John Tuggle was a running back from the University of California who was the very last player drafted in the 1983 NFL Draft. That slot had become a bit of a “60 seconds of fame” spot with a parade, all expenses paid trip, TV interviews and more. But practically ZERO chance of ever making an NFL roster.
John was anything but irrelevant to his teammates and to his coach, the crusty, sometimes caustic and abrasive Bill Parcells. Tuggle, to Parcells and his teammates, was a very special guy and athlete. Against seemingly insurmountable odds he made the final cut and was a full-fledged member of the New York Giants football team. He became a special teams star and one of the MVP’s of the team as a result. To quote Parcells “He had attributes you couldn’t see. John had an indomitable spirit. He was very inspirational to me as his coach.”
But barely one year later, John Tuggle was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of cancer that would ultimately take his life. John died in his sleep August 30, 1986. But clearly he and the lessons and examples he set as a young man have lived on. If you truly want to be moved and inspired, take a look at the You Tube recording of Coach Parcells being interviewed by ESPN for their 30 For 30 series. And have some Kleenex handy.
Sometimes lessons we need to learn come from the most unlikely sources and not always through tragic circumstances. One key lesson: GET TO KNOW THE PEOPLE ON YOUR TEAM, ALL OF THEM! Often the most “hidden” and irrelevant can turn out to be your MVP and role model.
|ESPN Films 30 for 30 short – “The Irrelevant Giant”|