Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Once the Dirtiest Player in the NFL, Conrad Dobler is Now Fighting for the Guys He Tried to Dismember

from Michael Weinreb of espn.com

"I always tried to play it fair," he says

He knows perfectly well how any mention of fairness or honor might sound, coming from someone who made his reputation as the maestro of a nasty little karate kick technique called the leg whip, coming from a man best known for using his helmet, his feet, his knees, his fingers, a plaster cast, and — perhaps most famously — his teeth as lethal weapons. This is, after all, the same Conrad Dobler whom Sports Illustrated anointed on its cover in 1977 as "Pro Football's Dirtiest Player," the same Conrad Dobler who titled his own autobiography "They Call Me Dirty." This is the Conrad Dobler who gouged eyes and twisted facemasks and worked hard to irritate everyone from Pete Rozelle to John Madden to a mild-mannered Mormon defensive lineman named Merlin Olsen


Last week I commented on a story that told of retired NFL players seeking Congress' help in repairing their pension and disability system. Officials claim that only 317 of more than 10,000 eligible players are getting payments out of the NFLPA disability fund. Today, this story was plastered on the front page of ESPN.com. Conrad Dobler, who once actually made an opponent cry on the football field, is part of a class-action suit filed to help retired players to get their fair share of the profits from the league they helped build.