Chapter 2: Pre-Game
Introducing Your Kardiac Kids
Then and Now
The 1980 Kardiac Kids — Our Untold Stories profiles each player and coach, telling you the story of how he became a Cleveland Brown, reviewing his special contributions to the team's success, recapping his football achievements and bringing you up to date on his life today.
More than a hundred hours of personal interviews were conducted to compile the stories, accounts and narrative for this book. In Introducing Your Kardiac Kids, you will find a wide variety of human-interest stories that are both fascinating and compelling.
You will read how players defied the odds to make the team and then played vital roles in the Kardiac Kids’ electrifying drive to a division championship.
You will understand, more clearly, how injuries so often cut short or end a player's career while, at the same time, provide an opportunity for another player. The book will examine how some players accept their fate and make a successful transition to their post-football life, while others struggle-even to this day.
Players and coaches share with you their memories of being a part of the Kardiac Kids. You will read about the camaraderie, the chemistry and the special bond they had with each other. They will also express their heartfelt gratitude to you, the fan, for your loyal support throughout the 1980 season.
Stories of where life, today, finds your beloved Kardiac Kids will create within you a whole-new appreciation for the players and coaches. You will read about their careers, their families, the blessings they’ve received and the tragedies they’ve faced since leaving professional football.
"It was an amazing experience. That probably is the number one memory I’ve had from pro football-just being able to step on that field and perform, feel that you can perform and know that you can. There’s nothing more exciting than that."
"To be honest with you, those children took the bitterness away from me. They showed me how to love all over again. And, because of that, they have taken my heart and I have been with them from that day up until the present moment."
"He was my mentor. He was kind of a big brother to me and he never treated my like a rookie. Instead, he treated me like a human being, another football player. I had a tremendous amount of respect for Charlie. It hurt me and it hurt the Cleveland Browns when Charlie was released after the 1980 season."
"Fellow rookie and friend Bill Cowher and I were getting taped prior to a practice at training camp. It was just another day at the office except one of our closest friends had just been released. I asked Bill if it bothered him that our close friend had just been let go. ‘Just remember this, brother,’ Cowher replied, ‘better he than thee.’"
"You are a man playing a kids game and you’re getting paid for it. You are popular with the people. It’s a great place to be."
"The Kardiac Kids had an unselfish behavior, not only on the field on game day, but they also had it in preparation for the game during the week, which I think set this team apart."
"You just take for granted that your kids will bury you-you don’t bury your kids. That’s the way it’s supposed to happen, but it doesn’t always happen and that woke me up. I probably didn’t tell my son I love him enough, but I got a second chance to do that and I make sure that he knows that."
"There is a little something nagging inside reminding me that I was never an everyday player. However, I left the NFL table a little hungry. I do believe that it worked in my favor."