Here is a Q&A with College Football Hall of Famer Glenn Ressler, a Mahanoy Joint graduate who had the field at Line Mountain named in his honor on Saturday. Ressler played 10 seasons in the NFL and played in two Super Bowls with the Baltimore Colts.
On the performance of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell:
“'He's pretty strict. Obviously he pushes his authority to the limits because, let's face it, he's working for the owners and that's why the players have representation and negotiations.
“The things he has to deal with, I'm not sure (previous commissioners) had to deal with in the past at least not to this extent.”
He agreed with Goodell's actions in the case of the New Orleans Saints and the so-called “Bounty Gate.”
“You can't have those kinds of things happen; they should never be allowed. Who gets punished and who does not, I don't know how you get to the bottom of it. He did what he thought he had to do, and that was to send a message to the team, and show everyone that there are (lines) you don't cross. Players will do what they can get away with, but for coaches to encourage it is going over the line, it should not be tolerated.
“Overall I think he's done a pretty good job. They got a long-term deal with the players, with a contract that runs for 10 years. Like it or not, for the league and the players, everyone knows what pace you're on, and they are good for the next decade, which is a good thing, there's not going to be any work stoppage.”
On the large difference in player salaries, from his playing days:
“It's good for the sport, and good for all the players,” he said, noting that when he played, the players could not make a living in the NFL and everyone had to have off-season jobs.
“If you factor in the longevity of players in the league – you are going to probably play three or four years – you have to make the best of it when you have a shot at it.”
On the injury issues, particularly concussions and their far-reaching impacts:
“Unfortunately, the head injuries don't go away after you stop playing, you live with it and it's a risk you take,” he said.
Ressler did not hear much about concussions among players in his day, but added, “Then it was different. You didn't want to come out of the game. If you came out of the game, they put someone in to replace you, and you might never get back in. So, unfortunately, a lot of our former players now are beginning to deal with that issue. But that's the way it was handled and the training was so much different. I've talked to several players who played entire games and didn't remember anything about it. That's scary.
“But that's the way it was when I played, it was the nature of the game and the way things were done, you suffered injuries, and they didn't pull you out. Today, it's different, as it should be. It also started in high school that way. Today the teams have to be cognizant of the fact they have to protect these kids.
Head injuries and the concussions can have a cumulative affect and it's a serious problem. They are trying to address it. They can't reverse the damage that's been done, but they can provide some help for long- term care, which would be a real plus.”
Ressler added that he was fortunate in never having any injuries that caused him to miss games. 'I never even had a broken bone,” he said.
On the size difference of NFL players:
“I wouldn't even be on the charts,” said Ressler who played at 6-foot-3, 247 pounds. “I don't think our offensive line averaged 250; I know we didn't on the line and now they're closer to 350 (average). We had some tall players but today all the linemen are 6-5, 6-8, 6-10. They have weight programs, different diets, and they work with them from when they were kids. Even in high school you see it. These kids when they transition into college are almost as big and sometimes bigger than pro teams.
“Our center Bill Curry was about 225 or 228, and Bob Vogel, our all-pro left tackle played at 238; he could never get (bigger than) that.”