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5 Questions with 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee Ron Wolf

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Ron Wolf’s value to the AFL/NFL was recognized earlier this year when he was honored amongst the class of the 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees. Wolf enters the Hall of Fame under the ‘contributor’ tag that honors those who may have never suited up to play in the NFL, but their integral stamp on the game can not move forward without being recognized.

Wolf spent 38 seasons working under many different titles. He was a scout, player personnel director and executive vice president and general manager. The trademark of his career was the success that followed him during his stints with the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Jets and Green Bay Packers.

Football Insiders: Plenty of Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders played during your tenure. Who are some of the best you have seen?

Ron Wolf: My 24 seasons with the Raiders we had a lot of great players. Absolutely no question about that and two of the best were there last night (at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Dinner). That is Marcus Allen and Howie Long who are 1A and 1B not one and two, but 1A and 1B.

 

Football Insiders: Who are some of the players who you drafted or signed that played beyond your original expectations?

 

Ron Wolf: One comes to mind in Reggie Kinlaw, who played middle guard for us with the Raiders. Kenny Stabler was a second-round pick but everyone was saying a left-hander could never play professional football not at that position and he proved everybody wrong.

There are a lot of them, unfortunately I’ll miss some.

Guys like Adam Timmerman from the Packers. Dorsey Levens from the Packers. Donald Driver was a seventh-round pick is the leading receiver in the history of the Green Bay Packers. That’s a few.

 

Football Insiders: Can you talk about the beginning of your career in Oakland working alongside Al Davis?

 

Ron Wolf: I got the most perfect break a person could get when I started in 1963 with the Raiders. Al Davis would conduct a meeting and we had four coaches and that was the extent of our staff. Now I think they have 44 coaches.

Every night for three hours we would breakdown each position in the American Football League (AFL). There were only eight teams in the American Football League so about 264 players. But you could watch who the best left tackle was and watch who the poorest was and so on and so forth. I had a tremendous teacher.

 

Football Insiders: Is the perception that Al Davis loved speed over-exaggerated?

 

Ron Wolf: That wasn’t a perception that was a fact. Height, weight and speed were his mantra. He wanted guys who could run fast. Guys who were big. The other part was guys who could play.

 

Football Insiders: Does any player or players come to mind that are not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
Ron Wolf: There are so many guys that deserve to be here in my opinion. The one I don’t understand why he’s not in here is Bobby Dillon from the 50’s Packers…Because he set the record for interceptions. They played 14 games and they only threw the ball 15 to 16 times a game and this guy intercepted over 50 balls. The only safety to intercept more (during that era) was Emlen Tunnell and he played twice as long as Dillon.

I’ve been told having lived in the history book in Green Bay that Dillon is the only player that (Vince) Lombardi went after when he came in. Dillon announced his retirement and he (Lombardi) went to down to Texas to talk him out of it (retirement) and he did talk him out if it.


About Bo Marchionte

Bo Marchionte

Bo Marchionte is an NFL writer for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade. His background includes being staff for the Texas vs. The Nation All-Star game as a talent evaluator for player personnel along with an internship scouting with the Toronto Argonauts and Winnipeg Blue Bombers for the Canadian Football League. Bo’s draft background includes working for the NFL Draft Bible and currently owns and operates College2Pro.com. He has done radio spots on NBC, Fox Sports and ESPN and their affiliates in different markets around the country. Bo covers the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Panthers along with other colleges in the northeast.