Ron Mix San Diego Chargers & Oakland Raiders
"I play the game mechanically. I’m like a guy packing a lunch and going to work. A ditch-digger breaks up clods of dirt, but he doesn’t do it because he hates dirt. He’s just got a job to do. I generally approach football the same way.”
The most amazing aspect of the Ron Mix story is that he played football at all. In high school, he really wanted to play baseball, was fairly successful in track but somehow ended up playing football, a sport he really didn’t like.
Ron did well enough to earn a scholarship to the University of Southern California. With the Trojans, he put on some weight, became an excellent offensive tackle, and attracted the attention of scouts from both the National Football League and the new American Football League.
Since the Los Angeles Chargers offered a better contract, Mix opted for the AFL. The fact that he would be playing in his hometown was of little consequence because he intended to play only long enough "to get a start in life, just a year or two."
But as his development as a player continued, he realized he was really enjoying the game, and decided to stick around. A good student who continued his education eventually earning a law degree, Ron was nicknamed "The Intellectual Assassin."
He was also a student of the game. On passing plays, he would pop out at his opponent at the moment of the center snap, hit him, drive him back and continue to attack until the pass was in the air. On running plays, his uncanny balance enabled him to take out the defensive end with a chopping block and proceed downfield where he could wipe out the cornerback.
During his 10 years with the Chargers he was assessed for only two holding penalties. He was an All-AFL selection eight times as a tackle and once as a guard, and played in eight AFL All-Star games and five of the first six AFL title games. He was unanimously chosen for the AFL's all-time team in 1969.