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Tight End? Keep Dreamin'

I played tight end in high school and a couple of years in college, including my senior year. I loved the position, which offered a mix of banging in the trench with the big guys, as well as catching a few balls and running over the little ones. After signing my free agent contract with the Cowboys, I researched their tight end situation. I was bummed to see some serious Pro Bowl talent in Billy Joe Dupree and Doug Cosbie.


I arrived at California Lutheran College with 120 other free agents and the Cowboys’ draft picks, overwhelmed, to say the least. Then, my first look at the veterans came when the whole squad assembled in an oversized team meeting room where Head Coach Tom Landry held court. As he introduced his supporting staff of all the assistant coaches, I fixated on my new position coach, Mike Ditka, who also led the Special Teams. Ditka was a tough-looking, tobacco-chewing, no-sense guy. I’d have to elevate my effort to get more than a glance.

Coach Landry wished us all the best, instructing us to follow our position coaches to our meeting rooms. I joined the tight ends, and as Ditka broke into his opening speech, I was one big goosebump sitting with these All-Pro tight ends and a couple of tall, slender rookie studs. Then the door in the rear of the room abruptly blew open, followed by a yell from the Offensive Line Coach Jim Myers, “God Dammit Wright, get your ass in with the lineman…you are not fuckin’ a tight end,” followed by a hardy laugh from all as I bolted upright.


Coach Myers was a salty old dog with a broken nose pointing sideways who oozed command and control. I’d later learn that his approach was to verbally beat players down to see if they had the fight to overcome the ass-chewing. I was taken aback and a little embarrassed, trailing him into the lineman meeting room, where thirty-plus guys looked at me with smirks and chuckles.


Once we finished our initial meeting, we all suited up in shorts, tees, and cleats for drills. Coach Myers was not through with me, though. He looked me up and down, rubbed his chin, and came closer as all the other rookies looked on. I couldn’t understand his concerned expression as my mind raced with paranoia.  He leaned down, examining my legs, and questioned loudly for all to hear, “Does Polio run in your family?”


You’ve got to have leather skin, as they say, in this macho environment, but my jaw dropped, and everyone else laughed their asses off. Welcome to the big leagues.

More on this topic and many others in my memoir, Aggressively Human, available here: Amazon: Aggressively Human. You can also request personalized copies available via

2 opmerkingen

Could totally see you as a TE Steve and it makes good sense. However, the hero’s are in the trenches, something you did extremely well. Your book is a great read. A modern day version of Instant Replay with the bonus of an insight in life. Well done sir!


Waiting on next book.

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