I was at Dick Vermeil’s Golf Tournament last week and Jim Solano, who was my agent during the last five or six years of my NFL career, showed me a picture of Buddy with Seth Joyner and Clyde Simmons. The picture had been taken a couple of weeks ago and I could see that Buddy wasn’t in good health. They had gone to visit him and we all knew he didn’t have much time left.
I loved playing for Buddy. You always knew where you stood with him. He was a great coach to play for especially as a defensive player.
Buddy was a committed friend, who would be forever loyal to you, if you went to battle for him on the football field. Buddy was a fighter, so he liked coaching fighters. I think that’s why the city of Philadelphia still loves him so much is because Buddy was a fighter.
I remember distinctly the Eagles training camp of 1986 at Westchester University. It was by far the hardest training camp I’ve ever been through. We hit for two hours in the morning and then we hit again in the afternoon throughout July and August. It was Buddy Ryan’s first year as head coach of the Eagles and I will never forget it.
There were veteran players, who just couldn’t handle the workload. These were vets with families, who couldn’t handle all the hitting so they packed up in the middle of the night and left camp. These guys had families and bills to pay, but they couldn’t take the intensity of Buddy’s training camp.
There was a method in the madness for Buddy because he wanted to build a hard-hitting close knit team and this was his way of creating it. He loved aggression by his defensive players.
I was sorry to hear about his passing and I’ll always remember his coaching brilliance as a defensive coordinator. He was ahead of the NFL for a number of years and that’s why the 1985 Bears dominated the NFL that year and won the Super Bowl. Their defense seemed to score more points than they gave up. They had the entire NFL intimidated to the point where nobody wanted the ball against them. Buddy had designed a defense that was always on the attack and he will always be remembered for it.
The Eagles defense he put together would grow to be nearly as formidable with the likes of Reggie White, Jerome Brown, Seth Joyner, Clyde Simmons, Eric Allen, Byron Evans and company.