Switzer Speaks: Favre to Fox?

NORMAN, Okla. -- Even at 70, the controversial Barry Switzer remains a roguish alpha male.

The legendary coach – "legendary,'' anyway, to fans who appreciate his three national titles at Oklahoma and his Super Bowl win with the Cowboys – still talks without a filter and charms without an effort while serving as an unofficial ambassador for his favorite school, the state of Oklahoma and football in general.

That's why FOX included Switzer on its studio show last year, pairing him as a "Grumpy Old Man'' with long-time friend/nemesis Jimmy Johnson. But Switzer told me on Friday that while the network is still negotiating with him about a role, FOX may replace him on its totem pole with another legendary name.

"Well, they're talking to Favre,'' said Switzer as we both attended OU's Honorary Degree luncheon on the school's campus. "I still think they want me involved in some way. But with Brett. … they might pair him in a segment with (Terry) Bradshaw, I don't know. … It's a lot of fun for me, but there's only so much time (available) on that show. And, hey, he's Brett Favre!''

A Packer beating out a Cowboy? That's a rare occurrence. But don't weep for Switzer; he has carved out for himself an incredible life, his "Bucket List'' likely completed long ago. He and Becky, a celebrity in her own right as OU's long-time gymnastics coach, own a gorgeous home within walking distance of Memorial Stadium.

Beyond his financial successes in football – "Jerry was pretty generous to me, you might remember,'' he chuckled -- Switzer is involved in various businesses, including diagnostic imaging centers, oil-and-gas development, real estate and radio.

"Basically,'' he laughed, "I'm self-employed.''

Switzer said he has fond memories of his time with the Cowboys, but rarely makes the trip south to Dallas anymore. He was at the team's recent minicamp at Valley Ranch, where he told reporters that Jones had offered him a job, "But four years of his b.s. is enough.''

No, Oklahoma is his place, Oklahomans his people. There's no security gate in front of his home. There are no bodyguards. His name graces one of the buildings on campus. The problems the football program had its notorious problems under his watch; maybe lessons have been learned. These folks view his legacy, though, as the Sooners' three national championships (1974, 1975, 1985) and his incredible record of 157-2-4. Despite his 45-26 record over four seasons with the Cowboys, some in Dallas don't have the same fond recollections, but again, for the record, he is one of just two men to win a college national title and a Super Bowl. The other, of course, is Jimmy.

Despite his age and what he would unabashedly admit was a honky-tonk'ing lifestyle, Switzer appears to have little wear-and-tear on him. He's fit, still built like a bull, and appears only to be enduring that ever-present stiff neck. (If you ever approach him, do so from his left; he can't turn his head to the right.)

"She doesn't have to wheel me around, not yet,'' Barry said, nodding toward his wife.

And then he handed me his business card.

"I got my first business cards printed up just two years ago; I never had ‘em before that,'' he said, and of course, the guileless Switzer has included on his card his personal email address and cell phone number. Also on the card:

An "OU'' logo and the Cowboys' star.

"When you see Jerry,'' Switzer concluded, "tell him I used the star. I didn't even ask permission. But I figure I got that much coming to me, right?''

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