DraftAmerica recently spoke with former
NFL standout Terrell Buckley, a 14-year veteran who made stops in
Green Bay, Miami, Denver, New England, and New York. Buckley was
often a fan favorite and now is the assistant strength coach at his
alma mater of Florida State. His daughter is an up-and-coming high
school golfer in the South Florida area, as recently featured in the
Miami Herald. Buckley discussed several aspects of football with DA,
including his draft day experience back in 1992 and his experience
being teammates with three Hall of Fame quarterbacks.
DA: So what was life like leading up to
the 1992 NFL draft?
TB: It’s funny. I knew it was going to
be between one and seven. I mean I had worked out with all the top
teams there. Dallas had the 14th pick, and we knew they
were going to try to trade up on draft day. Cincinnati, who had the
sixth pick, they came to Mississippi. I only [visited] two places,
Dallas and Washington. I didn’t visit Indianapolis, I didn’t visit
the Rams. I really didn’t want to go that far. I was still in school
trying to take classes during that time, so I had some trouble with
my schedule. My schedule was pretty tight.
DA: What did you do on the day of the
TB: I didn’t fly to New York. I wanted
to stay home and share it with my family. I had rented a cottage on
the lake and all my family, friends, coaches, all the people that had
an influence and helped me came over with me. It was great.
DA: And how about when you heard your
TB: It was kind of relief and
excitement and I felt like it was the start of something new.
DA: The start of something special.
TB: For me, I always go back to Pop
Warner. And getting drafted was the start of something that’s… it’s
hard to get there, it’s hard to stay there, [all] that time, and to
make kind of a career out of it that’s darn near impossible. So, a
lot of milestones there.
DA: You’ve played with some of the best
players ever to set foot on the playing field. What were some of
those relationships like?
TB: Let me tell you, I had some great
teammates. The greatest one of all was probably the late Reggie
White. And, you know, Dan Marino, Brett Favre, Tom Brady, and a host
of other guys. O.J. McDuffie down here, Bryan Cox… I mean, I really
can say I only had a few bad apples in 14 years, bad teammates. 95%
of them were great. And Dan, I was probably closer to him and,
quarterback-wise, Tom and [Chad] Pennington. Just great guys.
DA: You obviously played with Dan the
longest, what insight can you give us on that?
TB: It’s funny, I had to sit by Dan on
the bus, and same thing with Tom. We used to end up talking, and
strategizing, and what’s the quarterback thinking, and what’s the DB
thinking in these situations. So that’s how I always thought it ends
up developing into a friendship.
DA: Take me back to 2001. You joined
the Patriots as a free agent and after two games it seemed like more
of the same for a struggling franchise. Then Mo Lewis changes history
and knocks out Drew Bledsoe and in comes little-known Tom Brady. Did
you have any idea the rest of that year would unfold the way it did?
TB: Nobody knew. Everybody wants to
take the credit. He was a good, solid player that we thought was
going to go in and throw a few balls, and Drew was going to come back
and take over. But as it went on, it started to show [that he was the
real deal]. But I don’t think anybody knew.
DA: Ironically that wasn’t the first
time you witnessed a significant change at the helm.
TB: My first game [with Green Bay in
’92]. Magic Man [then-Packers quarterback Don Majkowski] hurt
his ankle and Brett came in and… almost like Tom Brady with Drew
Bledsoe, kind of the same situation I had in New England, so it was
kind of weird. Most of the time guys have the skills, sometimes it’s
the system, the coaches. One of those things that can derail a guy or
send a guy to heights unknown.
DA: Let’s come back to the here and
now. Brett is 40 and trying to go against New England on a fractured
ankle. Are you in awe of how he’s still getting it done at this age?
TB: The way the game has changed, I
would say in the past year, the way they protect the quarterbacks and
all that, it’s not as amazing as it was in the past, but it’s still
pretty impressive. But stuff like that, that shows the grit and the
toughness. But… who knows. They’re saying on a fractured ankle a
guy’s better than the guy who’s healthy? That remains to be seen. And
you know [New England] is going to bring it. You’re hurt. Hey, we’re
going to see. It’s going to be very interesting.
DA: Last question: should Tom Brady cut
TB: His wife doesn’t think so, and
that’s the only person that matters.