The Big Tuna
This story of Bill Parcells cutting a player who got injured playing golf is the most Bill Parcells story imaginable
Kevin C. Cox
Among the most legendary of Bill Parcells-Lawrence Taylor stories is one about the time LT showed up to a literal Monday Night Football game late and told Parcells "coach, the foursome in front of me was playing so slow," revealing that he'd just come from the golf course. No disciplinary action was taken by Parcells, a notorious hard-ass, because LT was such a singular talent he could get away with whatever he wanted in Parcells' eyes.
No offense to former NFL lineman Ross Tucker, our guest on this week's episode of The Loop podcast, but Lawrence Taylor, he was not. Hence why, when Parcells found out Tucker had injured his back while getting an off-season golf lesson during Tucker's short Dallas Cowboys tenure in 2002, Parcells wasted no time sending him packing.
"So I'm getting a lesson from this guy, Australian dude, and he keeps having me pause at the top of my backswing, like 'pause. hold. pause,'" Tucker said. "I go in the next day to lift weights, and I'm hang-cleaning 135 [pounds], which is like the least amount of weight you'd ever see a football player hang-clean.
"I hang-clean, and I feel a tear in my upper back," Tucker goes on. "And I know why it happened, it happened because I kept pausing on my backswing. I somehow get through the rest of weightlifting and I go into the trainer's room and I'm like 'yo, I did something to my back, can I get some ice or something?' They asked me what happened and I'm like, I don't know, I had a golf lesson yesterday and the guy kept having me pause on my backswing. I'm head down [on the trainer's table], and all of a sudden I hear the voice of our head coach Bill Parcells walk in. He says to the trainer 'who's that?' Trainer says 'Tucker.' 'What happened to him?' 'Hurt his back golfing.' So I'm a Princeton guy who hurt his back golfing. I was toast. [Parcells] already didn't like the fact that I was a Princeton guy, and then I hurt my back golfing and he was just like 'Nope.' I got cut like two weeks later."
Ruthless stuff from the Big Tuna, though not all that surprising. Unless your name is LT, you can't get hurt playing golf and live to tell the tale.
For our full chat with Tucker, please have a listen below, and please like and subscribe to The Loop wherever you get your podcasts.