And no I’m not talking Micheal Vick. It was another appalling night of nonsense television here in England last night, with Big Brother limping along like a wounded deer.
My wife and I scanned through our Sky TV channels hoping for some sort of entertainment and stumbled across ‘Behind Bars – America’s Toughest Prisons’ on Bravo 2.
We both love watching shows about prisons, and as part of her studies my wife has in fact been to a UK prison and spoken to murderers serving life sentences.
We settled down to watch this show and to my surprise a brief trailer of what was to come in the next hour included a group of prisoners in rag-tag American football uniforms (looking more like the Jamaican bobsled team at the pushcart championships in the movie Cool Runnings).
When it came to the American football section of the prison show the narrator described the most famous inmate at the Elayn Hunt Correctional Centre in Louisiana as former NFL defensive tackle Ramsey Dardar.
I have to confess I have never heard of Ramsey Dardar, but I listened with interest to the interview with Ramsey who said he played on the same Houston Oilers team as Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon.
I paused the show to look up Ramsey Dardar on the web and found out the following
1) Ramsey played for the LSU (Louisiana State University) Tigers as a starting defensive tackle in the late 70s and early 1980s
2) He was voted the 1982 SEC Defensive Lineman of the Year by the Atlanta Touchdown Club
3) He played in the 83 Orange Bowl - a 21-20 loss to the Nebraska Cornhuskers (led by running back Mike Rozier)
4) He was drafted #71 overall (3rd round) of the 1983 NFL Draft by the St Louis Cardinals – but as a rookie went on injured reserve before the season started
5) He was ALSO drafted #27 (3rd round) in the 1983 USFL Draft by the New Jersey Generals but never played for them. The Generals 1983 roster included future NFL stars Herschel Walker who ran for 1,812 yards on a mind blowing 412 carries that year.
5) He played one season in the NFL – 1984 for the St Louis Cardinals
6) He hung around the NFL throughout the mid 80′s and that included being released in August 1986 from the New York Giants, and being released from the Houston Oilers on September 1 1987
7) Dardar played on the same LSU team as Leonard Marshall. Marshall was drafted also in 1983 (#37 overall) by the New York Giants. Marshall went on to play 177 games in the NFL including winning two Superbowl rings for the Giants, in 1986 and 1990)
8) Dardar was drafted ahead of the following former NFL stars in 1983 – Charles Mann DE Redskins, Greg Townsed DE Raiders, Superbowl XX MVP Richard Dent DE Bears, and Karl Mecklenberg DE Broncos
It has been difficult to find the exact story that has led Ramsey Dardar from trying to find a job on an NFL roster in the 80s to becoming a prisoner at the Elayn Hunt Correctional Centre in Louisiana, but it seems he is serving numerous sentences for robbery (including armed robbery) to feed a drug addiction.
One of his former LSU Tiger team mates John Ed Bradley wrote a book that descibes his time at Tiger Stadium in the 70s, called ‘It never rains in Tiger Stadium’. Even though Bradley was a senior in 1979 he devotes a chapter to meeting and talking to Ramsey Dardar in prison in more recent times, describing his meeting with his former team mate. I must get hold of that book the next time I visit the stars and stripes.
We may think that NFL players going to prison (e.g Vick) is a recent phenomenon, or something that is a job requirement of the Bengals in the 21st Century, but it seems NFL players have been breaking the law for many many years.
Ramsey Dardar is living proof that it can all go wrong in the blink of an eyelid. He seems very approachable now as a prison inmate and coaches the ‘inmate football team’ in a ‘Longest Yard’ style.
Only problem for Ramsey Dardar is that when the film crew pack up and go home he does not get to go for a few cold brews in the local diner with Burt Reynolds or Adam Sandler, he instead gets prison food served in a plastic tray.
Fascinating stuff eh? What do you guys think?