|NFL Draft Futures and Redshirting at the U|
|Written by J.D. Simon|
|Friday, 24 April 2009|
Page 4 of 4
The NFL traditionally would not sign a player until four years after graduating from high school or his four-year college eligibility was exhausted out of respect for the college game. College Football was always bigger in America than the NFL until the late 1950’s when television coverage of the pros started to change the equation. On the other hand in Canada, CFL teams occasionally signed players under the age of 21, despite the long-time existence of many colleges playing football in Canada, and some players treated a pro football contract as an alternative to college football in a tradition similar to professional hockey in Canada. The CFL even signed eighteen-year-olds right out of High School like future CFL Hall of Fame Canadian players FB Normie (the China Clipper) Kwong and RB/FB-K Gerry James. The CFL also signed American players with “problems” like AFL star FB Cookie Gilchrist, who was improperly signed to an NFL contract by Paul Brown right out of high school and, being banned from college ball for going pro but unable to fulfill his pro contract, the eighteen-year-old Gilchrist was left to play Rugby in Canada in 1954. He later signed with the CFL Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1956, and helped them win the Grey Cup in 1957.
The following two transfers to Miami sat out (at least a portion of) a their redshirt transfer year, but then left (or was forced to leave) UM and got around the NFL eligibility rule by going to the CFL, although both later signed with NFL teams after their respective classes had graduated.
Larry Lawrence (QB) transferred to the University of Miami after starting for two years at the University of Iowa. He spent the Spring semester of 1970 at Miami, but then left UM to sign with Calgary in the CFL before the 1970 season arrived, rather than sit out the 1970 college season as his redshirt transfer year, and then complete with UM’s returning starting QB Kelly Cochrane in 1971 with his final year of NCAA eligibility. Although Lawrence couldn’t play in the NFL with college eligibility remaining under the NFL rules of the time, he did later play in the NFL after signing a Free Agent contract with the Oakland Raiders for 1974-75. In 1976, Lawrence moved on to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Larry Lawrence also played with three different teams in the CFL, including with the 1978 season with the Montreal Alouettes as a teammate of fellow-Hurricane alum Larry Pfohl.
Larry (“Lex Luger”) Pfohl (G/T) transferred to the University of Miami from Penn State after playing high school football in the Buffalo, N.Y. area. He sat out the 1977 season as a redshirt transfer student in Coral Gables. However, the UM program had financial problems at the time and started the 1978 season (Pfohl’s first and only active year at Miami) with especially long road trips including trips to Colorado and Kansas. Although UM had upset ranked Auburn on the road in ’78 for a surprise early win, the Canes were struggling as their 4th game (of the first 5 games) on the road approached. On the team’s road trip to Atlanta to play Georgia Tech, Larry Pfohl, suffering from cabin-fever and disappointed at not being named a starter by Coach Lou Saban by that 5th game into the season, just snapped and trashed his hotel room. Saban promptly booted him from the team. Pfohl then quit school and became a bouncer at the one of the nearby big Ft. Lauderdale nightclubs.
Shortly thereafter, late in the ‘78 CFL season, Pfohl was offered a deal by the Montreal Alouettes, which he quickly signed. He was then activated and placed on Montreal’s roster for at least one game that CFL season - although he never saw any game action that season - as one of the younger (at age of approximately 20½ years) offensive lineman ever activated in Canadian League history. Larry Pfohl went on to spend the next three years in Montreal playing in the CFL, from 1979 through 1981. He then signed with the NFL Green Bay Packers for the 1982 season - at which time he would have normally been available in the NFL draft for his college class. He spent a year with Green Bay on I.R. with a groin injury, and was then cut by the Packers the following year in 1983. Pfohl proceeded to play the spring schedule used in the USFL for two years in 1984 and 1985, spending time with three different USFL teams – Tampa, Memphis and Jacksonville.
After the 1985 USFL spring season (which was to be the final Spring USFL season before the league moved to a planned Fall Schedule in 1986), Larry Pfohl met Olympic and Pro wrestler Bob Roth at a celebrity golf event in Florida, where Pfohl had played for both of the USFL’s Florida franchises as well as at the U. Bob Roth then directed Pfohl to famous wrestling trainer Hiro Matsuda’s Florida facility. Larry Pfohl’s off-season wrestling persona “Lex Luger” debuted in September of 1985 in Orlando. In one of his next matches, “Lex Luger” got some nice early-career TV coverage in a match with ex-AFL great Wahoo McDaniel in November, 1985, also held in Florida. When the USFL went under in the Fall of 1986 after the league won only $1 in their anti-trust case against the NFL, Larry Pfohl decided to concentrate on pro wrestling. With the USFL gone and Larry’s immediate success as “Luger”, Pfohl ended his seven-year pro football career at of the close of the 1985 USFL season rather than return to the CFL or to give the NFL another try for the 1986 season. Of course, “Lex Luger” went on to a big-time, long-term career in pro wrestling.
|Last Updated ( Saturday, 25 April 2009 )|
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