Taping Hall of Famers: Bubba Tyer on Green and Monk

Director of sports medicine Bubba Tyer is a Redskins institution. This is his 37th season with the team, so he seemed like a good person to go to for some reflections on Darrell Green and Art Monk.

Director of Sports Medicine Bubba Tyer

Director of Sports Medicine Bubba Tyer -- Photo by Don Wright

His office was being vacuumed when I got there, so our conversation started in the hall in front of the pictures of Redskins Hall of Famers, which proved a helpful beginning.

So you’ve been with team 37 years, and have treated seven Hall of Famers.

Whoa, I didn’t realize that.

I haven’t counted yet, but do you think that includes the new inductees?

I would think so.

(He turns to the pictures on the wall, arranged chronologically, and starts at the beginning.)

I did NOT treat Sammy Baugh.

(He walks to the end.)

Okay, I treated Sonny Jurgensen, Charley Taylor, Kenny Houston, John Riggins, and Joe Gibbs…

…plus Monk and Green make seven. Wow.

(We move to his office, now vacuumed, where we sit for the rest of our talk.)

What’s your very first memory of each of these two guys?

I remember Art being drafted. I remember Darrell being drafted too, but he was a little guy, and he was kind of like Bobby Beathard’s pick. Even though we took him in the first round, he wasn’t impressive looking, because he was a little guy and a cornerback.

Art Monk was the big wide receiver we’d been looking for. He was an impressive man to see on film, and to meet in person. We knew right away, just by his stature, we were excited to see him play.

I seem to remember reading that people were mistaking Darrell Green for a trainer or an assistant when he first got here?

He has the size of a trainer. I’m as tall as Darrell Green, okay?

So when did you realize how good he was?

Once you see him on the field and you see him start running, and you see that bounding run that he had. God gave him a gift – several gifts, actually, but one gift that stands out was his ability to run. The man can run. He could run without training … he could run.

By “run,” you mean more than just speed, but…

I mean RUN. He’s just a beautiful runner. His form, his style, the speed that goes with it … it was beautiful.

When did you realize he might be Hall of Fame caliber?

Oh, gosh, that’s probably after several years. You know, he had a 20 year career with us … I don’t know that there’s some point that you think “they’re Hall of Fame.” It never comes to mind like that, really.

You’re a trainer — well, director of sports medicine — and, as you say, Darrell had a 20 year career. What did he do, what did you see that contributed to that durability?

Well, one thing, the longevity factor is the fact that DG was a gifted athlete. Darrell was a guy that took care of himself. He’s not a drinker, he didn’t run the streets, he trained well – and he didn’t overtrain, either. He might think differently thinking about being over at George Mason running those hills – he didn’t run a lot at Redskins Park in the offseason; he and Art and a group of players led by Art would train on some hills and the track over at George Mason. And he ran there a lot.

But I don’t think he overtrained, and maybe that’s part of the secret of his longevity.

I heard Shawn Springs outside say that Green could step in and play nickel cornerback right now at 48. What do you think?

I would wanna work on him for a couple of weeks, make sure that he’s in shape. He never had a pulled groin or a hamstring, I’d hate to see that happen in a rebirth of his career.

But could he do that? You would think he could, yeah.

And what about Art Monk?

He was a quiet leader. He didn’t like the limelight, he didn’t like the interviews. The only people who got frustrated with him in the building was the PR department, because they had so many opportunities for him to share his knowledge and personality with people, and he just didn’t like doing it. And we all respected Art for that.

You’ve got no way of knowing for sure, but do you think that affected his being voted into the Hall of Fame?

I think it probably has something to do with it. I mean if you compare receivers, the ones that are out there now that are good – some of them make a lot more noise than Art, but they’re not as good as Art. But they draw more attention to themselves, and that attention or notoriety maybe gives a writer some reason to think that someone is Hall of Fame material. I think you’ve gotta base it on the player you are, what you meant to the team, and Art is a true Hall of Famer.

He was so good for our team, and the league. We need more like him.

Now, I remember Art had a couple of injuries, but it was mainly flukey broken bones, right?

He broke his foot. It was a sad deal, in a way, because he had what looked like it was developing into a stress fracture, a Jones fracture … it’s in the bone that leads down to your little toe, the fifth metatarsal. And I remember that our doctor, myself, Art, and Coach Gibbs were in his office discussing this injury and the possibilities of what could happen.

But all of us came to a conclusion, and Art agreed, that it was important that he play in the next game. And in the middle of that game, the bone broke, and he missed the Super Bowl run.

And that was a Super Bowl win, right?

Yeah, we went on to win it that year.

Okay, last thing: share one more memory of each of the two guys as we get ready to go celebrate them in Canton.

I have great memories of both of them. They always treated me with a lot of respect, and I reciprocated and treated them with a lot of respect, because they deserved it.

I had fun with Darrell. I taped his ankles every day of his 20 year carrerr, and the tape had to be on in just a certain way. I used to have to wind the tape off the spool and then REwind it so there’s wasn’t so much tension on it. He wanted the tape to be just laid gently on his ankle, and we would do that.

I also remember Darrell at old RFK stadium, in the whirlpool. We had a series of small rooms that served as a training room in that stadium, and he would get in that whirlpool before every game and he’d sing just as loud as he wanted to sing.

And I liked the training room quiet, but when he’s singing religious songs, it’s hard to say “Hey, Darrell, shut up!”

And Art was the quiet gentleman. I’d tape him, on occasion one of the other guys would tape him, and I always admired him because he was always so prepared. His locker room looked like his life, it was structured and organized, and he came to work every day prepared, and he came early. I don’t remember Art rushing to get in or whatever.

And he stayed on the field. You think of the hundreds of thousands of pass patterns he ran and how many balls he caught, and a big wide receiver and a big target, and he stayed healthy.

They’re both outstanding guys.

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7 Responses

  1. Great interview. Best one yet. I am heading to Canton tomorrow and this has gotten me even more excited to go. Thanks!

  2. Awesome. I’ve always wanted to read an extended interview with Bubba Tyler, and this was the perfect topic to get into this week.

    Nice work.

  3. That was a great interview….nice job!

  4. Good interview! but why did you stop with the videos?

  5. 37 years with the team –wow — he must have been around for some ole witchcraft injury treatments back in the day !! Just rub some dirt on it–it’ll be ok….

  6. In day when NFL rosters and police blotters have too many names in common, I am proud to see these two “squeaky clean” guys enter the Hall of Fame. Excellent football football players…. even better men!

  7. […] all about the anatomy of the calf again, which satisfied no one (but was entertaining), and then Bubba Tyer was asked to come out and speak to the media for the first time in ages to explain exactly what had […]

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