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Rams '87 : PREVIEW SECTION : Q & A : Harrah Has Seen and Lived It All

September 11, 1987|CHRIS DUFRESNE | Times Staff Writer

A: It's a daily struggle. I'm an offensive lineman. If I was a great athlete I'd be catching the ball. Football has been a struggle since Little League in West Virginia when I was 9 years old. You've got to be a phenomenal athlete and I'm not. I've got to work my butt off every time I go out there just to survive. It's not like I can sit there and pass block like there's nothing to it. It takes a lot of mental work to make you that sick every play. It's not a perverted sick, but you have got to be sick mentally every play because a normal human being can't do that every day. Sure, people get fired up in a board meeting, but they don't get fired up thinking someone's going to break their neck.

Q: So you're saying you can't afford to be secure?

A: As soon as I think I'm comfortable, I'm lying on my back with somebody's footprint on my body. I get my butt whipped. As soon as I think I got it made, they'll give me an old Timex and a Greyhound bus ticket. Just so I don't have to ride on the RTD system. I don't want to get in a wreck before I go home.

Q: You came into the NFL in a pretty exciting era.

A: It was fantastic. I got to play with some of the old boys, the boys that had a good time, I mean from the moment training camp started, they loved it--football, and everything that came along with it. They used to stick both feet in and have a good time. I mean it.

Q: So what's so different now?

A: It's a business now. You need 14 accountants and two lawyers for everyone that wants to sue you. You've got to have a driver to drive your car so you don't get in trouble driving. Everything's a problem now. We've got problem groups for every facet of our lives. It's sort of cool now to admit you have a problem. I mean ever since Betty Ford . . .

Q: Who are some of the characters you played with and what do you remember about them?

A: Well, there was (linebacker) Isiah Robertson, who had an excuse for training camp about every three days. Every few days Isiah would come up with something and leave camp.

And (center) Rich Saul, he wanted the team to double his salary one year or else he'd only play half the year and someone else would have to play the second half. Then, he wanted to go play with his brother (Ron, with the Washington Redskins) and we all came to the conclusion that Rich Saul was a nut. He lives right beside me now, and I've come to the conclusion that I'm positive now, he is a nut.

Q: What about Tom Mack?

A: He was the biggest jerk of all. He pulled out more chest hairs of mine than I had. And every time you had a bruise or a cut he'd stick his finger in it and ask if it hurt.

Q: Jack Youngblood?

A: I never knew anybody that worked as hard to be somebody. Jack works 24 hours a day to be Jack and that's a hard job, to be like John Wayne. And Jack Youngblood is no doubt the John Wayne of football. There's a lot of responsibility that comes with it. You've got to say all the right things at all the right times.

Q: Fred Dryer?

A: He used to eat horse oats, really, the kind you'd feed a horse. You could tell when you walked into his room because here was a horrible smell in there. And Fred never wore clothes. You'd walk in his room and he'd just be sitting there on the floor, eating his oats, naked.

Q: Did you guys know that Fred was going to make it in Hollywood.

A: Oh yeah, you could see that in Fred. He was bizarre, but he's good for a team. There was not one person that didn't like Fred Dryer. It's like the time (head coach) Chuck Knox raised a big stink about everyone's uniform regulations and Fred Dryer came out to practice with red Christmas socks on. Chuck Knox about died, but Freddy didn't care. He could make fun of any moment there was.

Q: Jack (Hacksaw) Reynolds?

A: Friend to none. I think Jack Reynolds probably got the first dime he ever earned except for what his wife has spent.

Q: Lawrence McCutcheon?

A: Lawrence won the team's "Ugmo Contest" seven years in a row. But he married a pretty wife. Just shows what money can do.

Q: Eric Dickerson?

A: What he can do is phenomenal, he's one of the most talented people I've ever seen in my life. He can't do anything but help me. Even on a bad block he can make me look good.

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