Life of Riley: More wisdom from former Sooner
Every Sunday, we do a feature called Collected Wisdom. We talk to sports personalities who we believe have some wisdom to share, then we share it with you. Because our state is so rich in interesting athletes, coaches and the like, we are never at a shortage for possible subjects. You could almost pull a name out of a hat and get a good one.
Last week, when it was my turn to find a Collected Wisdom subject, I decided on Jim Riley.
I’m so glad I did.
The former football player and I talked for 45 minutes, and it could’ve been 45 hours. He has an amazing story, one that started at Bristow High School, then went to Enid High and Oklahoma U and finally to the NFL. He spent six seasons with the Miami Dolphins and was on the roster in 1972 when they became the first undefeated team in NFL history. Unfortunately, Riley, a defensive end, suffered a knee injury before the season and didn’t play a down that year.
For as good as his football career was, he has become better known for his work in the substance-abuse world. He battled addiction for years, but after an intervention by his wife, Robin, along with family and friends 1985, Riley went to rehab. Since getting clean and sober, he has worked to help others do the same.
You can read his Collected Wisdom by clicking here.
But as I mentioned, he had tons to say. He even talked about his son, Blake, who was killed in 1989 in a car accident.
So, here’s some more Wisdom from Jim Riley:
It’s been a good life since (1985). I’ve dealt with tragedy, but it’s still been a good life. I wouldn’t want to go back. I wouldn’t want to change it.
Somebody asked me, “If you could bring your son back to life … ” I said, “I don’t go there. I can’t go there. That’s too painful to try to go there and say, ‘If that wouldn’t have happened.’ It did happen.” In a 20 year span, he became the man I’m trying to become now.
Blake … he told me, “The reason I won’t drink, Dad, is because I don’t want to become what you became.” Oh, he tried it in high school. Senior year, he said, “Neh.” In fact, he made a deal with me — “I promise you I’ll never drink drop of alcohol as long as I live as long as you don’t.” We made that deal on our back patio at our home in Edmond.
I sit out there with Robin sometimes and remember some of the things that Blake and I talked about. We spent hours out there the last four years of his life … talking about stuff. Robin and I spend a lot of time out there. It’s a special place for us.
Message Sent Successfully
Be Sure to Check Out Our Top Headlines
Back to share with a friend form.
Add More Recipients