It's an unfortunate thing that happened with my pro career. There was nothing I could do about it. It's just one of those things that happen sometimes. I think God blessed me. You look at all the things that happened -- my injury, my knee was all messed up, I didn't get the best care for it, I had negative things happen in surgery and in recovery. I never blamed anyone. I took it as part of life and learned from it. But I was blessed. When you go through a Children's Hospital and see all the children who are born with cancer, born blind, seeing kids like that makes you really appreciate what you have. When you see kids like that as part of reality, you figure whatever happens, I'm alright. A lot of children I've worked with over the years will never have the opportunity to run or jump or do the normal things people do. I've been blessed by God. Whatever happened to me in pro football, it was nothing. I'm just glad to have had the opportunity to play the game. Injuries are part of the game. You think about drriving a car. Some people go their whole lives without getting into an accident. Others get killed as soon as they start driving. Why, I don't know but I'm blessed to have the opportunity I had to play professional football.
Following your pro football career, you became a professional boxer. Tell us more about that.
Well, I was through playing football and I was just tired of lifting and doing that kind of stuff. I said to myself that I'm gonna try something else. I turned to boxing as a workout. One of my friends said why not do a pro fight. Well, I got a chance to do a pro fight and that one led to 29 pro fights. I had a great time fighting. I faught on some Oscar De la Hoya cards. I faught on George Foreman's card. I faught on HBO. I actually signed a contract to fight George Foreman but the contract fell through at the last minute and after that, I stopped fighting.
Tell us a little bit about your son, A.J., who has committed to play for the Hurricanes next year.
He's a unique kid because he's a football guy. He loves football. His whole life is football. He eats, sleeps, and drinks football. He's got a great work ethic. I don't know how good he'll ever be in football but I tell him the same thing my dad always said -- your work ethic will determine how far you go in football and in life. If you got the determination to be the best, then you'll have a chance. He's a good kid, been playing varsity football since the 9th grade in Houston. He's a good leader for his team. As a father, you can't ask for anything more than what he's done in his short life.
How excited were the two of you when Miami offered him a scholarship?
I didn't even know Miami would recruit him. He called me from school one day and was like, 'Dad, Miami was here and they liked me'. Next thing you know, Coach Nix came down, then Coach Robinson came down. They said they were gonna offer and as soon as they did, he told them, 'I'm coming'. I actually didn't know that was such a dream of his. The funny thing is, his whole life he's sat around Miami players, heard stories, and things like that. He's always listened to the stories, heard friends talk about Miami to him. He's watched all the ESPN Classic games. He's seen it all. But I never tried to push him to Miami just in case they didn't recruit him because I didn't wanna see his heart broken. When they offered, he told Coach Robinson that he was ready to go. Randy had asked me about my son before. I said he was a good athlete but I never pressed it. I think they're getting a good kid, the type of kid you want in your program. I know he's my son but he's the type of kid we need to get back to getting -- kids who wanna be Hurricanes, kids who will practice with pride, kids who believe being a Hurricane is important to them. I think he'll be alright.
These days, you often hear about recruits talking about depth charts. That never seemed to bother you guys when building the dynasty. Why is that?
I hear parents saying that all the time. I told my son who gives a damn who else they recruit. You take of yourself. Your work ethic will determine how far you guy. We never worried about who else they were bringing in. If they can't outwork you, it doesn't matter. That's how it was and that's how it is still. We didnt' care who they brought in -- they still had to produce every day on the practice field and the better guys you have around you, the harder you've gotta work.