Sonny Jurgensen on Rookies and the Hall

I had to leave the group of rookies and legends touring the Hall of Fame on Saturday to get into my seat for the enshrinement ceremony, which meant that I didn’t have a chance to follow up with anyone involved. Luckily, I was able to catch up with Hall of Fame QB Sonny Jurgensen today while he was waiting to do some work for Redskins Radio and ask him what he had thought.

Sonny Jurgensen looks at an exhibit honoring him in the Hall of Fame.

Sonny Jurgensen looks at an exhibit honoring him in the Hall of Fame.

What did you think about it, watching the rookies as they went through the Hall?

I thought it was a good experience for them, and I think the entire team should do it. I think it would benefit everyone, especially from what the commissioner said about Michael Irvin’s comments, that if he had done that earlier, he would’ve been a different person and a different player. I think to bring them back, to have an appreciation for the history of the game, is important.

And the fact that the rookies did go through there, and that they saw that you don’t have to be a high draft choice with all the money to be there, that was good. It’s about how badly do you want to be the best you can be.

It was evident on the weekend, because, you know, a free agent was inducted into the hall of fame, and I think it meant something to them.

I think they enjoyed it, and I think it was helpful to them.

Did you get any specific feedback from any of them?

Yeah, they enjoyed it. All of them came and said, “Now that was really interesting, I wish we had more time,” because we really had to rush through there.

It was a bit rushed, yeah. I think the Colts rookies were coming in after we finished up.

I think we passed their bus on the way out, actually.

The thing that was interesting was that, you know, all of the guys that went through it, when you talked to them afterwards, it put us … they see us sitting around out here, and they think, oh, he broadcasts the games and I think he used to play.

Now all of a sudden, it’s a different understanding of – hey, they DID play.

I saw Derek Devine and Colt Brennan watching your video footage on the touchscreens. They seemed really impressed with your behind the back pass.

I know! (laughs) I was telling them how I actually did that in a game [with the Eagles] against college all-stars, and we were talking about it. They said, “You really did that?” and I told them why, so that was interesting.

Wait, why was that?

I was getting rushed from the right defensive end, who came in while the tackle was backing up, and he jumped up. I wanted to throw the ball to the outside left, and when the guy jumped up, I couldn’t get the ball through him, so my reaction was to go behind my back and I hit the receiver, Pete Retzlaff, in stride for 33 yards.

So it was just a reaction to something that came up. I guess the reaction came from having done it a lot in warm-ups, which is what the video in the Hall showed.

I did it in college one time and completed it, and the coach took me aside and said, “If you ever do that again, I’m taking your uniform,” and I looked him and said, “But it was complete! We got 40 yards on the play.” He said, “Don’t do it.”

And did you?

No. It was one time when I had to do it. You don’t just do it to be … flashy or something. It was something I could throw accurately, so I used it when I needed it.

Okay. Back to the Hall of Fame … do you think it helped the rookies to have you, Sam Huff, and Joe Theismann there?

Oh, I think it added something to it. That’s why Jim Zorn asked us to do it. He asked me to do it, and I said I’d get Sam to go, and we were very happy to do it for him. I think his reason behind it was that he thought it would mean more to them because we were there in the Hall. [Hall of Famer] Steve Largent had done it in Seattle, had taken a group through, and Coach Zorn’s very close with Steve.

Do you think it’s worth continuing?

Oh yes, I do, and I think they’ll do it from now on.

And would you participate again?

Yes. Oh, yes, definitely I would. I thought it meant something to them. You hope that the Hall is going to inspire these young guys to go on and make a different commitment. You would hope that that would happen.

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10 Responses

  1. Thank you, Mr. Jurgensen, for taking the time to provide the rookies with the chance to meet you in person. Nothing takes the place of meeting “the man” who made the plays in the films.

    In Hawaii, we value our kupuna – our elders. They have seen it and done it and we can learn from their experience and wisdom. Making yourself available to the rookies is a priceless “tangible” for the ones who have their eyes, ears and hearts open.

    Aloha!

  2. Pat… wow, way to be. Taking a legitimate comment and just trashing it because you have nothing better to do. Ever think that because of Colt, some Hawaiians might be interested in our team now?

    Learning from the past is something that can be applied to practically anything, so its good to see that the ‘Skins rookies had a chance to get a guided tour and learn about the greatness that is possible wherever you are from.

    GJ on getting the interview Matt, keep it up.

  3. Hey Matt.
    How did it feel interviewing the Lord G-d High Almighty?

  4. Matt, nice interview, some good follow up questions. I liked the way you got him to commit to participating again in the future – it would have been tough for him to say no in an interview like that, let’s see if he follows through when push comes to shove next year.

  5. An offensive comment in this thread has been deleted for violating the comment policy. Please email me if you have any questions. Thanks. redskinsblog@redskins.com

  6. Right on, this definitely doesn’t need to be a place for negative comments or else we are all doomed.

    It doesn’t surprise me that Sonny is so willing to get back involved since him and Huff spend so much time with the team on the road, and it only makes sense for them to help educate younger players about more than just the game itself, but also the pressures that their situation will bring. I’d put $100 down right now that he’s there next year as well, even if we don’t play the HoF game.

    Now about getting Darrell Green to coach corners….

  7. […] great Sonny Jurgensen is glad the rookies got to visit the Hall of […]

  8. Any thing sunny J.does is great.

  9. Any thing Sonny J. does is great

  10. I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF SONNY JURGENSEN WIL BE DOING ANY TV SHOWS THIS 2009 SEASON

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