Thursday • October 21
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Jack, Jim and Mel
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With so much parity in the NFL, will there ever be another dynasty in the league? Well ask that question to two Hall of Famers who were part of legendary dynasties: Former Steelers Linebacker Jack Ham, and Cowboys DB Mel Renfro. Plus, Hall of Fame Center Jim Otto!
Episode Segments:
Bearly Legal: Jack Ham
Hall of Fame Linebacker Jack Ham talks about what made the Steelers so successful in his era, and why LC Greenwood needs to be in the Hall of Fame. Also, why Chuck Noll needs more credit, and if he thinks there will be another dynasty like the Steelers.
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Bearly Legal: Jim Otto
Hall of Fame Center Jim Otto gave up a lot because of his time in the NFL, including one of his legs. But given the chance, hed do it all again. He talks about his career, and what the league could and should be doing for former players of his era.
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Bearly Legal: Mel Renfro
Hall of Fame DB Mel Renfro gives his take on whats happening with the Cowboys, and why fans should be questioning what Jerry Jones is doing with the franchise. We then talk about his career, what made Tom Landry such a great coach, and why he thinks Jim Brown was the best of all time.
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Bearly Legal: Happy Anniversary
Its been two years since Bearly Legal launched. David & Robin commemorate the even by remembering some program highlights, and an impressive guest list.
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Guest(s) Appearing on this Episode
Mel Renfro
Renfro was drafted by the Cowboys in the second round of the 1964 NFL Draft. He was initially placed as a safety, but was switched to cornerback in his fifth season. The speedy Renfro (4.65 40-yd dash) became an exceptional threat to wide receivers. Mel led the NFL with 10 interceptions in 1969. Renfro was selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his first ten seasons in the League, including five All-Pro selections in 1964, 1965, 1969, 1971, and 1973.[1] Mel also was a significant threat on special teams, performing punt and kickoff return duties in addition to playing on defense, leading the league in punt and kickoff return yardage in 1964. In his fourteen seasons, Renfro intercepted 52 passes, returning them for 626 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also returned 109 punts for 842 yards and 1 touchdown, 85 kickoffs for 2,246 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with recording 13 fumble recoveries, which he returned for 44 yards. In the 1970 NFC title game, Renfro had a key interception that led to the Cowboys' game-winning touchdown over the San Francisco 49ers that helped them get to Super Bowl V, where they lost to the Baltimore Colts. He would later play in Super Bowls VI, X and XII, retiring after the final one, a Cowboys victory over the Denver Broncos. Renfro was added to the Texas Stadium Ring of Honor in 1981, and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996.

Mel's Career Stats

Jim Otto
After no National Football League team showed interest in the undersized center, Otto signed with the Oakland Raiders of the new American Football League. He was issued jersey number 50 for the AFL's inaugural season, 1960, but switched to his familiar 00 the next season. The AFL permitted the unusual number because it was a pun on Otto's name (aught-oh). Otto worked diligently to build his body up to his playing weight of 250 pounds. For the next fifteen years, Otto became a fixture at center for the Raiders, never missing a single game due to injury. Including pre-season, regular season and post-season games, Otto competed in 308 consecutive games. During the game of the Immaculate Reception Ken Stabler threw a pass that was tipped by a Steelers player. Otto picked the ball out of the air and ran about 20 yards. He remembers his wife telling him he should have scored and there wouldn't have been any Immaculate Reception. To this day, Otto embodies the toughness and determination the Raiders began to ferment in the mid-1960s, after Al Davis took control of the team and later hired John Madden as head coach. Otto was one of only 20 players to play for the entire ten-year existence of the American Football League, and was selected as the Sporting News All-League center from 1960 through 1969. He was an All-Star in the first 13 of his 15 seasons (every year in the AFL from 1960 through 1969) and three of his five seasons in the NFL. He was also named the starting center on the AFL All-Time Team. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980, the first year he was eligible. In 1999, he was ranked number 78 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players. Since 1995, Otto has worked for the Raiders in the department of special projects and is active in the business world. As a show of respect, he always calls Raiders' owner Al Davis "Mr. Davis." Otto punished his body greatly during his NFL career, resulting in nearly 40 surgeries, including 28 knee operations (nine of them during his playing career alone) and multiple joint replacements. His joints are riddled with arthritis, and he has debilitating back and neck problems. One time, Otto nearly died on the operating table. He also fought off three life-threatening bouts of infections due to his artificial joints, and during one six-month stretch, was without a proper right knee joint because he had to wait for the infection to clear up before another artificial one could be implanted. Today, Otto is handicapped, but he says he wouldn't change a thing if given the opportunity to do it over again. It's detailed, proudly, in his book, "The Pain of Glory"

Jim Otto NFL Hall of Fame Page

Jack Ham
Jack Ham, one of the greatest outside linebackers in pro football history, retired after 12 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. In his prime, Ham earned the reputation of being almost a perfect player who defended the run and pass equally well and rarely made a mistake. He was not as colorful as some of his teammates, but was always one of the most popular players among the fans. Steeler fans appreciated Jack Ham's accomplishments on the field and his quiet class off it. His ability was recognized by his peers and the media, who made him an All-Pro selection for nine straight seasons. He was the only unanimous defensive choice on the NFL 1970's Team of the Decade. He was elected to the Pro Bowl eight years in a row (1974-81), establishing a record for linebackers. This record was tied in 1982 by teammate Jack Lambert. In 1975, Ham was named the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year by Pro Football Weekly and the Football News. Ham's most impressive statistic is his 32 regular season interceptions, which ranks him third among all NFL linebackers. Twice he led all NFL linebackers in interceptions, and his career total is fourth best in Steeler history. Ham also added five postseason INTs, which is a team record. Two of those interceptions came in the 1974 AFC Championship against Oakland - one of the biggest (if not the biggest) victories in Steeler history. His first of that game stopped an apparent Raiders' scoring drive, and he returned his second to the Oakland 9-yard line. This set up the Steelers' winning TD. Two weeks later, the Steelers claimed their first Super Bowl victory. Jack joined the Steelers as a number two choice in the 1971 draft. This was the most productive draft in Steeler history, and perhaps the best in the history of the league. Thirteen of the Steelers' 22 selections that year made the team. Nine players were regulars at one time. Six of the original 13, including Ham, were starters on all four Super Bowl teams. The Johnstown, PA native became a starter at the beginning of his rookie season. He clinched a regular position with a three-interception performance against the New York Giants in the Steelers' final preseason game at Yankee Stadium. In 1972, Ham made the All Pro team for the first time with a career-high seven interceptions. He began his string of Pro Bowl appearances the following year. He was the only NFL linebacker to play in all Pro Bowls from 1973-81. At the peak of the Steelers' defensive success in the mid-seventies, Ham combined with L.C. Greenwood (defensive end) and Joe Greene (defensive tackle) to form an alomst impregnable wall on the left side of the Pittsburgh defense. Six times this trio played in the Pro Bowl together, including four straight campaigns (1974 - 1977). In eight of Ham's 12 seasons, he played every game on the schedule. He participated in 178 out of a possible 190 games. In the 15th game of the 1979 season, he dislocated a bone in his left foot and missed the playoffs, including Super Bowl XIV. The injury was more serious than first believed and required surgery. A long rehabilitation followed and continued into the 1980 season. Ham played that season at much less than 100 percent, but came back strong in 1981. His training camp performance seemed to indicate that he was fully recovered. However, the injury jinx Ham had avoided early in his career struck again. Ham broke his arm in the first preseason game against Cleveland, and was sidelined for eight weeks. After missing the first four regular season games, he returned only to tear a small muscle above his left knee. Jack would play with pain until his retirement in 1983. On July 30, 1988 Jack Ham was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was a first ballot inductee. Ham's many other honors include the College Football Hall of Fame (1990), the Silver Anniversary All-Time Super Bowl Team, the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team (1994), Sports Illustrated's All Century Team (1999) and the Pro Football Hall of Fame All-Time Team (2000). Jack has been a color analyst for the Penn State Radio Network. He has also served in that role for KDKA-TV, covering the preseason games for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Westwood One Radio Network for their NFL broadcasts. Jack is currently President of Nationwide Drug Testing Services, Inc. of Pittsburgh, PA, which implements a drug-free program for many small and large businesses. He is also General Manager of Coal Sales for Cooney Bros. Coal Company of Cresson

Jack's Career Stats