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Collected wisdom: John Goodman, former OU and Steelers defensive end

by Jenni Carlson Modified: January 29, 2011 at 4:05 pm •  Published: January 29, 2011

Age: 52

Residence: Edmond

John Goodman played for two of football's most storied franchises: the Oklahoma Sooners and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The defensive end played alongside some of the game's greats, but as Super Bowl week approaches, the married father of three can't help but think about those on-field goals he didn't quite accomplish.

My rookie year, I had Joe Greene next to me, Jack Ham next to me and Jack Lambert behind me. I played with probably 10 Hall of Famers ... which will never happen again because of free agency.

When I got there in 1980, they were the city of champions. That's when the Pirates had just won the World Series and the Steelers were obviously the world champions.

Yeah, it was rockin'.

Mr. Rooney ... he was in his 80s, I would assume, at the time. He's kind of like Barry Switzer; he has very good recall on names, where you're from. Mr. Rooney would be walking around the locker room and would come up and ask about my mother, my dad. Up until the day he died, he just had a total recall. He was just an amazing person.

I didn't start playing football until I was in eighth grade. We came (to Dallas) from Phoenix, and baseball was big out there. I was a tall, tall skinny kid. If you looked at me, you thought basketball not football. I didn't really start putting on weight until I was a senior in high school. But I was fast. I was always extremely fast.

They always said ... we can always put weight on you, but we can't make you taller, we can't make you faster, but we can always put weight on you.

I actually got hurt my senior year, only played six games, but was still offered by a few schools, Oklahoma being one of them.

My dad grew up in Chandler, Oklahoma, and so he raised me as a good Sooner fan.

I feel like I'm fortunate in that I played for one college and for one NFL team. We didn't have free agency and didn't have the ability to move around. That cost me money. That's a bad thing. But a good thing is that I got to know all the guys. I don't think the guys today are as bonded as we were. I really don't.

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by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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