- The Washington Times - Monday, July 28, 2003

Thirty-two years of great people, players, wins and losses more than satisfied longtime Washington Redskins trainer Bubba Tyer, who recounted many of those memories yesterday as he discussed his retirement.

“It was just time for me to leave,” said Tyer, who is stepping down in coming days after being on hand for the opening of training camp. “I’ve had a great run. Thirty-two years with the club, and working with a bunch of great people. … There were a lot of funny things that happened. I just had a great career. And it’s time to quit.”

The organization’s last link to the George Allen era spent the past year and a half as an executive-level consultant, helping the club maintain continuity during the overhaul between Marty Schottenheimer in 2001 and Steve Spurrier in 2002.

Having been hired to Allen’s first staff in 1971, Tyer helped the Redskins turn into a winning organization (“To start out in that era, the excitement in this town,” he recalled), win three Super Bowls in the 1980s and early 1990s, then preserve some tradition during the leaner years since the departure of Joe Gibbs in 1993.

Getting lost on an errand to RFK Stadium and celebrating too much after his first win over Dallas were among his youthful transgressions he remembered, while his favorite games were Allen’s “Over the Hill Gang” beating Dallas on New Year’s Eve 1972 for the NFC Championship and Gibbs’ eventual Super Bowl champions beating Atlanta on Jan. 4, 1992.

There were many great players, of course, but one stuck out: cornerback Pat Fischer (1968-77). Tyer admired that Fischer was “about my size, probably weighed a little less, and he’s as tough as any man.”

“I always tell my players, ‘Tough players make good trainers,’” Tyer said. “And that’s a fact. [If] you’ve got a bunch of tough players, you can be pretty good. But that’s also true of being an owner, being a head coach. Tough players make us all good, and I think in the ‘80s we were able to get a group of tough players, and keep them together.”

Over three decades, times certainly have changed. NFL players get far more attention from trainers these days, and in some ways the attention is more detached. Part of Tyer’s responsibilities back in the early days, for example, was to play racquetball with the players to help them stay in shape.

Of course, he also was assistant trainer and strength coach.

“Now we’ve got three full-time strength coaches and three full-time trainers,” he mused.

Perhaps Tyer’s defining characteristic has been how seriously he took winning and losing — especially when it came to the Cowboys. He would be genuinely elated after wins and down after losses, even though many people who work in professional sports become inured to the highs and lows.

Surely, that passion accompanies him into retirement.

“I’m going to be cussing from my seats,” Tyer said with a laugh. “I picked out my seats — they’re in the lower section, right there were the players come in and out. I’ll let ‘em know.

“But I am going to miss it,” he added. “There’s no doubt about it — there’s a withdrawal that you have.”


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