AFC West: Houston Oilers
He knows there are a couple of generations of NFL fans who might not know who he is. But it doesn’t matter, because on Saturday Culp will officially become an NFL immortal when he is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Culp was a Senior Committee nominee.
Culp played for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1968-74. He went on to play seven seasons in Houston and two more in Detroit, but he became known as a dominant interior defensive lineman while with the Chiefs.
Culp, who won the NCAA heavyweight wrestling title while at Arizona State, was a unique player. In the Chiefs’ Super Bowl IV win against Minnesota, Hall of Fame coach Hank Stram put Culp over the center, which opened up plays for future Hall of Famers Buck Buchanan and Willie Lanier. Many people credit it for the beginning of the 3-4 defense.
At 67, Culp is a member of the Chiefs’ Hall of Fame, and he has close ties with the organization.
While the spotlight Saturday will be on NFL household names such as Warren Sapp, Cris Carter and Bill Parcells, Culp, who runs a car service in Austin, Texas, knows he will be a blast from the past when his son Chad presents him into the Canton, Ohio, museum.
“To me, it seems just yesterday,” Culp said in a July phone interview. “But it’s been four decades. That’s a long time. I’m just very grateful to get this honor. It crosses my mind at least once or twice a day. I realize what an honor it is, and it’s very exciting to know that it is finally coming.”
This is his last chance to gain election into the Canton, Ohio, museum. Really though, it's the first chance of election for the dominant defensive tackle who was a key part of the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl IV-winning team.
“I’ve never gotten this far before,” Culp said in a phone interview. “I’ve heard my name mentioned before, but I’ve never been this close before.”
Culp, 66, is among four finalists with ties to the AFC West. The others are Kansas City guard Will Shields, Raiders receiver Tim Brown and defensive tackle Warren Sapp, who finished his career in Oakland but is known more for his time in Tampa Bay. Along with Culp, Sapp is considered to have the best chance of election.
Now that he is on the cusp of gaining entry to the Hall, Culp admits he’s excited.
“It has not captured my every thought, but ever since I became a finalist, I’ve been thinking a lot about it,” Culp said. “It would be an honor to be part of so many great men in the special club. I’m just pleased to be part of this process.”
Culp, who operates a car service in Austin, Texas, would join a long list of Chiefs in the Hall of Fame; that, he said, is part of the excitement for him. Culp is part of the Chiefs’ Hall of Fame and he regularly participates in functions related to that.
“I am a Kansas City Chiefs fan,” said Culp, who noted he is fired up about the hiring of Andy Reid as coach. ”The Chiefs were a big part of my life.”
And Culp -- who went on to play seven seasons in Houston and two in Detroit -- was a big part of the Chiefs. At 6-foot-1, 265 pounds, Culp, who won the NCAA heavyweight wrestling title while at Arizona State, was a unique player. In the Chiefs’ Super Bowl IV win against Minnesota, Hall of Fame coach Hank Stram put Culp over the center and it opened up plays for future Hall of Famers Buck Buchanan and Willie Lanier. Many people credit it for the beginning of the 3-4 defense.
Saturday, Culp might be rewarded for being part of NFL history.
Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson
The reported assault case involving Oakland head coach Tom Cable and defensive assistant Randy Hanson is being investigated by Napa, Calif. police and has the NFL's attention.
However, altercations between two people on the same NFL team happen and probably more than the public knows.
I remember several years ago, while I was covering the Vikings (along with NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert) we were waiting to be allowed into Minnesota's locker room after a preseason game at the Metrodome. A huge ruckus was heard and a long delay ensued. Quarterback Daunte Culpepper and a little known rookie free agent tussled, knocking over some tables. Guess which player was cut shortly thereafter?
The point it, these things happen. The following is a list of some of the more memorable in-house physical disputes in the NFL. If you can recall any others, fill up the comment section:
Steve Smith attacks Ken Lucas: Smith, the Carolina star receiver, beat up Lucas, a cornerback, at training camp. Smith was suspended for two games by the team. Smith had two previous incidents in his career in which he assaulted a teammate.
Buddy Ryan and Kevin Gilbride: In 1993, Ryan was the defensive coordinator and Gilbride was the offensive coordinator in Houston. Ryan punched Gilbride on the sideline during a national broadcast.
Michael Westbrook and Stephen Davis: At Washington's camp in 1997, Westbrook, a receiver, attacked Davis, a running back, and beat him badly.
Kerry Collins and Norberto Davids-Garrido: In 1997, the Carolina teammates got into an argument at a bar during training camp and Davids-Garrido punched Collins.
Kenny Easley and Joe Vitt: Easley, the Seahawks' hard-hitting safety, knocked out the assistant coach with one punch after an argument in the early 1980s.
Shaun Smith and Brady Quinn: Late last season in Cleveland, Smith, a big defensive lineman, slugged Quinn, the quarterback.
Terdell Sands and Shane Lechler: Last season, on a flight home from Denver (after a win), the huge Sands hit Lechler, a punter.
Tom Bresnahan and Nick Nicolau: In 1989, the two Buffalo assistants had a huge brawl while watching game film that is still remembered around the league.