Chicago Blitz used a wide net, but a six-time Pro Bowler slipped through it

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My summer reading list has been greatly enhanced by a book that officially debuts in September. It’s the latest from Jeff Pearlman, dubbed Football For A Buck: The Crazy Rise And Crazier Demise Of The USFL.

It’s the perfect companion for the annual sliver of slow time in the NFL, allowing me to be consistently on the lookout for anecdotes that may be relevant here.

Here’s one to consider: The Chicago Blitz under legendary head coach George Allen embarked on an aggressive effort to find players, signing 258 after kicking tires on a whopping 3,148. One of the players who received a “no thanks” from the Blitz was a linebacker named Karl Mecklenburg.

Yes, he’s the same Karl Mecklenburg who went on to become a six-time Pro Bowler and Hall of Fame semifinalist with the Broncos.

Making the whiff on Mecklenburg even more stunning is the fact that the team’s desperation to find competent players included visiting a prison to consider an inmate eligible for work release who wrote to the team, “I love football. I can play.” And the Blitz actually signed a schlub named Albert C. Lynch, a five-eight, 185-pound would-be linebacker who ran a molassesesque 5.7-second 40 and whose only redeeming quality was noticing during the tryout that the chosen few were being directed to then-25-year-old Bruce Allen to sign a contract.

If only Meckenburg had been quite as observant, the Blitz may have had a linebacker much, much better than Albert C. Lynch.

18 responses to “Chicago Blitz used a wide net, but a six-time Pro Bowler slipped through it

  1. Crazy demise of the USFL = Trump killed it

    Went head to head with the NFL, hoping they would expand the league and take his NJ Generals on as an expansion team. NFL said no and Trump has never forgotten…..hence the motivation for his tweets about the players. Its not about the flag or the military, thats just what he is saying to fire up the poeple. Its really about what happened 30 years ago. You’re being played.

  2. The Blitz! I was one of the 3,147 tires that were kicked!! Remember it like it was yesterday…hadn’t played football since 9th grade but wanted to run around on Soldier’s Field. So I went. Ran a few 40s; did a series of stretches; ran some routes (apparently the DB covering me must of hit me cause all I remember about my first route is getting up off the turf); fielded punts (punt returners are nuts!). Best of all was standing with George Allen near the end zone watching kicker boom kick-offs into the end zone. Coach Allen said to us “let’s see if he can kick if he knows I’m watching”. So he yells to the kicker “you using a college tee?” and the kicker said yes. Next kick…shank! next kick…Shank!
    I also called Bruce Allen pretending to be the agent for a Derwin Tucker who played at Illinois and LA Rams. The ploy was to get him a contract, which did not work. I came away from that day with a T-shirt and the memory of lifetime.

  3. @djrando7 says:
    Karl should be in the hall.
    ====================================================================
    Absolutely…give him T.O.s jacket!

  4. joker65 says:
    July 3, 2018 at 9:04 am
    Crazy demise of the USFL = Trump killed it

    Get your damn politics out of here please.
    Trump BUILT it and contributed to the meteoric rise.
    It was the crazy lavish spending by ALL OWNERS on top athletes and the hope they could compete with the NFL that killed it.

    And BTW, the court ruled that the NFL DID “collude” to keep the NFL a monopoly and the USFL won that lawsuit. But the court ruled the lavish spending was the reason for financial failure so only awarded them 1$.

    Why do I suspect based on your whiney post that you are ALL FOR a court ruling that the NFL “COLLUDED” against Kaepernick? And want to award him millions?

    Hypocritical much?

  5. @2ruefan

    Just because I mention Trump doesn’t mean its political, it was just a statement of what happened. And yeah, it was his major push to go head to head with the NFL. The other owners went along with it because, if nothing else, Trump can sell. And his motivation is exactly as I described, unless you want to enlighten me as to another reason as to why he did it.

    Not sure where I whined in that post. Maybe I struck a nerve when I said you were getting played?
    As for Kaepernick, I don’t care either way. Never have. But way to make a jump to that.

  6. Partisan commentary is wonderful, but at least get your facts right. Only 2 teams (Jax and Tampa) averaged over 40,000 fans a game during their existence. The league had contracted by 4 teams prior to Trump’s fight to save it/profit/leverage his position unsuccessfully The team that won the first USFL championship (Michigan) wasn’t even in the league 2 years later. And the LA Express with some guy named Steve Young drew 7,000 fans a game and was in such bad financial position that the league had to pay to run the team the entire season. But sure…if it fits your narrative, Trump is responsible. Those kids trapped in cave in Thailand are Trump’s fault as well along with the Idaho stabbing and Russian victory on penalty kicks in World Cup.

    joker65 says:
    July 3, 2018 at 9:04 am
    Crazy demise of the USFL = Trump killed it

    Went head to head with the NFL, hoping they would expand the league and take his NJ Generals on as an expansion team. NFL said no and Trump has never forgotten…..hence the motivation for his tweets about the players. Its not about the flag or the military, thats just what he is saying to fire up the poeple. Its really about what happened 30 years ago. You’re being played.

  7. joker65 says:
    July 3, 2018 at 9:04 am
    Crazy demise of the USFL = Trump killed it

    Went head to head with the NFL, hoping they would expand the league and take his NJ Generals on as an expansion team. NFL said no and Trump has never forgotten…..hence the motivation for his tweets about the players. Its not about the flag or the military, thats just what he is saying to fire up the poeple. Its really about what happened 30 years ago. You’re being played.

    —————————-

    Yes, being played. It’s absolutely amazing how people can’t see through this man’s con game. But so long as we’re deporting & demoralizing people of color I guess we’re cool with it.

  8. 2ruefan says:
    July 3, 2018 at 10:02 am
    joker65 says:
    July 3, 2018 at 9:04 am
    Crazy demise of the USFL = Trump killed it

    Get your damn politics out of here please.
    Trump BUILT it and contributed to the meteoric rise.
    It was the crazy lavish spending by ALL OWNERS on top athletes and the hope they could compete with the NFL that killed it.

    And BTW, the court ruled that the NFL DID “collude” to keep the NFL a monopoly and the USFL won that lawsuit. But the court ruled the lavish spending was the reason for financial failure so only awarded them 1$.

    Why do I suspect based on your whiney post that you are ALL FOR a court ruling that the NFL “COLLUDED” against Kaepernick? And want to award him millions?

    Hypocritical much?
    ——————–

    Haha look at this snowflake!

    Trump DID NOT build the USFL. David Dixon built it. His plan was not to build a league full of stars. Trump didn’t even buy the Generals until after the first season, after all the TV deals were in place. And Trump’s team (before he bought them though) is the one who gave the largest contract to Herschel Walker. But don’t let facts get in the way of a good rant.

    “The league’s biggest splash—the signing of Herschel Walker, a three time All-American and the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner—has been considered in hindsight to have foreshadowed the league’s demise.[citation needed] Like the NFL, the USFL barred underclassmen from signing. However, league officials were certain that this rule would never stand up in court, so they allowed Walker to sign with the New Jersey Generals. ”

    “It only got worse in 1984 with the arrival of free spending financial pacesetters Oldenburg and Trump.”

    There’s this thing called the internet. Easy to find facts there.

  9. Only 3 players in NFL history have at least 1000 tackles, 75 sacks and 5 interceptions.
    1) Lawrence Taylor
    2) Ricky Jackson
    3) Karl Mecklenburg

  10. joker65 says:
    July 3, 2018 at 9:04 am

    Crazy demise of the USFL = Trump killed it

    Went head to head with the NFL, hoping they would expand the league and take his NJ Generals on as an expansion team. NFL said no and Trump has never forgotten…..hence the motivation for his tweets about the players. Its not about the flag or the military, thats just what he is saying to fire up the poeple. Its really about what happened 30 years ago. You’re being played.

    75 54 Rate This

    ———————————————–

    I say this in the nicest way possible…..You really need to get a life.

  11. Partisan commentary is wonderful, but at least get your facts right. Only 2 teams (Jax and Tampa) averaged over 40,000 fans a game during their existence. The league had contracted by 4 teams prior to Trump’s fight to save it/profit/leverage his position unsuccessfully The team that won the first USFL championship (Michigan) wasn’t even in the league 2 years later. And the LA Express with some guy named Steve Young drew 7,000 fans a game and was in such bad financial position that the league had to pay to run the team the entire season. But sure…if it fits your narrative, Trump is responsible. Those kids trapped in cave in Thailand are Trump’s fault as well along with the Idaho stabbing and Russian victory on penalty kicks in World Cup.
    ____

    LOL! Okay, so at the very least, just based on the info you are throwing up here, he invested heavily in complete flop of a league and couldn’t make a go of it. Is that the argument you want to go with? That he made a really lousy business decision?

  12. Irish Hoodlum says:
    July 3, 2018 at 11:32 am
    joker65 says:
    July 3, 2018 at 9:04 am

    Crazy demise of the USFL = Trump killed it

    Went head to head with the NFL, hoping they would expand the league and take his NJ Generals on as an expansion team. NFL said no and Trump has never forgotten…..hence the motivation for his tweets about the players. Its not about the flag or the military, thats just what he is saying to fire up the poeple. Its really about what happened 30 years ago. You’re being played.

    75 54 Rate This

    ———————————————–

    I say this in the nicest way possible…..You really need to get a life.

    —–

    Thanks sport. I really value your opinion so I’ll take it under consideration.

  13. Savethebs…..You must have saved an awful lot of it. It’s overflowing now. The federal government is deporting criminals who invaded our nation. You unwisely and cruelly twist it to “people of color “. You know why? THEY’RE THE ONE’S WHO BROKE THE LAW!!! If you fly into JFK without a passport, you get sent back. Why shouldn’t you if you climb a fence without one? Build the wall!!!

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