Hall of Fame cornerback Mike Haynes was selected to nine Pro Bowls during his career, including six times in his first seven seasons in the NFL and three times later in his career after having been traded from the New England Patriots to the Los Angeles Raiders. When he first got to the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 1976 however, he had much to learn about how that game was played.
Today the Pro Bowl is an honor often rejected by the players who receive it but in the 1970s the winning side earned $5,000 a man. In those days that was a big bonus so when Haynes first arrived he wanted to be sure he was on the winning side. What did that lead to?
Trouble from Chicago Bears’ running back Walter Payton.
“They ran a toss sweep … and I smacked Walter as hard as I could,’’ Haynes tells Talk of Fame Network’s podcast. “I didn’t know how to take a little bit off. Walter said “What in the hell are you doing?! This is the Pro Bowl!’’
Not to Mike Haynes, who saw his selection as an honor each time, one he never grew to take for granted.
“I never took it for granted,’’ Haynes said. “It meant I was being viewed as one of the best in the NFL.’’
Despite that attitude, Haynes admits he had a difficult time deciding just how hard to practice at the Pro Bowl. In his first Pro Bowl appearance he was asked to cover Pittsburgh Steelers’ future Hall of Fame wide receiver John Stallworth, who for that week at least was now his teammate.
So did he let him catch the ball or did he not? To find out the decision Mike Haynes made and how his “teammate,’’ Steelers’ middle linebacker Jack Lambert reacted to it, go to VoKalNow.com or download our free podcast at iTunes.
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