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My Dad’s in the Hall of Fame

My dad (Roddy Osborne) got inducted into the Texas A&M Sports Hall of Fame a couple of months ago. My dad played for Bear Bryant back in the late 50’s. I knew he was a quarterback, but I didn’t realize that he played fullback his sophmore year. Turns out he was also the punter and the punt return guy (who knew). Oh yeah, and did I mention, in Bear Bryant’s system, the quarterback played middle linebacker too! He got drafted by the Cleveland Browns and played a couple of seasons there. (I think there was a guy by the name of Jim Brown playing there then).

Anyway, here’s the video that the committee put together. They played it before his acceptance speach at the banquet. By the way, that’s John David Crow (Heisman Trophy winner in 1957) narrating. It has some good footage of my dad playing (I didn’t know he could pass!).

My dad didn’t talk much about football when we were growing up. He actually didn’t want my brother and me to play because it was so hard on his body. He had huge scars on his knees and one on his shoulder that went from the front arm pit all the way around to the back arm pit. That scar was like an inch wide with cross hatches every couple of inches. He was so beat up that when his Air Force company was shipped out to Vietnam, they wouldn’t allow him to go. Anyway, there are only a couple of stories that I remember him telling:

The first one occurred during a game between Texas A&M and Arkansas in 1957. The story has been repeated many times over the years (often incorrectly). I once heard a preacher tell the story in a sermon and he had it completely messed up. I had to straighten him out after the service. Anyway, here’s how I remember it:

The Aggies were ahead by one point with a couple of minutes to go in the game. They were driving and close to scoring. Back in those days, the coach didn’t call the plays. The quarterback was responsible for calling the plays. So coach Bryant sends in a substitute with a message to not throw the ball, just to run out the clock. My dad calls a roll out, expecting to burn some clock with a long, slow developing play, but not intending to throw the ball. So he rolls out and lo and behold, a receiver (I think he said it was Gene Stallings) is wide open in the end zone. He told me that the guy was so open he just couldn’t help himself and so he throws the ball. Well one of the Arkansas defensive backs (Donny Horton) is a sprinter on the track team and he breaks on the ball along the sidelines and intercepts it. And there is nobody between him and the end zone 90+ yards away. Well somehow, my dad catches this guy from behind, and my dad is reportedly one of the slowest guys on the Aggies team. That tackle saves their undefeated season (they were 7-0 at the time and #1 in the nation). Later Bear Bryant was asked about the play and he says, “The difference was that Horton was running for a touchdown. Osborne was running for his life.”

The second story he told that stuck with me was about the last day he played football.

After playing a couple of years in Cleveland, my dad was drafted and entered the Air Force. He was stationed in Bitburg Germany. Apparently they had some sort of semi-pro league there and my dad was a player coach. The story I remember went like this (I’ll tell it from his perspective):

Did I ever tell you about the last time I played football? Well I was a player coach in Bitburg, so I suited up, but never played because I was so out of shape. Well our first string quarterback got hurt and so I put in our second string guy. And I told him, what ever you do, don’t get yourself hurt. Because we don’t have another quarterback except me. And sure enough, on the second play, the guy takes off on a run and gets clobbered and I have to go in. Well we’re backed up close to our end zone and I call a pass play and I roll out to the right and it’s like the seas parting. There is no one between me and the end zone.

So I take off running…

And I’m running, and running, and running…

And I look over and the referee is keeping up with me…

Running backwards…

And on about the 10 yard line, a big old fat lineman catches me from behind…

And I roll over on the sidelines…

And I throw up…

And that’s the last time I played football.

Several other guys got inducted at the same time. Greg Hill and Quintin Coryatt were the two that made the biggest impression on me at the banquet. Greg Hill was a great running back in early 90’s that was drafted in the first round by Kansas City. Quintin Coryatt was a linebacker in the early 90’s. As part of the Wrecking Crew, he was probably most well known for “The Hit” which was aired repeatedly after a nationally televised game against TCU. He was drafted with the number 2 overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts. Here’s a video of “The Hit”.


  1. Don Burleson says:

    >> He actually didn’t want my brother and me to play because it was so hard on his body.

    Sounds like you have a really great Dad . . . .

  2. Bobby and Laurie Guinn says:

    We had the privilege of meeting your dad today at the VA — Bobby, also a veteran, was there for a back procedure, your dad came up in the canteen and introduced himself to us. What a pleasure to visit with him. Please tell him we did look him up as we said we would, and really enjoyed our visit. He’s a great guy!

    Laurie Guinn

  3. chuck thiele says:

    I played on that Bitburg team and remember that
    Run and your dad throwing up and his play at linebackers… What s great experience it was for me to play for him,but more importantly yo know him as a person. I remember meeting you and your brother at your apartment many times when I was talking with your dad more about life than football. Those meetings and time with your dad meant a great deal to me. Give
    Him my Best
    I just happen to run across your post and wanted to share.
    Chuck THIELE

  4. osborne says:

    Thanks for the comment Chuck. I have passed it on to my dad.


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