But We’re Still Friends

In the 70s I would sometimes skip going to Mass, but I never missed a Cowboys game.

After every touchdown Pat Summerall would announce, “And here comes Our Friend Herrera to kick the extra point!”  He was one of my favorite players.  How could you not like Our Friend Herrera?

Years later I learned he was actually calling him by his name:  Efren Herrera.

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“Nobody knows what it’s like / to be the bad man…”

Charles Haley is my third-favorite Dallas Cowboy, behind Robert Newhouse and John Dutton and just ahead of Golden Richards.

There are some players in the NFL who, after making a successful play, insist on expressing their joy through interpretive dance.  That always struck me not just as stupid and self-aggrandizing, but as an oddly effeminate way for a big burly athlete to celebrate.

Haley never did that.  He’d leave a quarterback flat on his back, twitching,  then turn slowly around and walk away.  It made him look like Darth Vader; menacing, invincible, unstoppable.

I had no idea how much he was suffering inside.

Click HERE to read how he came to diagnose and deal with his mental illness, paying special attention to what he asked the journalist to emphasize:  “If you want to call me that I have a mental illness, you put at the end, ‘but he’s happy,’ but that’s because I sought help and I get help and I take my medicine.”