(Photo by Walter looks Jr./Getty Images)
Doug Whaley's comment on 93.7 The Fan this past week that Jack Ham would be a backup special teams player in today's game sure did get a lot of reaction, as it was a hot topic on Steelers Twitter. It made so much noise that even Ham heard about it and went on 93.7 The Fan on Friday to set the record straight.
“The one thing that I did have, that I think it transcends any era, I had quickness out there and I actually studied the game quite a bit and I had a great mentor in Andy Russell,” Ham said.
Ham also said he would have adapted to today's game with all the weight lifting and nutrition enhancements. Chuck Noll even said Ham was the fastest player on the Steelers within 10 yards.
"I had quickness out there," Ham said. "I would have been more involved in weight training and nutrition. I would have adapted."
Most sites have Ham's playing height and weight at 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, but he said he was actually 6-foot-2 and a half and 228 pounds. Devin Bush is 5-foot-11, 234 pounds, so it's not like there's that much of a difference. Mean Joe Greene (6-4, 275) was just five pounds lighter than Aaron Donald. Mel Blount was a 6-foot-3, 205-pound cornerback, who could run a 4.4. You think Blount couldn't play in today's game?
"Mel was the most natural athlete that I had ever seen in pro football," Ham said.
Ham is a four-time Super Bowl Champion, six-time First-Team All-Pro, eight-time Pro Bowler, is a member of the NFL’s 100th Anniversary All-Time Team and is a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Honor.
In 12 seasons, Ham had 21 fumble recoveries and 32 interceptions. His 53 combined turnovers are the most in NFL history for a linebacker. Ham is regarded as one of the best outside linebackers in the history of the game. While not getting as much recognition as teammate Jack Lambert, many believe Ham was the better linebacker of the two.
"I have never seen anyone play the outside linebacker position better than Jack Ham,” Tony Dungy once said. “Fundamentals, technique, awareness and athleticism were all exceptional. He was the total package.”
Whaley, who is a former Steelers executive and Bills general manager, is among six candidates who have had second interviews with the Steelers for the vacant general manager position. With his comment on Ham, however, he might have took himself out of the running for the job.