Sam Huff column: It is war without guns
Sam Huff was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1982. Huff, a Middleburg resident, played in the National Football League from 1956 through 1969 as a linebacker with the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins.
I keep getting questions about what is happening with the NFL, about whether there will be a season. And again, I keep saying the same thing, “Yes, we will. NFL football is too important and too much money is involved not to have a season. We will.”
However, I was called to Redskins Park recently by the people in charge of Redskins Radio Broadcasting. (I drove up to the gate; the guard recognized me and waved me through. Nice, after all these years to have someone do that.)
I entered the building, and B.J. was at her post greeting and meeting anyone who entered. I took it upon myself to walk through the building, past the weight room and past the locker room. No one there, completely empty. What a waste of time and money. I felt like I was going through a divorce.
We are all waiting on that big agreement. Some of the world’s finest athletes, coaches and officials are waiting, not to mention all the other many service providers connected with the world’s greatest sport. As we say in West Virginia, “Get ‘er done!” Let the games begin.
When the agreement is reached, there will be many changes. Of course, as in any front office of an NFL team, the front office has the ball. Dan Snyder, Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan are the decision makers for the Redskins, and the changes will be their responsibilities.
For example, the Redskins drafted 12 football players. Making it to the pros is one of the greatest things that can happen to a young player, but there is a downside. You are talking about replacements here. Someday, sooner or later, all seasoned athletes will be let go. There will always be ready, willing and able replacements. Competition in NFL football is tough. This is war without guns.
Believe me, there is nothing worse for a professional football player than to be called to the front office and dismissed. For most players in the NFL, that is the worst fear. Being traded or fired has a tremendous impact emotionally and mentally on any professional player and his family. I’m speaking from experience. I was drafted by the New York Giants, and after eight very successful seasons with the Giants, I was traded.
Wellington Mara who owned the Giants had given me his word I would not be traded. I felt secure playing for a great team in the greatest city in the world. Mara did not keep his word, and Allie Sherman, the head coach at the time, traded me. Sherman was determined to replace Tom Landry’s and my famous defense with his own when he became head coach. I was traded to the Redskins.
I took a little time to consider what had happened. I knew I could still play and still lead a defensive team. I was determined to get even with Allie Sherman. The only way I could do that was to play with another team; so, I played for the Redskins.
Fortunately for me, Sonny Jurgensen, my “Brother of the Legacy” was traded to the same team. We worked well together, did then and still do. We made it happen. Eventually, the Redskins scored 72 points against the Wellington Mara and Allie Sherman’s Giants at RFK Stadium. I looked across the field at Allie Sherman, and he knew where I was coming from. I remember the moment every day. Revenge is sweet. How sweet it was! It’s war without guns.