Super agent recalls NFLPA’s first leader; Zach Orr discusses abrupt career end


Ed Garvey was the NFL Players Association’s first executive director and the fiery leader who used two strikes and federal antitrust lawsuits to get NFL players wages and conditions that brought them into the 20th century. He passed away quietly last week, not receiving the kind of notice his life deserved.

So the Talk of Fame Network called upon former NFLPA president and super agent Tom Condon to recall the union’s early days under Garvey and the 57-day strike in 1982 that began its long march toward free agency and rising salaries.

“He was the driving force for the NFLPA,’’ Condon recalls. “Ed was a force who had to be reckoned with.’’

Yet Condon’s first encounter with Garvey led him to become part of a dissident group of offensive linemen trying to get him fired … before Condon ever met him. He tells the Talk of Fame Network why he grew to be glad he lost that vote.

With the annual league scouting combine beginning this week, our hosts Ron Borges, Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge visit with one of the draft’s highest-rated quarterbacks, Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes.  Mahomes once threw over 80 passes in a college game and believes he’s ready for the NFL.

One guy who proved he was as well … and then had the game taken from him at the age of 24 … is former Baltimore Ravens’ linebacker Zach Orr. Orr was not invited to the NFL combine and went undrafted, but after two years on special teams he got his chance last season and finished as the NFL’s ninth-leading tackler and a second-team All-Pro.

After Orr injured his neck in the 15th game this season, an examination revealed a congenital neck defect that forced him to retire. Orr shares his shock and disappointment when he first heard that news and his uplifting decision to press on in a new area of the game – personnel.

“I went into shock,’’ Orr recalled, “but I feel lucky. I’m blessed God allowed me to make it to the highest level. I had a dream a lot of people wish they could. I got a chance to live one of my dreams out.’’

Now he has a new dream, one he hopes will keep him in pro football where his own experiences might give him a special eye for guys like he was — kids who just need a chance to shine.

Rick offers this week’s State Your Case, making a Hall-of-Fame argument for one of only two middle linebackers to produce 50 takeaways. One is Ray Lewis with 51. And the other? Long forgotten Lee Roy Jordan, whose 50 takeaways and 1,200 career tackles make him one of the best middle linebackers to ever play for the Dallas Cowboys.

Our resident Dr. Data also argues that Alabama is now what “The U’’ once was when the University of Miami was consistently producing top-level NFL talent. Alabama had only three first-round selections in the 2000s but since the arrival of Nick Saban all that has changed. The Tide has produced 17 first-round picks this decade, six more than anyone else and 14 more than the U.

There’s all that, as well as the weekly two-minute drill nnd a discussion of the best and worst combine warriors — including a guy named Tom Brady who ran an underwhelming 5.24 40, with a vertical leap of 24 inches 17 years ago.

You can hear it all during the two-hour show, which can be heard Wednesday nights from 8-10 pm on SB Nation radio network and Sirius, as well as on the Talk of Fame’s free iTune podcast or using the TuneIn app. The show can also be heard any time by going to our website, talkoffamenetwork.com, and clicking on the helmet icon.

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