Let’s talk about Dogs in the pros.
A lot of UGA fans follow Bulldog players’ NFL careers closely and no doubt will be tuning in to the Pro Bowl this weekend, where Champ Bailey of the Broncos will be representing UGA. (Jon Stinchcomb of the Saints also would be in the game but he’s on a Super Bowl team.)
The list of other Bulldogs who’ve been selected for the Pro Bowl in the past includes, among others, such names as Broncos Super Bowl MVP and noted Chunky soup fan Terrell Davis, Rodney Hampton, Garrison Hearst, Len Hauss, Jimmy Orr, Mo Lewis, Guy McIntyre, Richard Seymour, Charley Trippi and Bobby Walston. And I’d long forgotten this, but in his very brief pro career with the Falcons, kicker Bobby Etter actually made the 1970 Pro Bowl.
(That also brings to mind probably the most unlikely Bulldog to grace an NFL roster: Ray Jeffords, who was a basketball player for the Dogs that the Falcons decided to draft as a tight end in 1968 for unfathomable reasons. Ah, Falcons draft history!)
Anyway, while on the subject of Bulldogs in the NFL, I thought I’d offer my highly subjective list of all-time pro Dogs. I don’t know if I’d classify them as the “best” so much as my “favorite” Bulldogs to play pro ball.
1. Fran Tarkenton, a fellow Athenian and one of only two Dogs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame (the other being Charley Trippi, whose playing days I’m too young to remember).
2. Jake Scott of the great undefeated Dolphins team. Another product of the Athens YMCA, too.
3. Bill Stanfill, also on that Dolphins team.
4. Hines Ward, Steelers Super Bowl MVP.
5. Herschel Walker, whose combined rushing numbers for the USFL and the NFL (13,787 yards) would place him fifth on the NFL’s career rushing list if the USFL yards were counted (which they aren’t).
There’ve been a lot of other great Dogs in the pros. Who are your favorites?
Following up on Friday’s discussion about how UGA fans feel about Derek Dooley coaching Tennessee and his father’s mixed emotions about seeing his son go up against the Dogs, Vince Dooley was in Albany for the Quail Unlimited Celebrity Quail Hunt and told the Albany Herald that he doesn’t think he’ll attend the Oct. 9 home game between Georgia and his son’s Vols. “I’ve really decided now that I will sit home and watch the game,” he said. “I think that I’ll be a little bit of a distraction going to the game, so I’ll watch it at home on TV.” … UGA football historian Patrick Garbin notes that 118 years ago on this date UGA played its very first football game, a 50-0 victory over Mercer, attended by a crowd of 1,500 at what eventually became known as Herty Field in Athens. We’ve come a long way since then.