Chapter 3, Page 87

Over the next 24 hours, Allen pulled off one of the most stunning deals in the annals of the NFL. He traded seven draft choices, as well as Redskins linebacker Marlin McKeever, to Los Angeles. In exchange, LA sent back six of Allen's favorite Rams, including an entire unit of linebackers. Allen gave up his first-round and third-round picks and four choices in the 1972 draft to obtain linebackers Jack Pardee, Mo Pottios and Maxie Baughan, defensive tackle Diron Talbert, guard John Wilbur and special teams standout Jeff Jordan. The Rams also had given him a fifth-round choice, but he traded that pick later in the day to the Green Bay Packers for tight end Boyd Dowler. Dowler had already joined Allen's staff as an assistant coach, but the trade was needed to make another experienced body available at tight end just in case.

"This is great, terrific for the Redskins," Allen said. "We've upgraded our defense at least 25 percent. It's worth at least two victories. Our goal now is nine or 10 wins."

That was only the beginning. Before the start of training camp in 1971, Allen continued to send picks all over the league (including one he didn't own, which cost him a $5,000 fine from the league office). From the New York Jets he got defensive ends Verlon Biggs and Jimmie Jones. From the Buffalo Bills came defensive end Ron McDole. From the San Diego Chargers he acquired return man Leslie (Speedy) Duncan. From the Rams he added strong safety Richie Petitbon, running back Tommy Mason and center George Burman.

Even after the Redskins had assembled in Carlisle for training camp, he was still making moves. Unhappy with his second-round draft choice, Texas receiver Cotton Speyrer, Allen sent the swift rookie up the road to Baltimore, along with two medium-round draft choices, in return for receiver Roy Jefferson. Within six months, Allen essentially had transformed the Redskins in his own image. His new team inevitably was being called the "Ramskins," though Allen and his players much preferred "The Over-the-Hill Gang."

Either way, the team was heavy with the veterans Allen preferred. Never mind that Baughan barely could walk on a bad foot that would sideline him for the season. He knew Allen's defense better than anyone and could teach it to the younger players. It didn't matter that Jack Pardee had survived a cancer operation and was 35 years old when he reported to his new team. He clearly was a coach on the field, a leader who reported to camp in what he later said was the best physical shape of his life. Who cared that McDole, the "Dancing Bear," had one of the worst bodies in football?

Page 87 | Next Page: 88

Other Pages in Chapter 3:
79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112

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Names, Numbers
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