5 Minutes with John Randle
September 4, 2013 – Last September, I spent a day at the world-famous Bethpage State Park golf course in Long Island with Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive tackle John Randle.
My wife, Tiana, and a group of our friends teamed up with Randle in the Joe Namath – March of Dimes Celebrity Golf Classic. After a most enjoyable round of golf, I conducted a candid interview with the Minnesota Vikings legend. That “5 Minutes with” Q&A, along with my interview with Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end Chris Doleman, who also played for the Vikings, are in the September Issue of Yankees Magazine.
As great as Randle’s career was, I was even more impressed by his path to Minnesota and ultimately to Canton.
Randle joined the Vikings as an undrafted free agent out of tiny Texas A&I University, and only through a rare blend of un-noticed talent and unbridled work ethic did he make the team and then become one of the NFL’s most dominating players.
“Not getting drafted was a big motivation,” Randle said. “I always believed that I could play in the National Football League. I was undersized, and I didn’t come from a big school. As a result, nobody gave me much of a chance to make it in the NFL. Every time I stepped on the field for practice or for a game, I wanted to let everyone know what they missed by not drafting me.”
The most interesting part of our conversation was about Randle’s pre-game rituals.
“I would put my shoulder pads on, and then I would get into the shower with them so that they would get tight and form fitting. On Sunday mornings, no one could talk to me or shake my hand. Also, I would take the game programs that were sitting at our lockers and switch them all up. I was transitioning from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde.”
While the interview was fascinating, my favorite experience from the day took place when I got to line up against the Hall of Famer — even if it was just for a photo op. After our golf team sunk the final putt of the day, Randle posed for photos with each of golfers and I in football’s three-point stance. Among the reasons I was smiling in the photo below is because I knew that Randle wasn’t going to barrel over me.
–Alfred Santasiere III