Before the NFL Combine and NFL scouting departments, teams sent questionnaires to prospects to gather information before the draft. This continued at least through the late 1960s. In the summer of 1982, I attended a Milwaukee Brewers game against the Baltimore Orioles with my Little League teammate Chuck Hable and his dad. Three things stick out about that day: 1) Ben Oglivie hit a late double, spurring the Brewers to a 9-7 victory. 2) Retroactive research shows Cal Ripken was less than two weeks into his consecutive games streak. 3) Chuck brought along his dad’s binoculars. The case bore an emblem that said, “Rose Bowl Particpant.” Chuck’s father, Burton Hable, played safety for the University of Wisconsin. His senior season, 1952, marked the Badgers first Rose Bowl appearance. Hable tied for the Big 10 lead in interceptions, making three in the regular season finale against Minnesota. Several NFL teams sent Hable inquiries. I’ve always wanted to see a questionnaire […]
The Green Bay Packers website announced that Terdell Middleton passed away. Middleton was a popular player for the Packers in the late 1970s. He topped the 1,000-yard mark in 1978. The effort landed him on the cover of the 1979 Packers yearbook. Middleton starred at Memphis State in college and was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals dealt him to the Packers during the preseason. An occasional return man, he returned a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown his rookie season. He became the franchise’s fourth 1,000-yard rusher in his second season, but never played a full 16-game slate afterward. The Packers released him before the 1982 season, and he played two years for division rival Tampa Bay before returning to his hometown to play for the USFL’s Memphis Showboats. After leaving football, Middleton reportedly spent 15 years as a firefighter. He passed away just a few days shy of his 60th birthday.
The Southwest Conference Hall of Fame recently inducted Eric Metcalf, along with eight others. Eric excelled in both football and track for the University of Texas. He followed his father Terry Metcalf‘s quick footsteps into the National Football League. The Cleveland Browns drafted Eric 13th overall in the legendary 1989 NFL Draft. He earned All-Pro honors twice, and made the Pro Bowl three times. Eric, you grew up in a pro football environment. What did you learn from your dad that helped you succeed later on? The hard work. A lot of people are very athletic and are able to play sports at any level. But I saw my dad — being as good as he was — still training like he had never done anything on the field. It was instilled in me that even though you have athletic ability, you still have to work to be the best. And you always want to be the best. Watch […]