Some Questions for Kevin Mack

Man, back in the day I used to love to watch this guy run. A day after Jamel White signed a contract extension, and in an off-season where it is expected that William Green has a shot at 1,000 yards next year, I figured that our subscribers might want to read this interview with the great Kevin Mack. Power running. Real football. This article was originally published in Issue 3 of Bernie's Insiders Magazine on 12/17/2001 - AB.

Present Occupation: I was an assistant football coach with Texas Southern University from 1995 until this past year. I have been playing a lot of golf since then. Now that the weather is turning colder, I am focusing on my family and getting the Christmas decorations up. I have also inquired about a position with the expansion Houston Texans, but I have not heard from them yet.

Family: It is Ava, my wife and me.

Residence: We live in Sugarland,Texas. It is right outside of Houston.

Q: Have you seen any Browns games this year?

No. It seems like the only games we ever get on television down here are either the Cowboys or the Rams.

Have you visited the new stadium?

Only once. I was there for the opening game two years ago against Pittsburgh.

How does it compare to the old Municipal Stadium and the old Dawg Pound in particular?

I really preferred the old stadium. For me personally, it was the perfect place to play football. Uneven sod, dirt spots, bumps, crests, mud, dog bones, wind, snow, overwhelming noise, it had all the elements of old time football.

There wasn't anything fancy about it. In fact, there weren't many good things to be said about the condition of it either. Yet, when you walked into the place, you couldn't help but feel the tradition of all the great players who had played there previously. It is hard to describe, but it was almost like you could feel it in your bones.

The new stadium is very nicety done, but it doesn't have that same feeling to it. Maybe it will come with time.

I think it would help tremendously if the team figured out a better way to get the former Browns involved. It would help to pass on the tradition to the current players. As a player, it motivated me to understand what a privilege it was to put on a Cleveland Browns uniform. It wasn't just any uniform. It was the CLEVELAND BROWNS. Jim Brown, Otto Graham, Leroy Kelly, so many great players. If I didn't give it my all every play like they had, I would have felt like I was belittling their effort and memory.

What advantages did playing in the old stadium offer?

Most people didn't realize what a difference our fans made. They were, by far, the loudest anywhere. Throw in the stadium turf and weather factors and I cannot think of a harder place for an opposing team to play, especially in late November and December.

I used to walk the field before games looking for places on the turf, if that's what you call it, that might offer me an advantage during the game. There were places on the field that you just couldn't make a move on. If you did, then you would slip. By figuring out where those bad spots were before the game, you could create advantage for yourself during the game by running a defender into those areas and making your move before you got there.

What is your favorite Browns memory?

My favorite memories are of my teammates and the friendships we shared. There are a lot of specific football memories, plays in particular that I remember, but nothing compares to the camaraderie we shared in the locker room. We were truly a family.

When I find the time to sit back and remember my playing days, I remember how we all stuck together and supported each other more than any one game or play.

What was the best Browns team you played on?

The 1987 team, the year we lost the AFC Championship Game in Denver. It was really our coming out year. Before 1987, we were a young team. We didn't really understand the game.

The experience we accumulated from the 1986 season and the playoffs was invaluable. As the 1987 season began, we started to understand what it took to be a great team and we had the confidence to back it up. It was really our best chance to get to the Super Bowl.

With a little bit of better luck it could have been our year.

If you could have one game back in your career, which one would it be?

"The Drive" game against Denver. That was the single hardest game for me to swallow.

We had it won. If we could have just held the ball on offense a little longer, maybe stayed in bounds on a running play, picked up an extra yard here or there, not played the prevent defense and stuck with our regular defense instead, or whatever, it could have been different. It is certainty an easy game to second guess now in retrospect.

How did you know it was time to retire?

I made the decision during training camp in 1993 that it would be my last year. I made the decision, for better or worse, and I stuck with it.

In retrospect, I probably retired too soon. I think I still had some plays left in me. However, the opportunity never presented itself again in Cleveland. Bill Belichick was head coach and the team and organization were in turmoil after that.

After spending nine years in Cleveland like I had, the thought of joining another team just didn't appeal to me. I wanted to retire as a Cleveland Brown.

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