come back to you again.
The running backs that were the toughest were Earl Campbell because I dreaded even thinking about tackling him below the waist with the size thighs he had. And, Pete Johnson from the Cincinnati Bengals, he was a real load. And, Larry Csonka - they're all the same type of power running backs. Now, as far as strength and speed is concerned, Walter Payton, by all means he was the best running back that played the game. He impressed me, he broke my tackle, nobody's ever broken a tackle on me, and went for another five yards. I was in awe of him.
Dear Ted, Do you see any similarities between the 2001 Raiders, and any of the Raider Super Bowl teams you played on? - Dino L'abbate, Just Win Baby!
TH: Similarities are hard to go by because they use such a different offense and the defenses aren't the same either. The linebackers are just position players, there's not really a defined outside linebacker or a middle linebacker out there, and they use so many defensive backs when it's passing downs, and it's hard to have a defensive backfield in there and that plays all the time. I guess the regulars are the ones that are the best. I see comparativeness in the defensive backfield in that way because the 2001 team got great defensive backs just like the teams I was associated with in the late '70s and early '80s.
Are there any current players that remind you of yourself?
I think that mold was thrown away a long time ago. I'm the tallest linebacker that ever played professional football. The position of the linebacker is getting faded out - outside linebacker that is - I don't see anybody in that stature in size becoming a real linebacker. You might have a standup rushing defensive end if you want to call it that or a linebacker. But, his job would just be to rush the passer. To me that's not a linebacker that's qualified to play the pass, the run, and the blitz.
Hi Ted, Over time, I have heard from a few Buffalo Bills fans that you were close to signing with Buffalo at one point in the 1970's. Is there any truth to that? The defense sure could have used you. - Jeff Kujawa, Buffalo
TH: Yes there was. Buffalo extended an offering to me when I was a free agent. I signed with the World Football League, and then the league folded and was no longer in business at the time and I was a free agent coming back to the NFL. I had two other teams that approached me but if the Raiders hadn't signed me I would have been going to Buffalo or the New York Giants.
Dear Ted, Being out of the game now for a couple of decades, are there any regrets you have looking back on your career, if any, what are they and do you ever wish for those days back? - Bill Hoffman, Prineville, Oregon
TH: Looking back on the career that I had, I was very fortunate to come in at the time I did and to make the Baltimore Colts at that time of my career because they had all-pros at all positions when I was drafted by them. And, I thought I was never going to make that team. And lo and behold, as things turned out that I was starting the seventh game of the season. From then on out, it was just trying to make myself better at the position I was playing. Never did I think about not starting after that time but worked at trying to get better and achieve the best that I could.
The teams that I got to play with were all high-caliber teams. It was a pleasure being on the teams - there were no malcontents - everybody worked together. It was sort of like a family being with each team - the Baltimore Colts, the Green Bay Packers, and the Raiders.
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