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May 7, 2024 40 mins
Many think he should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Afterall, he’s one of only four defensive players on the NFL 1970’s All-Decade team not in Canton and the only corner back on that same list without a bust. But to Louis Wright, all that matters is what his teammates thought of him.  

He grew up in California and gravitated to track and football in high school. He spent one year at Arizona State where he was moved from his high school position of defensive end to defensive back. As Louis says he “partied” his way out of ASU after one year and returned home to attend junior college where he ran track and sat on the bench for the football team.  

He got back to a Division One school when San Jose State offered him a track scholarship. Then a very smart assistant football coach saw him running and convinced him to join the football team. He rode the pine again, until the Spartans played ASU (coincidentally) and Louis was called in for a play. He made a spectacular tackle and never sat on the bench again.  

The Broncos chose Louis with the 17th overall pick in the 1975 draft. His 12-year career with the Broncos included accolades like 5 Pro Bowls, 4 First-Team All-Pro, Ring of Fame, 50th Anniversary Team, two Super Bowl appearances, 26 career interceptions and 11 fumble recoveries. His stats are not as high as other DB’s because quarterbacks feared what might happen if they threw his way, so many times they didn’t.  

After he retired, Louis finished his degree and eventually earned his teaching certificate as well. He recently retired from 28 years of teaching and coaching in the Denver area. He continues to run (in his 70’s), stay in touch with teammates and keep his humble attitude.
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Transcript

Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
(00:00):
You've been playing football for a seasonand a half now, yeah, and
you get picked in the first roundLouis seventeenth overall by the Broncos. I
mean, did you know that thatwas happening? Like, did you kind
of get the feeling that these guysare swarming around? I had no idea.
I mean, so many things thathappened to him, It's like I
didn't know. Welcome to Cut,Traded, Fired, Retired a weekly podcast

(00:22):
featuring conversations with professional athletes and coacheswho have experienced being cut, traded,
fired, and or they're retired.I'm your host, Susie Wargen. There
are many who feel this episode's guestshould be in the Pro Football Hall of
Fame, myself included. Louis Wrightgrew up in California, playing all kinds
of sports and gravitated towards track andfootball. In high school, he played

(00:44):
tight end and defensive end. Whenhe went to Arizona State, he was
moved to defensive back. He wasone and done at ASU and returned to
junior college back home, where hecontinued to excel at track and sat the
bench in football. It wasn't untilhe went to San Jose State on track
scholarship that a football coach noticed himand got him to join the Spartans on
the grid iron. A year anda half later, Louie was a first

(01:07):
round pick of the Broncos and hada twelve year career dominating Denver's backfield.
His stats may not add up toHall of Fame stats, but he was
also purposely avoided by many quarterbacks becausehe was so good. After retirement,
Louie finished his degree and also gota teaching certification. He just recently retired
from a twenty eight year career asa teacher and coach. He's a gem

(01:30):
and as humble as they come.Ladies and gentlemen, The Great Louis Wright
Cut traded fired retired podcast with SusieWargen. Louis right, man, it's
good to see you. Although wedid just have dinner. Yeah, we
did about a week ago. Hallof Fame, Colorad Sports Hall of Fame.
That was great time we sat nextto each other. That was a

(01:52):
lot of fun, and it's socool to have you in here. You
know, I grew up a Broncosfan, and I was young in the
seventies, but my folks were justdie hard and so before Steve Foley became
my dad's favorite player, you werehis favorite player. All I heard,
I would just remember always Louie,Louie, Louie and my dad just went
crazy on Sundays. Oh yeah,it was a great time in Toronto.

(02:15):
It was. So you're here foryour very first ever exposure to a podcast,
So welcome to that. Totally.Thank you for having me. I've
just started telling you ahead of time. I know nothing about this, but
I'm gonna give it a shot.Oh yeah, I'm gonna make it really
easy on you. We're gonna havea great time. Yeah, all right.
So we're gonna kind of go backand start at your beginnings. You're
born in Texas, somehow, atsome point you make your way to California

(02:38):
because that's where you go to highschool. So tell me a little bit
about growing up for Louie Wright.Well, first of all, were you
not born in Texas? Well,I was, but my parents were living
in California. My father had gottena post office job, he was a
mailman, but he had moved toCalifornia a few years before. But in
the nineteen fifties, just being truthful, black people couldn't just walk into any

(02:58):
hospital and have a baby. Somy mother grew up in Texas, my
mother and father, so I hadan older brother. So she'd go back
to Texas and have her child andthen come back to California her family,
and then I was born and she'dgo back to Texas for three months or
so and come back and then havea younger sister. So she did that
three times, and so I wasborn in Texas, but I never really

(03:20):
lived there. That's so stunning tothink about that now, it just would
not happen. You can't just walk, well, walk in the black person,
say hey, I don't want tohave a baby any be like,
well, you know whatever. Butwow, kind of solved the problem.
Those were the times. That wasthe times. In nineteen fifty three when
I was born, is you know, she went back home. So I
was born in Texas. She spentthree months there, and I went to

(03:42):
California because I was back by April, because my mother has this little picture
of being in California in April.I was born in January, so three
months later I was back in California. Okay, so you really did grow
up in California then, from veryvery very young bakersfil California, Bakersfield,
and that's where you went to BakersfieldHigh School. And what guy you into
sports, Louis? You know,I think at the time, and this

(04:02):
is for a lot of people,you went outside and played. That's what
you did. Parents kicked you outthe door and you had to go outside
and play or do something. Yeah, so we just started playing, all
the kids up and down the street. We played baseball games, football games
back you know, we just played. I think that's kind of how I
got my love for sports. Whendid you realize that you were good at

(04:23):
them? I think when I wasin elementary school. You know, we
had this track meet every year andI was always winning. So that's kind
of when I thought, hey,maybe I am pretty good. Right.
When did football become a thing foryou? Oh? I loved football from
the very beginning, just watching onTV growing up. All. Yeah,

(04:43):
who was your team when you werein California? USC in football? Okay?
And did you pay attention to thepros very much or not? Really?
I was. I did watch NFLand I loved the NFL, but
college football was my past. Ihad scrap book at ever and I followed
USC from boy going way back,and I wanted to go to USC that

(05:04):
was my dream school. But theydidn't recruit me. Oh man, I
know, I was so disappointed.But okay, So in high school,
I know you played football, youdo track. Was there any other sports?
Did you also do basketball? Idid basketball one year my freshman year,
but I did football, then wentto basketball, then went to track,
and I was like, wait aminute, I need some time off.

(05:28):
I wanted to have a little fun. So I figured, well,
you know, it's kind of goodat football and kind of good at track,
not so good in basketball. SoI just dropped one stuck with that.
What positions did you play in highschool? For football football? I
was a defensive end and a tightend. A defensive end, so I
kind of grew up in the trencheseven though I was great at track.

(05:51):
I mean I did a great jobat track and made it to stay,
you know, like I was fast, but somehow coach put me. I
just played where he put me in. That's what I was. You didn't
really have that skilled position to beable to show off your speed. No,
tight and defensive and you take onblock or so That's pretty much what
I did through high school. Okay, So then who did recruit you?

(06:12):
You went to Arizona State first beforeyou went to San Jose State, so
I know ASU's one of them.I went to Arizona State for one year.
Frank Krish was the head coach,and he eventually wound up with the
Baltimore Colts at the time. SoI went to Arizona State right out of
college, and they made me adefensive back. The coach there, Kajakawa,
was the freshman coach at that oneyear. My freshman year. Freshman

(06:33):
could not play varsity, so youhad to play on the freshman team.
So when I was on the freshmanteam, he thought that I'd make a
good defensive back, so he mademe a defensive back. What great wisdom?
Were there other schools you were interestedin aside from ASU? Besides USC?
Nah, that was it. Itwas USC or BUS But I got

(06:54):
recruited by Arizona State, so well, actually Utah and you know a few
other schools, but mostly over onthe West West coast. Yeah, yeah,
I just you know, in thosedays, I graduated in nineteen seventy.
In seventies, college players mostly gotrecruited in your region. Like now
you go whoever, next year you'resomewhere else. But in those days,

(07:18):
you know, if you were aWest Coast you kind of went to the
West coast schools. In the South, you kind of went to you know,
that's the schools absolutely, Yeah,the Big Ten, all the Midwest
Texas they went. You know,that's the kind of the way it was.
So you spend what one year atArizona State. At Arizona State,
I partied my way out of therereal quick. Oh, is that what

(07:38):
happened? Okay, we're being truthfulhere today. That's what the podcast is
all about. Well, Frank Cushfreshman year, well, actually I failed
one class and I was a yearor three in the short of being eligible
for next year. So you know, he called everybody in at the end
of the year freshman and kind oflet you know your plans whether they're bringing
you back at Yat Yeah. Yeah, but I guess because I was a

(08:00):
all the other players had been in, all my other freshmen with Danny White
was the freshman there, and WoodyGreen and we had probably Ed Fisher,
who was offensive line. It was. I didn't know it at the time,
but looking back, it was atalented and they all come back.
You know, we're all in thedoors together. Oh yeah, well he
told me this, and oh yeah, they're going to get me a job
and oh there. So I figuredwhen my time, I'm a w So

(08:22):
I'm at the end of the list. He calls me in Frank, Christiandas
and he said, okay, wellit looks like you need to make up
a class. You've got a classto get done over the summer, and
you get that done, we'll seeyou in August. I'm like, okay,
and I walked out and I thought, okay, well, I guess
I'm not coming back. So ofcourse everybody else was getting jobs, you
know, they were getting summer schoolhousing, everything. But he just told

(08:45):
me okay. So I went backand went to junior college for a year.
And so I went to junior collegefor a y and that's why I
ran track. I played football.Well, I was on the team in
the total time I was on theteam in junior college my sophomore year,
I think I was on the fieldfor maybe five or six place like,
I never I never got it onthe field, And I think the coach

(09:07):
was mad at me because they wantedme to come to junior college out of
high school. And I didn't,and so I think, I don't know.
I just I never was teaching youa little lesson, I guess.
So I just was not smart.I'm just going to run track. Then
So I ran track, and youknow, got a scholarship to Sands the
Stay for track. That's how Igot to Sales. Not for football.

(09:28):
Not for football. Now I wasdone with football after that. I mean,
in my mind I never played,but I did. This is a
real weird story, but I rememberI was walking out of our junior college,
kind of our athletic rooms and officesand all that, and there was
a guy trying to find football coachesand he said, hey, hey,
do you know where to go?I said, yeah, they're up there.

(09:48):
He said who are you and Isaid Louis right. He said did
you play football? And I waslike yeah. He was from the University
of Oregon looking at recruits. Hesaid, well, nobody told me about
who He didn't know who I waswas never so they didn't even bring my
name up for recruiting people. Ohmy gosh. And that coach was mad.
And so, you know, likeI said, I ran track,
and then I went to San Leans, a state on the track scholarship.

(10:11):
So then how do you get discoveredby that football program? Did you start
there for two years? Right?Yeah, it's all these weird things that
happened to me in my life.I just get blessed in so many ways,
and you know that just happened.But anyway, I was running track
and the coaching staff when I gotthere my first year, they got fired,
so they brought in a whole newcoaching staff. Well, one of
the coaches, defensive back coach.He came out to track practice one day.

(10:35):
Smart I know, he did somekind of Susie Warrigon research and he
came out the track path. Hesaid, hey, hey, I heard
he used to play football. AndI was like yeah, because I was
all city, you know, likeI had pretty good resume. Yes you
did. He said, hey,well why don't you come out for football?
And I was like, my footballdays are over and he's like,

(10:56):
no, no, just come out. If you don't feel good about it,
you can go back track and youknow, not a big deal,
no loss. I'm just giving youa chance, like, come out.
I can really. I said,okay, okay, I'll come out.
So when track season was over overthe summer. I came out in August,
didn't know anybody on the team,and started football. But I wasn't
the starter. He was the decentback coaching. He taught everything, Jim

(11:18):
cover everything I know about corner play, he take you learned a san Jose
learned from him, person wow andfootwork, angles, everything. So he
was coaching, and you know,I kind of was having fun, but
I wasn't playing. I wasn't thestarting. I didn't expect to be a
starter. So I'm sitting on thebench now. Coincidentally, Frank Cush is

(11:39):
still the head coach at Arizona State. This is two years later. So
I'm sitting at Arizona State game.It's probably a third or fourth game,
sitting on the bench like I normallydo, just watching the game, and
then all of a sudden, somebodysays, right, get over here,
and I was like, oh,okay, So I ran over there and
he's like, get in. Isaid, get in. So anyway I

(12:03):
went. In my very first play, they threw what they called like a
quick screen bubble screen to my receiver. I see all these linemen coming out
to erase me, and somehow Idived under him, made the tackle for
like about a three or four yardloss, and I never came out again.
I never came out again. Ohmy gosh. I took the guy's

(12:26):
spot. I mean I didn't meanto, but I just was playing.
And it was against Arizona State Arizonatoday. And then after the game,
which is really weird, Frank Cuschcame up to me and congratulated me like
I didn't even think he knew whoI was, but he did. And
the same thing happened Johnnyway's first yearwhen we played Baltimore. Coach in Baltimore,

(12:50):
Frank cust was the head coach ofBaltimore. After the game, he
sought me out just while he's withthe coat and I went to Broncos this
about my fifth or sixth year inthe league, and he came over and
shook my hand and congratulated me again. Wow, So I kind of felt
good about that. Absolutely. Yeah. So anyway, I'm off track now.

(13:11):
But how did I get to playin football after I was on the
track scholarship there? Yeah, that'show. That's how Otherwise I would have
never played football again. Oh mygosh. So you never come out of
the game. You continue to playfor the Spartans that whole year and also
your senior year. My senior yearand I'm a second team All American and

(13:31):
a little bit of the All Leagueand some owners. I played in the
East West Shrine Game and the SeniorBall and the ball. Yeah, and
then they used to have the CollegeAll Star Game and you played the Super
Bowl champions in the NFL. Thatwas the big That was like the oh
my gosh, I've heard about that. Logan told me about that. I'm
like, wait, what you hadcollege guys playing? And so they took

(13:54):
and thats was like, I'm gettingpicked for all these things. I couldn't
believe it. And so they tookthe best college players and you would play
that would sum up the end ofthe season of college. Actually, they
used to play it on August first, as close as soon as training camps
are starting. The college All Starswould go to Chicago and that's what they
had and play against the We playedagainst the people Pittsburgh Steely. You played

(14:18):
in that game. I played.They didn't do it for very long,
did they. They did it grownass men against college kids, but actually
it was evenly matched. It wasgood we went. Yeah. I mean
because the NFL players they don't reallycare, so they don't play with preseason,
preseason, the very first game,so it's not a real We're hyped
up because it's just incredible honor andjust amazing opportunities. Absolutely, all the

(14:41):
college players are pumped up, butthe NFL players they're kind of like,
oh, this is the first freeso it's a little different vibe, but
it's a lot of fun. Oh. Absolutely. So let's go back then
to East West Shrine game and theSenior Bowl. Their scouts there, you're
getting noticed. I mean you've beenplaying football for a season and a half

(15:01):
now, yeah, and you getpicked in the first round Louis seventeenth overall
by the Broncos. I mean,did you know that that was happening?
Like, did you kind of getthe feeling that these guys are swarming around?
I had no idea. I meanso many things that happened to him.
It's like I didn't know. Ididn't know because I remember when I
was at San Jose State, peoplewould say, oh, yeah, you

(15:22):
didn't draft us. I was like, no, I'm not, and scouts
would come. But you know,there was another guy named Dave was said
a defensive and he also got drafted. And then we had a wide receiver,
I McBee. He got drafted.So I wasn't the only one that
might get drafted. You thought itwas for everybody else but you, everybody
but me. But I was kindof like maybe I got it outside of

(15:43):
but you know, like I wasn'tlike, oh yeah, number one.
You know, I did not havea clue. That's also part of your
personality. You are very I mean, you're a cool cat and just kind
of like you're not assuming. Wellyou know, I kind of like,
well, I'm kind of good.I mean, I'm not the worst player,
and I tried to do my bestand I think I handled like what

(16:03):
the coaches asked me to do.So I knew I had that confidence and
I thought I could play in theNFL. But first I was the first
dB taken and I was like me, really like, oh my god,
Okay, who called you to JohnRalston call you? It was Cheryl Hardy,
who was in Fred Girky, whowas the director of scouting and general

(16:27):
manager. Just to show you howthings are changed. I was going to
San Jose State and I had anaunt. I was from Bakersfield, which
is further south down by La.I had an aunt that was living in
East pal Alto, so I stayedwith her sometimes from San Jose's by thirty
minute drive. So I'm at herhouse, my aunt's house in East pal
Aalto. On the draft day,you know, they asked you to give

(16:48):
a numb. They called me onthe phone at my aunt's house and she's
like, hey, somebody's on thephone for you, And so I get
on the phone and it's Fred.He's like, okay, well we just
drafted you and we're doing a likeyou're talking on the phone. They don't
even do that anymore. So likea conference call, conference call there you

(17:10):
go, okay, a conference callpeople, Oh yeah they do yeah,
okay, you just merge them inon your iPhone. So you're like,
we're talking, they're asking me questions, and I'm like, okay, we're
gonna fly you out next week orwhatever. So that's how I found out.
Had you ever been to Denver?Never? That was my first time.
And you know the biggest thing isthe first time I got there,

(17:33):
it was snowing. Got there,got here, it was snowing. I
hadn't been in the snow before,so I was getting culture shots all over
the place, and I'm like,oh, like, first of all,
in the NFL, it's snowing,I'm in Delver, I'm going to play
pro foo like all this stuff.It just was overwhelming. It had to
have been, Oh my gosh.And then you come into a team and

(17:56):
then it evolves into what becomes theOrange Crush and you just are phenomenal over
twelve seasons. You stay with theBroncos, which is really incredible. I
mean even in that day. Imean there were a lot of guys that
were there for the career. Youlook at BT and all of those guys,
they were all Broncos for life.We just we were at the Hall
of Fame with Barney Chavs and justa lot of those teammates of yours that

(18:17):
were there for a very long timewith John Ralston, and then when Red
Miller came in. I think thatis such a special group of players.
And we saw it at that nightat the Hall of Fame because everybody came
back to see Barney go in andI'm like, these guys are tight.
Tom Jackson came back, who wehaven't seen it forever, you were there,
BT was there. It was justand then to see you guys,

(18:37):
Steve Foley came and to see youguys interact and just smile and there's a
bond that is just incredible. Well, you know, I think it's America
in general, the commitment, theloyalty, and you know, like that's
just not I'll be at USC thisyear, then I'm going to transfer to
UNI Cincinnati. Then next year I'mgoing to University Kentucky. Then next you

(19:00):
know, like there's no and evenin the NFL, oh well i'mna be
a free agent this year. Andthen you know, you can't build a
family, No you can't. Itwas like family, like you're just saying
there and everybody you pretty much hadloyalty to your team and your players.
And like you said, I playedtwelve years with I played with this group

(19:22):
of Randy Grats, Jar and SteveBowley and well Riley Oldham, table Moses
ricked up Church on the offense andlike probably the same group of people for
about man eight or nine years.Yeah, like everybody say, it was
like that just will never ever happenagain. No, you guys had something
very very special. It's a Idon't know, it's like a blessing.

(19:45):
Like it's almost like, oh,I made this wish and my wish came
true. Oh thank you Jesus.I mean, like that's I think everybody
on the team would kind of agree. It was a lot of fun,
absolutely, and you can still havea lot of fun. I love just
observing how you all interacted with eachother that night. So I'm like,

(20:07):
this is so. I mean,I watched you guys, I'm a kid
watching this. My dad's going crazyover you. And now I get to
be here fifty years later and stillwatch the same kind of love. I
like to say it's a dream cometrue, like somebody says, oh yeah,
I had this dream last night andI had to dream and it was
real and it's still going on.So I just couldn't. I just couldn't

(20:32):
be more thankful when it. Butthe good thing is the success, because
I move. We went to asuper Bowl, super Bowl twelve, well,
twelve twelve, yeah, and seventyseven. Yeah, you know,
we had playoff runs and got closedbefore and then my last year we went
to super Bowl twenty one, andthen they went to Super Bowl the year
after I left. If I hadn'tknown that, I wouldn't have left.

(20:52):
Yeah, you maybe could have helpedin that one needed it there, so
but anyway, it was a goodlittle era and it continued on where I
think the Broncles were kind of focusedon having players with integrity, that had
good souls. They were great players, they weren't selfish. There's a lot

(21:15):
of people now, players that allthey care about is me, what's my
stats? What did I get?How much salary am I going to be
able to They don't care about theperson next to them. So it was
an era where I just played.All those guys that I played with,
they were just incredible people. Notonly were they great players, right,
they're the type of people that wouldstopping help you on the side of the

(21:36):
highway to make sure you're okay,like even if they don't even know who
you are. They're just good people. And there was a whole team full
of good people. You could callany one of them up right now and
they'd be there for you in heartbeat. Yeah, yeah, it's just they're
just great people. Absolutely, I'mso proud of that. Let's talk about
your playing career, all the accoladesthat you had, four time first Team
All Pro, five time Pro bowler. You're on the NFL nineteen and he's

(22:00):
All Decade Team, fiftieth Anniversary Team. You get in the Ring of Fame
in ninety three, Coloro Sports Hallof Fame, the San Jose Spartans Hall
of Fame. You were a shutdown cornerback before there was actually a name
for a shutdown cornerback. I evenread where Dan Fout said he didn't even
throw your way. I mean,that's a Hall of Fame quarterback. Oh,
he's awesome. Yeah, I meanyour stats are pretty amazing with what

(22:22):
you retired with as far as youknow, interceptions, fumble recoveries, returns
for touchdowns, they probably would havebeen more had they actually thrown your way,
but you were just so dang good. They didn't throw your way as
much. But what was your gamelike, Like, what was your kind
of motto every time you went outthere knowing that and maybe you didn't really
think about it that I'm so damngood, they're not going to throw the
ball my way. You know,I didn't think of that. Later after

(22:47):
I got out and I started playing, then you couldn't reflect them. But
at the time were in the heatof the battle. You're getting ready for
your next season or next game whatever. I'm just thinking about, Okay,
we've had our scouting report this week. This is probably what's going to happen.
This is the receivers that I'm goingto be having to deal with and
preparing for him and just doing thebest I could. Like that was all

(23:11):
I was wasn't thinking about, ohhow many times they're going to throw at
me. It's like every playday.That's the thing about defense is you don't
know when it's coming. If you'reon offense, you know the ball is
coming to you, or you knowthis is a running play, you know
ahead of time, But on defense, I don't know What's I got to
play every play and be ready.Yeah. I tell a lot of young

(23:32):
people that, especially coach in highschool football, it's hard to find players
even in other sports that go allout every play. People they don't I
know because oh yeah, he's gota motor, because those players win games.
I heard him talking about Ellis,the defensive addresser from Utah, the
things that drafted talking about. AndI do remember watching him in a game

(23:56):
I think it was against usc U, and he seems to be whether of
those players, he just doesn't takea playoff. You never go to see
him walking or not going, andthat's kind of the way you have to
be. Nikola Jokich is a greatexample. He's another one. Never takes
a playoff, rabit. He's goingfull speed or he's on the bench.
There's no in between. No,And that was that was your motto.

(24:19):
Yeah, only because I don't know. That's just how I started playing it.
Yeah, you didn't know any otherway. I didn't know any other
way. So that's kind of myI would love your thoughts, Louis on
the Pro Football Hall of Fame,which finally Randy's getting in there, very
well deserved. But you are theonly cornerback on that All Decades team that

(24:41):
is not in the Hall of Fame. You've never even been a finalist for
that. Okay, So Willie Brown'sin there, Jimmy Johnson and Roger Whirley,
they're all in the Hall of Fame. You're the only one that's not
highlighted that's a cornerback from that nineteenseventies All Decade team. Does that bother
you or did you realize it?You know when you just said that,

(25:03):
I didn't know. I didn't know, and it's you know what, that's
the beauty of you Gosh. Ilove that. But I think when I
think it was Tom Jackson. Butanyway, we talk about not all the
time now, but just through theyears when we talk and the same thing
with Bob's Winston and everybody, andwhen we talk about games and this and
that, and one of the thingsthat I feel so good about that like,

(25:23):
this is my hall of fame moment, is when my teammates knew they
could count on me, like juststories that we tell, and that was
my hall of fame is you know, my teammates they know they could count
on me, like sometimes you know, I may not get it one hundred
percent, right, but I'm givingeverything I got. And I think that's

(25:44):
the same thing with Randy and Tom. Yah, I knew I could count
on you know, And that's mypleasure. That's why I get my INDI
that's what matters the most. That'syour bust at Canton. Yeah, in
all honesty, that that's wow,that's kind of that's very admirable because there's
a lot of people who will havea chip on their shoulder and think,
man, all these other guys arein there and not me. And again
I go back to the stats.Had you had more thrown your way,

(26:07):
yeah, if I would have hadmore interceptions more And so if that's what
they're looking for, they're not lookingat the right thing. Because you were
an absolutely incredible player. There's areason why you're on that All Decade team,
and I think you should be inthe Hall of Fame. But that's
me. Well, you know,there was in my Hall of Fame.
I can't think of what year itwas. I think it was nineteen eighty
three. In some of these seasonsthat I'd be like, I'm just doing

(26:30):
my job, and then that oneyear, I said, you know what,
I think I'm gonna just be alittle more I guess you would say,
not reckless, but I'm just goingto take more chances. I'm going
to go for some minisceptions. Likepeople that was your best season for pick
said six, right six, Butit wasn't my best year. It was
interesting. It was stat wise agreat year, but I didn't play as

(26:55):
well because I took some chances.I probably gave up touchdowns. I'm probably
you know, I like ittistically,Oh my god, sticks in your snaps.
I said, I'm never doing thatagain. What an interesting concept,
and it makes a lot of sensebecause if you're just going for the stats,
then you might have something that youmess up on elsewhere, right,
because you're not doing probably what youshould be doing. I wasn't making the

(27:17):
tackles I should have made, Iwasn't playing that taking chances, giving up
stuff that I prob but I hadto prove to myself, I guess which
way is better. Let me justtry this. I was like, I
don't like that way. I'm notdoing my teammates a service when it's third
and eight and I'm going for apick and they get first down, Like,
nah, that's that's not fair tomy teammates. We talked about the

(27:38):
two Super Bowls twelve and twenty one, both of them losses. Unfortunately,
what did you learn from those andhow did wins and losses affect you?
Devastating as far as disappointment that youget from that, but in the big
picture, it was a validation ofreally what a good team you had,

(28:00):
like even though you didn't win thatgame. To be there and have everybody,
I guess appreciate or at least Ihave to acknowledge that, yeah,
that team's pretty good. I thinkit's kind of a two sided monster,
like, yeah, we're in thesuper Bowl. But it's so depressing because
you don't have anything to do untilsix months, can't prove yourself again,

(28:22):
so you got to keep chewing onthat for it makes it more depressing.
I'm just telling the truth. Ohno, no, it's true. That's
hard to me because it's it's thebiggest climb up and the biggest climax there
is. And then when you don'tget that prize and all the other teams
colored confetti is flying all around andyou're standing there going really really, it's

(28:45):
hard. It's no game next week. You can't say, oh, yeah,
let me go. You got tochew on it for six months.
While Yeah, you retire after SuperBowl twenty one, along with Tom Jackson
and Steve Fully all three of youretire at the same time. How did
you know it was time to retire, Louis Well, I know a year
before or maybe somewhere around it.No specific day, but I started thinking

(29:08):
about I've seen friends, other peoplein the league everywhere. Nobody can make
it perfect. Yeah, some peopleretired too early. Some people retire too
late. Some people should have retiredyears, you know, like exactly,
here's your perfect time. I didn'twant. I said, well, if
I'm gonna make a mistake, I'drather retire too early than too late.

(29:30):
Yeah. Absolutely. So I justsaid, you know what, this is
gonna be my last year, Likethat's it, like and you just knew
it. I just knew it.I was like, you know what,
twelve is a good number. Ididn't like thirteen, and so I just
said twelve. Good years. SuperBowl twelve a lot of years. Oh,
I mean, now you think back, you quadrupled the typical life of

(29:52):
an NFL player. Yeah. Yeah. The thing about it, I remember
just a lot of people say,oh yeah, if you look at it,
they don't up anymore. But whenteams were held up and then break
the hug, I go all theway out there by myself. But you
got the linebackers right next to you, the other you got the defensive line
is there, or the safety side, but the corners are way out there

(30:12):
by themselves. You're on your ownisland, and everybody sees everything. It's
not like you could be inside inthere with the linebackers and stuff and miss
something and somebody. But if you'rea corner, everybody is very exposed.
Yeah. So I just kind offelt like, you know what, not
only is twelve years a long career, but you're magnified and I felt good

(30:36):
about I didn't have anything to beembarrassed by, so let me just pack
my stuff up. Did it onyour own terms? Yeah, which is
very commendable because you do see someplayers where they'll start to slip, and
that happens with age and ability andthings like that, and then it becomes
you don't want to be embarrassed,like you said, you want to be
able to call your own shots there. So what do you do after retirement?

(30:59):
I know you did a lot ofteaching and coaching. Did that happen
right away? Well, as soonas I retired, I went right back
to school because I didn't have mybachelor's degree. I went to Santieche State,
but I didn't I was about mea little less than a year from
graduation, okay, because I wasplaying. I wasn't sure if I was
gonna be drafted or not. Ididn't even think about that. I saw

(31:19):
I was coming back to school thenext year and get my degree. But
then you know, I started playing, So anyway, twelve years later.
Yeah, twelve years right, ButI already had in my mind as soon
as I get done with football,I'm going back to school to get my
degree. So I actually went touniversity and Denver got my business management degree.
I went two straight years after thatfull time student at DU and got

(31:41):
my bachelors in eighty nine. BecauseI retired in eighty seven, so I'm
a eighty nine, Wow do yougraduate? So I went back for two
years and then I started doing somebusiness. I worked in the county at
this hotel over there on Parker World, and then I started this kind of
business and then I was thinking,this ain't no fun, you know.

(32:02):
So I started coaching high school footballLady's High School with Larry Tarbor, and
that's when we kind of figured outthat in order to coach, which is
what I wanted to do, youkind of got to be in the building
and you got to be So Iwent back and got my teaching certification and
started teaching. And that's what gotme in and teaching, and then I

(32:22):
just retired this year twenty eight yearsof teaching. So that's awesome, Louis,
And what what did you teach?Initially my first now this is really
bilingual math and social studies at GrantMiddle School. After my very first year
bilingual math. Do you speak Spanisha little bit? But math is math
like or number is seven plus three? I like, it doesn't, So

(32:47):
it wasn't as I guess you wouldsay if I was teaching Spanish or you
know, some kind of science whereyou got but math that's pretty stand yes,
okay, but I do speak alittle Espanol. And then I started
teaching pe the following year at MartinLuther King Middle School, I taught specially
for a year, I taught socialstudies, health and I think that's it.

(33:15):
What a gift for you to giveyourself in that manner as a teacher
and a coach for twenty eight years. I bet the kids loved you.
No, they did because I wasmean. I can't imagine you were mean
in no way. Well when peoplesay that, I say, no,
I'm not mean. I'm just strict. But I have I mean a lot

(33:37):
of kids that I run into sinceI still live here in the area,
so you know kids that I've taught, I run into them. At seven,
eleven and thirteen supers or them allor whatever. They appreciate it more
now after they're older than at themoment. I wish I had listened to
you, and you know, andso I know that they don't like it

(34:00):
at the time, just like raisingkids, they don't like you telling them
it's bedtime. But in the longrun, it like I'm doing what's best
for you. So I enjoyed it, and the kids, some of them
enjoyed and appreciate it, but alot of them they don't realize it until
later. Absolutely. So your yearof true retirement, what's that been like?
Not quite a year yet, right, No, not quite a year.

(34:21):
It's been a blessing. I toldmyself I was gonna take at least
a year off and then decided togo back and teach it and do something
else, get the job, whatever. But right now I just kind of
traveling. I have a daughter inDallas, a daughter in Seattle, and
my son's here, and I gotother relatives. I grew up in California,
and I got brothers and sisters.I got grandkids. I do have
four grands that's awesome. My oldestdaughter has three and my younger daughter has

(34:45):
one. So four hours together,but you know, go visit it them,
go camping, travel around. Iwent up to the Loose, Minnesota
because my daughter was doing a eighteenmonth thing up there, so I went
up and visiting. So basically justgoing around, visiting, doing stuff.
I'm kind of a runner. Ilike to go to a podcast doing podcasts,
which is my favorite thing to do. Now you're going to be on

(35:07):
everybody's podcast and be like, oh, Louis's available. I told you this
is my first podcast. You know, would you say you're still a runner?
Yeah, try to get it foryou. You know, two or
three days a week or every otherday. You're in great shape. It
seems like your body held up fortwelve years of the NFL. Well,
you know, I think when Istarted, and I think, you know,

(35:27):
I don't have any scientific evidence toback this up, but I started
running. I told you when itran track when out third fourth grade,
and I've been running ever since.I'm kind of like Forrest Gump. I
didn't think you are Forrest Gump,but I was like, I just started
running. Like even now, Ijust run because it makes me feel good.

(35:50):
Really, yes, I get it, and so that's what I do.
I just kind of I don't likestress, and I don't like issues.
I don't like drama. I tryto avoid that at all costs.
And this last year has been veryrelaxing. Oh good for you. Well,
you just seem Louis. You seemhappy, easy going, and I
just it's fun to be around you. I can see why your teammates loved
you and and they knew they couldcount on you. It was funny.

(36:14):
I want to bring up one thingthat Barney Chavas said at the end of
his speech, because he turned aroundand he said, if you're not wrong,
your louis right. Isn't that whathe's saying. Well, he used
to say that all the time.Okay, you know, it's like a
practice or something we do. Ifyou're not wrong? What right? Everybody
say it? You know, becauseand he messed with me. You know

(36:37):
that. I can feel you blushingwhen he pointed you out in front of
those eight hundred people. God,I was just sitting here minding my own
buusness and now you're going anyway.But yeah, that's his So he did
that in practice all the time,games and stuff. Okay, it's a
compliment really from him. Oh yeah, yeah, And so it's okay,
I'm right if you're not wrong,Louis, I said, oh God,

(37:01):
Bornie, don't do this to me. You're like right, oh, Louis,
Okay. So one last question foryou. You had kind of an
interesting, crazy start to your athleticcareer, but didn't seem like you were
deterred. Even though you thought youwere done with football. It got brought

(37:21):
back up to you and you wentout for the football team at San Jose
State. You've coached a ton.What do you tell people kids when they
have that kind of that rough momentof a down to try and keep moving,
because look at where it went foryou. You didn't even think about
playing football, and you have atwelve year NFL career. Yeah, it's
a real quickly. Just really,when I was in high school, you

(37:44):
used to have an off period andyou had to go to study hall.
Instead of going to study hall,you could pick to be a clerical helper
in office and work at the library, where I chose to work in the
library. And so every day duringthe off period, I have to go
to the library and we file booksaway, check out stuff whatever. But
anyway, one day, the librarianand it's about four or five of us

(38:05):
in there, gave us some books. Okay, you guys go file these
away, because that was our dude. So we went and file them away
and came back. We're all sittingthere. Well, little do we know,
they had taken those five books andwent and checked to see if we
had filed them away in the Deweydecimal system. Yes, I know the
Dewey decimal system. And you hadto put them in the right place.
Well, they came back. Itwas five of us, me and another

(38:28):
girl. They said, we foundevery one of your books. You guys
put them in the right place.That's awesome. And the rest of you
over here, we can't even findyour books, like we don't know.
And so I thought about that andthe thing sometimes when you don't even think
anybody's watching your people don't even careif you do the right thing, because
something would have happened. They wouldhave said, well, let me recommend
louis right. And this other girlI can't remember her name, because they're

(38:52):
going to handle their business. ButI didn't even know I was had them
with my businesses. You just didwhat you were supposed to spos to do.
And I think that that's been kindof something I try to teach to
students and players. Just do thebest you can all the time, not
taking place off. Or do thebest you can all the time. You'll

(39:12):
get your rewards and do the rightthing. Yeah, and it's so simple
to do the right thing. It'sso easy, so fair easy. It's
really a lot harder sometimes to notdo the right thing. Oh god,
is you got to actually work atthat? Yeah, I got plan,
But doing the right thing is,like you said, it's easy. Louis,
this has been so much fun.Did you enjoy your first podcast?
I did, and you were great. You kind of like kind of like

(39:35):
the breadcrumbs. You laughed like handselI just followed the bread. So thank
you very much. Well, thankyou. This was great. And uh,
I hope we get to see youa lot more at the Color of
Sports Hall of Fame dinners. Thatwas a lot of fun sitting. Meanwhile,
just real quick, you and youand Dave loving doing a great job
because you guys floated so smoothly.He's the master. I try and learn

(39:55):
from him. He's the best ofall this stuff. He's a good guy.
He is he is well and hopefullywe'll see you around a Broncos season
and just love catching up with you. Appreciate everything you've done. Glad you're
still here in town and you've madea really, really good impression on people,
not only from your playing career,but obviously you've affected so many more
with your teaching career. So enjoyretirement. Ah Hi, thank you,

(40:16):
Susie, thanks for even having me. I'm honored absolutely Thanks. Okay,
how amazing was that? I cannotbelieve that was his first podcast? Thank
you, Louie. New episodes ofCut, Traded, Fired, Retired are
released weekly on Tuesdays. Please likeand auto download this podcast wherever you listen
to podcasts and keep up on newreleases by following on Twitter and Instagram at

(40:37):
ctf our podcast and also on thewebsite ctfropodcast dot com. I'm your host,
Susie Wargin. Thanks for taking thetime to listen and to share this
podcast. Until the next episode,please be careful, be safe, and
be kind. Take care
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