Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Buddy Ryan Whom I Know Would Have Never Used The N-Word


The Buddy Ryan Whom I Know Would Have Never Used The N-Word

I was saddened to hear that, Buddy Ryan, who was my head coach for two years when I played with the Eagles, is battling cancer. Buddy’s son, Jets head coach Rex Ryan says his father will be fine.

“He’s 80 years old, but he’s doing great. He’s tougher than s—,” Rex Ryan said. “He’s had other things in his life. He overcame encephalitis. He’s overcome cancer twice. He’s tough.”

We all pray that Buddy gets back to full health.

While we’re on the subject of Buddy Ryan, I might as well give you my take on the accusations by former Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson that Buddy had used the N-Word in his presence while he was playing with the Bears.

Of course Duerson killed himself recently by shooting himself in the heart. He had been complaining about headaches and loss of memory because of damage that had been done to his brain as result of the head collisions he had experienced while playing NFL football.

Back to the accusations of Buddy using the N-Word, I wasn’t there so I can’t say that what happened between Buddy and Duerson, but I do know that the Buddy Ryan whom I know would have never used that word. One of the things that endeared Buddy to all of us was that you could tell that Buddy cared about you.

If anything it seemed that the African-American players loved Buddy the most. He was like the father that most of the guys didn’t have. He was that Dad, who you wanted to make proud. Buddy pushed you but you know he was doing it to make you a better player.

He got through to the players because he was genuine. Buddy might have cussed at you on the field because of you making a mistake, but he would make it a point to joke with you to let you know that he was still with you. I could give you a list of players, who just smile at the mention of his name because all the guys felt the same about him.

We became family when playing for Buddy and most of the players were black.

We all saw him when he was angry at different times and he never said or acted like he had any racial animus at all. Buddy coached for years, but Duerson is the only person whom I’ve ever heard accuse Buddy of something like that. Ryan coached thousands of black players over the years and the guys all loved playing for him.

I’m not calling Duerson a liar, but I am standing up for the man I know. I think I”m a decent judge of character and Buddy was always brutally honest with all of us. He’s a good man.

Let me say again that the Buddy Ryan whom I know would never use the N-Word.

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