Posts Tagged ‘interview’

Catching Up With Clarence Vaughn

Clarence Vaughn played 5 seasons with the Washington Redskins appearing in 48 games from 1987-1991. He is a 2-time Super Bowl Champion. Clarence played strong safety and was a “core player” as Joe Gibbs likes to say. During his rookie season of 87′ he came up with a couple of HUGE plays in the playoffs and Super Bowl. Clarence is currently working towards his goal of becoming a NFL or college head coach by participating in the 2009NFLPA/NCAA coaching internship program at Bluffton University. Clarence also started the Redskins Alumni website, a site where fans and players can connect…a must visit for any Redskin’s fan. Clarence took some time out from his coaching internship to discuss his playing career with the Redskins…I thank him for his time and hope to see him on a NFL sideline soon.

FP: Your rookie season in 87’ was quite eventful. You endured a player’s strike, and then won a Super Bowl championship. What were those experiences like for you as a rookie?

CV: They were confusing. But the Redskins unity and them looking out for me, helped me make it through and stand strong…no one crossed the picket line.

FP: You were one of the “core Redskins” that Gibbs liked to have on his team. How would you describe the way you played and what you brought to the table?

CV: Great athletic ability, belief and faith in the coaches, and in the players, my teammates, and the desire to be the best that I can be.

FP: What are your fondest memories of your playing time with the Skins?

CV: Pulling up to the stadium in San Diego for the Super Bowl, being a rookie that year and picking off Elway in that game was an ultimate high for me that I still cherish today.

FP: Which coach, player, or person had the biggest impact on your NFL career?

CV: There were a lot of players, like Vernon Dean showing me how to back pedal and learn DB techniques from the transition from linebacker. Darrell Green, Art Monk and Monte Coleman were all good examples of establishing work ethics. Todd Bowles and Alvin Walton…my whole secondary group…this is hard to narrow down, as together they made the biggest impact. Coaching wise, Richie Pettibone and Emmitt Thomas because they challenged me to meet my full potential and push me to the max.

FP: What was your favorite moment on a football field?

CV: Sacking Wade Wilson as a rookie in the NFC Championship game (video above at approx. 1:30.)

FP: Do you follow/root for the Skins today, if so who are your favorite players currently playing for the Skins?

CV: Yes. Chris Cooley, Clinton Portis, and Jason Campbell.

FP: What is your relationship like with the Redskin’s organization today?

CV: Good as can be, I have created a Redskins Alumni site called which allows me to work closely with the organization.

FP: Tell my readers about the Redskins Alumni site you started (I’ve checked it out, it’s awesome!) What kind of future events can Redskins fans look forward to?

CV: Thank you. It’s called…not only does it connect the former players and teammates with each other, as we have lost touch with each other over the years but still share a bond, it also connects the fans, and even offers business opportunities for the players. Events such as autograph signings, parties like the Welcome Home Luncheon and Player of the Year award dinner. Also, cruises and golf tournaments are all posted to invite fans and also inform players who may have lost touch.

Rick Walker and Clarence reconnect the BLING!

FP: You’ve done some coaching at the high school level. Is coaching something you knew you wanted to do after the NFL and is it something you’d like to continue? Which former Skins coach do you think your coaching style is most like?

CV: I am currently pursuing a career in coaching at the NCAA level; while it is not what I desired immediately once I retired, it is something I am truly passionate about and hope to make another career in football, maybe even coach at the NFL level and win one more Super Bowl (as a head coach of course!)
I would say that I would like to model and coach like a combination of all coaches that I have played under. I embraced their different styles, from college to pro. Each coach has had a unique and certainly positive influence. I would definitely say that Gibbs, and Bill Mallory are two that I admire along with Richie Pettibone as well. Also, Emmitt Thomas…he helped and inspired me a lot. This is another hard question to narrow down. However, all these particular coaches have either won championships and/or are in the hall of fame…which I too hope to achieve at the coaching level. (Super Bowl or NCAA championships.)

FP: On your blog found at your website, you have a list of you and your buddies all time greatest QB’s and RB’s. Do you get together with them and play fantasy football? When can we expect your list of WR’s?

CV: I do not play Fantasy Football. I’m working on the WR’s, since you’ve mentioned it and hopefully you’ll see the list soon!

FP: You played at a time when the money was certainly good, but by no means near today’s standards. There are many players from your era that suffer from permanent injuries suffered on the field, and I feel the NFL has not done enough to give back to the players who got the League to where it is today. Organizations like Gridiron Greats have had to step up to help. What’s your take on this issue?

CV: I feel the same way…something needs to done. There are a lot of athletes out there that need medical attention, and there are also athletes out there that team owners won’t even let go to a game without purchasing a ticket. A lot of teams are forgetting their tradition, like what got the team’s image that they have now, is from the older players.

Cheers and Hail

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Posted by fatpickle    Date: Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Categories: Fatpickled, Interviews, Redskins

Tags: , ,

Kickin It With Nick Novak

Nick Novak has kicked for 2 of my favorite teams of all-time, the Terps and Skins. While at Maryland he won many games with his trusty right toe and graduated as the all-time leading scorer in ACC history. He also won the Jim Tatum award, given annually to the ACC’s top student athlete. While he only played 13 games over 2 seasons in DC, he kicked 3 game winning field goals. His game winner against Dallas is one of the most memorable moments I have witnessed in my 30 years of rooting for the Skins. Nick was nice enough to grant me this interview in between tryouts for the Bengals and Lions. He has an awesome website you can visit here. Thanks again for the interview Nick.

FP: You were an All-State soccer player at Albemarle High School in Charlottesville, VA. What made you want to try out for the football team as a kicker?

NN: My earth science teacher Rick Vrhovac, he must of spent a semester convincing me that I could kick for the team. Coach V is now the assistant principle at Albemarle High School. Their starting kicker I believe was moving somewhere, so they needed a replacement for the next season. I promised Coach V that I would come out my sophomore year and give it a try. The rest is history. The summer before my first season, my family took a three week vacation to San Diego. During that time I spent the entire time learning my first kicking technique, which has since evolved into a much more efficient swing. Coach V and I have stayed in touch and I have always reminded him of how thankful I am for having his influence in my life. He is a great teacher and leader for young men.

FP: You graduated from Maryland as the all time leading scorer in ACC history, quite an accomplishment. What are your fondest memories of your time at College Park?

NN: Besides all the great riots we had after beating and sometimes losing to Duke…Thursday night on prime time, down in Georgia, I was faced with my first game tying and game winning field goal opportunity and was successful on both. That entire season was a great memory and having the chance to play in the orange bowl my first year playing college football was the ultimate reward for an almost perfect season. Ill never forget the fans after that 2001 season. Before we headed down to Florida for the bowl game the University held a pep-rally to send us off. Cole Field house was packed and the team was gathered on the basketball court getting acknowledged for our bowl bid. As they were chanting and screaming they started saying “We Want Novak.” I was pretty shy back then so I was trying to hide in the middle of the pack, that didn’t work for long…before I knew it my teammates pushed me out on center court. I was out there listening to this chant and taking it all in, I was overwhelmed the fans were amazing. I’ll never forget that moment and all the support they gave me during my time at Maryland. Other memories the NC State kick down at their place and the NC State kick at our place…preventing Phillip Rivers from ever winning a game against Maryland during his 4 years! I was blessed to have a great snapper John Condo and holders Brooks Branard and Adam Podlesh . The teams we had were tough blue collar guys, many of which are still playing in the league.

FP: You had 2 memorable game winning kicks during your tenure with the Skins. The first came against the Seahawks and was dedicated to your friend Annie. Tell us about the kick and your friend.

NN: My first NFL game and I get to kick a game winner in overtime and at the same time my neighbor Annie was fighting to defeat an entirely different opponent…breast and ovarian cancer. She was fighting for her life and I knew she was listening to the game at the hospital. I felt her all around me and wanted to make that kick for her and my teammates at the time. I was very emotional when I spoke of her after the game cause I wanted to tell the world what a strong, courageous woman she was and what she was forced to fight her entire adult life. It was very important for me to use the platform that was given to me that day. To bring more attention to a terrible disease and to dedicate the kick to Annie after the game on the middle of the field and in the press conference in the locker room. I was thinking about all this before the kick. I knew I was going to make it…I didn’t have a doubt in my mind. However I didn’t think I was going to have to make it twice!

FP: Your 2nd game winner came against the rival Cowboys in one of the craziest finishes in the history of football. In the span of 35 seconds you missed a 49 yarder that would have won it, and then hit the game winner from 47 yards away with no time left on the clock. Sandwiched in between was a blocked Cowboy field goal and an amazing return by the late Sean Taylor. Tell us about those last 35 seconds from your perspective.

NN: That was a crazy game! Cooley’s great catch in the endzone to tie the game and Troy Vincent blocking Mike’s kick. Sean was amazing, he picked that ball up ran it back and thank the Lord for that guy who committed the face mask penalty on Sean preventing the game from ending at regulation and getting us into field goal range as a result. There wasn’t anyone in the world that day that wanted to make that kick more then me…I remember praying for a second chance. I was praying while Mike was getting ready to line up for his kick. I couldn’t watch, I heard the second thump and and the fans going crazy, I looked up and ran to the kicking net. I remember the fans near my net, talking to me giving their support. I didn’t have time to think just react, so I ran out there and kicked it. One of the greatest wins I have ever been apart of especially doing it against the cowboys as a Redskin.

FP: A kickers next gig is always a phone call away, are you prepared to return to the NFL if that call comes?

NN: I had a workout in Cincy last Thursday and one today in Detroit. I went 22 for 22in Field Goals. I’m ready to play. I’ve made many changes to my swing and feel like an entirely new kicker. This entire offseason I dedicated to kicking like a pro, which means having a smooth consistent technique, it has to look effortless. I have always been optimistic no matter what happens, attitude is everything in the game of football and in the game of life. I stick to a schedule even when I’m not on a team. Usually what happens during the season is teams will call on Monday and fly you in for a Tuesday workout. I have to make sure I’m ready to compete every Tuesday. I workout, kick and do all the physical prep from Wednesday to Saturday. I have always been intrinsically motivated, I love the grind of it all. In my spare time I work part time at Athletic Republic in Annapolis as an athletic performance and kicking coach. I believe God has a plan for me, as long as I keep fulfilling my end of the deal, I think great things are yet to come. I have been tremendously blessed thus far on and off the field.

Cheers and Hail

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Posted by fatpickle    Date: Thursday, August 27, 2009

Categories: Fatpickled, Interviews, Redskins

Tags: , ,

Roy Williams Interview

It’s not often we let a Cowboy into Redskins territory, but when said ex-Cowboy is a 5 time Pro Bowler, all around nice guy and a Counting Crows fan…exceptions must be made. Roy Williams is entering his 8th NFL season and his first as a Cincinnati Bengal. Reunited with his former defensive coordinator, Mike Zimmer, expect another Pro Bowl season from Roy. He won a national title with Oklahoma and was the defensive player of the year in 2001. Watch his highlights on YouTube, he is a total bad ass on the football field. You’ll also be able to watch him on this years edition of HBO’s Hard Knocks, where he has promised to lay the wood to Ocho Cinco. Finally, you can follow him on Twitter, @Datboyie.
Thank you Roy for the interview.

FP: After 7 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys you are now a Cincinnati Bengal. How are things going so far in Cincy and what are your expectations for this season?

RW: I enjoyed my years while playing with the Cowboys, now I’m in a new phase in my life that is starting with the Bengals and I’m very excited about the chance to link back up with coach Zimmer. My expectations is to add to this Defense they did an awesome job last year, and I want to add to what they did, get our defense in the top 6 this year.

FP: What’s your favorite moment on a football field?

RW: My favorite football moment, my first pick as a rookie against Peyton.

FP: What player or coach has had the biggest impact on your career?

RW: Coach Zimmer has had the biggest impact on my NFL career, he knows how to use me in this 4-3 defense.

FP: You played some QB in high school. Were you running the option or a drop back passer? How good were you?

RW: LOL yea I played QB in high school, I threw some but ran more LOLOLOL. Naw, I was ok. I took my team to state championship and I also played RB and WR.

FP: Did you play any other sports in High School? If so, were you good?

RW: Yea I played other sports, basketball my first year was to aggressive, didn’t work out. I ran track all my years there, and I played soccer, just for fun but the coach wouldn’t put me in cause they didn’t want me to get hurt. And I couldn’t get in until we were winning by 3 goals. I know it sucks so I road the pine!! LOL

FP: The “horse collar” rule is sometimes called the “Roy Williams” rule. Is that fair? Is it legal in your book…what’s your take?

RW: The horse collar is a rule and I have to play within the rules. Is it fair? I’ll just say this… I’m an old school player when it comes to football. I watch Jack Tatum, Ronnie Lott, Steve Atwater. And you’re always taught to bring him down by any means necessary.

FP: You’ve laid down some serious hits in your career, is there one that stands out the most? Maybe one that hurt you more than the other guy?

RW: Um the hardest hit that I felt…there was a hit in the Philly game some years back when I hit Brian Westbrook. After the hit I thought I was ok, but I started to walk to the sideline and I fell face first… LOL

FP: OK, a couple questions for the Redskin fan in me. What players on the Skins did you enjoy playing against/admire the most? Did you get a chance to befriend Sean Taylor before his death?

RW: Redskins…yes I had a chance to meet and talk with Sean at the Pro Bowl, we’ve seen the bad boy image, on the football field, but he was actually a good guy, family man. I liked Sean a lot, sad to see him go. I actually had a sticker with his number on my shoulder pads…I think it’s still on my shoulder pads.

FP: Week 2 of the 2005 season, the Cowboys are beating the Skins 13-0 with less than 4 minutes to go. Mark Brunell teams up with Santana Moss for 2 long bombs to win the game. What are your thoughts and comments looking back?

RW: As far as the Santana it’s so in the past, and I would say this, it wasn’t my man. I was playing the defense, how it was supposed to be played. And I caught the heat for it cause I was the safety, and people think it was my play to make and it wasn’t. And that’s the play people hold on to still to this day, saying I can’t cover…not cool, but its life.

FP: You are a man of great faith and seem to have an enormous amount of happiness, positive thinking and forgiveness in your heart. How do you strap on those pads and knock the s%*t out of people?

RW: Yes I’m a believer and I play football, God’s blessed me with the skill/talent to play ball. And I’m going to use my skills the best that I can to show out for God.

FP: Tell my readers about your charity.

RW: My foundation caters to help low-income single mothers. You can read up on it at

FP: Your very good friends with Adam Duritz from the Counting Crows, tell me about how that came to be.

RW: Adam and I met through a mutual friend that works at Cal Berkeley, like 6 or 7 years ago and we’ve been cool every since. Adam is a great guy.

FP: We are friends on Twitter, a place where lots of athletes and celebrities are interacting with fans. What attracted you to Twitter, what’s your favorite thing about Twitter?

RW: Yea I’m on Twitter. It’s cool to be able to talk to other people, friends and whatever the case, it’s a fast way to talk rather than pick up the phone, and others can chime in on what’s being said. I like Twitter. Sometimes people say some things that make me want to go off, but people have the right to say what they want even if it’s not something that someone wants to hear.

Cheers and Hail

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Posted by fatpickle    Date: Thursday, July 23, 2009

Categories: Fatpickled, Interviews, NFL

Tags: , , ,

Neal Olkewicz Interview

Neal Olkewicz played 11 seasons with the Washington Redskins and became a fan favorite for his “blue collar” work ethic. Along the way, “Olky” collected over 1,500 tackles and was the anchor of Richie Petibon’s top 10 defenses. He also won 2 Super Bowl rings and a place on the 70 Greatest Redskin’s list. Olkdog was kind enough to grant me this interview in which he discusses a wide range of topics including his beard, the 5 O’clock club, and NFL Union issues.
FP: How does an undrafted, undersized middle linebacker from Maryland go on to play 11 seasons and 150 games in the NFL?
NO: I had a real instinct for finding the football, loved to hit people and didn’t like them hitting me. I worked hard in the weight room to give me strength to offset my size and was smart enough to learn my assignments quickly. Didn’t get hurt much and when I did I usually could play through it and I was fortunate enough to be part of a winning team.
FP: The Redskin’s locker room had quite the group of characters back in the 80’s (Riggins, Theismann, Manley.) Is there a story that sticks out in your mind that you can share?
NO: I always felt what happened in the locker room stayed in the locker room!
FP: You were a fan favorite because of the way you played the game and how you handled yourself on and off the field. What was it like to play in RFK with those old stands rocking?
NO: I loved playing at RFK in that era and wouldn’t trade it for all the money in the world. I still get chills when I watch the highlight film when the stands were rocking and the fans were chanting “WE WANT DALLAS”!
FP: You recorded over 1500 tackles in your career, but scored just 1 TD. What do you remember about that play?
NO: It was a screen pass to Walter Payton, we had audibled to a man coverage right before the snap and I got between him and the quarterback, reached high and pulled it in and ran about 20 yards for a touchdown. It turned out to be Joe Gibbs first win as a Redskin coach since we were 0-5 at the time and the rest is history!
FP: Do you follow/root for the Skins today, and who’s your favorite player currently playing for the Skins?
NO: I still follow the Skins and Chris Cooley and London Fletcher are probably my favorites.
FP: To your Alma mater for a moment. Do you follow the Terps football and basketball teams and what do you currently think about them and where they are headed?
NO: I’m a big fan of the Terps, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the football team hasn’t reached a plateau and that Gary Williams will work his way out of their current situation.
FP: Do you wear your Super Bowl rings?
NO: I only wear my Super Bowl rings occasionally, usually when making a football related appearance.
FP: What is your relationship like with the Redskin’s organization today?
NO: I have no relationship with the Redskin organization other than the NFL Alumni.
FP: What was your favorite moment on the football field, and do you have any regrets about your career?
NO: My favorite moment was the NFC championship game vs Dallas in 1982 and I have absolutely no regrets about my career.


FP: Are you still working the beard?
NO: Gave up the beard a few years ago, too much grey now so I’m going with the clean cut look now. Some people say I look younger now than when I played because of it!
FP: The Redskin’s basically had a dynasty from 82-91 (4 Super Bowls, 3 wins.) Do you feel that you guys should be better represented in the HOF?
NO: I think it’s only a matter of time until a couple of our HOGS are inducted to the Hall of Fame to join Darrell and Art.
FP: You played at a time when the money was certainly good, but by no means near today’s standards. There are many players from your era that suffer from permanent injuries suffered on the field, and I feel the NFL has not done enough to give back to the players who got the League to where it is today. Organizations like Gridiron Greats have had to step up to help. What’s your take on this issue?
NO: As a former player rep who endured two strikes and had the only team that had no one cross the picket line, I am disgusted by our Unions indifference and the owners half hearted attempts only because of Congressional pressure.
FP: My grandmother owned Margaret’s Inn in Herndon, VA back in the late 70’s and worked at The Event as a bartender. Ever drink a beer served by her?
NO: I’m sure I had many beers served by your grandmother!
FP: Were you ever invited into the 5 o’clock club for a beer?
NO: The HOGS finally invited me into the 5 o’clock club the last few years of my career because they felt sorry for me because all my drinking buddies had retired or been cut by then!
FP: Mel Kaufman passed away last week. What would you like to tell Skin’s fans about him?
NO: Mel Kaufman was a class guy and one of my best friends on the team. He was an unsung overachiever much like myself and was a true Redskin. I will miss him.


Neal, you are a true Redskin and a true gentleman. Thanks for the interview.

Cheers and Hail

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Posted by fatpickle    Date: Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Categories: Fatpickled, Interviews, Redskins

Tags: , ,

This Is Kind Of Cooley

The Chris Cooley Interview

During the Redskins bye week I flew up to my old stomping grounds in Northern VA. Over a couple of beers at the Ashburn Pub, I interviewed Chris Cooley. OK… the interview didn’t exactly go down that way, Chris answered my questions thru a series of emails. The beer will come at a later date when I show Chris and Tanner who the real king of bar Olympics is. Here is my exclusive with CC.
FP: They’re filming a major motion picture “The Chris Cooley Story”, which actors play these roles?
CC: Chris- I was Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds for Halloween, so probably that guy.
Tanner- Probably have to say….Omar Epps
Christy- We would make Jessica Alba dye her hair and she could play Christy
Zorn- Steve Largent
Dan Snyder- Tom Cruise

FP: Who would you say that you are more like, Harry or Lloyd? Why?
CC: Obviously I am more like Harry, just look at us.

FP: Have you or a teammate ever been laid on the 50 yd line @ FedEx field?
CC: I can’t speak for anyone else on the team, but I have never done such a thing at FedEx.

FP: Do you have any superstitions that you do on game days?
CC: I don’t really have any superstitions but I still get stupid pre-game jitters. This is like the 15th game this year of being nervous. It’s probably awesome for my health.

FP: Ben Roethlisburger is upset that Redskin’s cheerleaders stretch in front of the visiting teams locker room. What kind of stuff do other teams pull when you are at their stadium?
CC: In Dallas they turn off the AC in our locker room so its always about 90 degrees in there when we’re getting ready.

FP: Are you any good @ bar Olympics? (foosball, darts, pool etc?)
CC: I am amazing at bar Olympics. I have a dart board, pool table, air hockey, and ping pong in my basement. Unstoppable.

FP: I want to wear a cup when I’m playing wiffleball with my 3 year old, why don’t NFL players wear cups? You got helmets, elbows and knees flying around your junk.
CC: Its just not comfortable to run in a cup. I have never taken a big shot down there in all of high school, college, or the NFL. So why start now?

FP: What is your biggest fear?
CC: I’m not really afraid of anything. I don’t like super natural things.

FP: When you and Tanner came up with the idea for the blog, did you imagine that it would be this popular? (1.7 million hits in 8 months).
CC: When we started this we didn’t have any goals or expectations. We just did it to have fun and that’s what we’ve been doing ever since.

FP: My blog is getting 20-30 hits per day, compared to your 20,000 per, would you consider posting a picture of your right nut on my blog for a couple hours?
CC: Take a picture of your own nut and see the boost it gets. If your still at 20-30 after that….

FP: You are in a Fantasy Football League with other Skins players who don’t know a damn thing about Fantasy Football. Are you playing in any other leagues that are more competitive?
CC: I’m too busy to keep up on more than one league right now. I wish I had time cause I love fantasy sports but I just don’t.

FP: This is a long standing debate in our household, Aerosmith or Van Halen?
CC: Both awesome…Van Halen (yeah!)

FP: You’re an avid collector of sports cards, what is the one card in your collection that you could never part with?
CC: I have a John Elway rookie that I’ve had since I was ten. Its still in the screw down case that I got the day I bought the card for 4 dollars. That’s one you won’t see on Ebay.

FP: What does it say on your tombstone?
CC: Nothing special man. What ever my kids want to throw on there will probably be cool.

FP: Describe what the Dallas/Redskins rivalry means to you. Did Gibbs and Buges do a great job of instilling the history of this rivalry into the players?
CC: All of the NFC East opponents are tough. But for some reason I hate Dallas more than any other team in the NFL. Gibbs and Bugle are great coaches but they didn’t have to do any work making this more of a rivalry. It is just one of those natural things.

I want to thank Chris for taking the time to answer a bunch of stupid questions from a random fan who follows his blog (nice way of saying “borderline stalker”). I also want to thank Tanner Cooley, whom I’ve never met, yet always goes above and beyond for me. Thank you both, you guys are “BADASS”.

Cheers and Hail

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Posted by fatpickle    Date: Sunday, November 16, 2008

Categories: Fatpickled, Interviews, Redskins

Tags: , ,