Since we are in training camp, one of the questions most frequently asked of me has to do with the most unusual thing I have had happen.
We have all had those questions — What’s the craziest thing you have been asked to do?
In my case, what a surprise, it involves John Elway, during his first Bronco camp.
John had taken his physical in Denver, and upon gtetting set to drive north, he casually told some press members he had to get a haircut first.
”Great,” they said, “we’ll follow you and tape it for TV.”
Naturally, John wanted no part of that and simply passed on the haircut, driving straight to Greeley.
The first several days of camp passed, John still wanting that haircut, but the stars were against him. His football days were packed with meetings, practice, getting ready for practice, postpractice, and of course the media followed his every move.
There were limits on where they could go, of course, but anytime John was out of a dorm, there was never a camera very far away.
He and I were developing the natural bond that happens when one is running interference around-the-clock, setting some things up and shooing others away (lots and lots of shooing), and one time he casually mentioned, “Boy, I really need a haircut.” Sometimes the basics annoy us the most, when we can’t find time for them.
I said, “You need a haircut, I’ll set it up.”
I checked with John as to his various (and very limited) free periods, and was acutely aware the media would follow him if he went somewhere after lunch.
Ultimately, I located a Greeley barber who was willing to have John Elway come to his home, where he would cut John’s hair in privacy, but of course everyone knew what kind of car John had.
So I got a Greeley police officer who was willing to take John to his appointment.
We set it up for after the evening meetings, after 9:00 p.m., had John get in the police car outside his dorm, go to the barber’s home, and get a nice, crisp “camp cut,” short all over.
The next day when John came onto the practice field, carrying his helmet and with his head thus exposed, virtually every media member exclaimed, “Hey, you got a haircut! When did that happen? Where? How? Who?” Etcetera.
As a footnote to the story, a couple of weeks I was sitting around with our coaches when our offensive coordinator, John Hadl, said, “Boy, I really need a haircut.”
I suggested I knew a barber who could take him anytime, and John said, “Jim, I need a haircut, but I don’t need no damn posses to take me to a barber.” John Hadl went on to make his own arrangements.
And that’s how John Elway got his first Bronco haircut.
Thanks again for reading.