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Exclusive Interview with Bears Legend, #46 Doug Plank

Plank_medium Last week I had the fortunate opportunity to ask former Ohio State Buckeye great and Chicago Bears legend Doug Plank a few questions about the recent tumultuous activity at his Alma mater.  I also asked him some questions about the Bears and the NFL. 

For part one of my interview focusing on the Buckeyes and college football click here (link will pop).  In this, part two of my interview, he answered some NFL questions.

Plank was a volunteer assistant coach at at Ohio State under Jim Tressel in 2010, and before that, in 2009, he was an assistant coach for the New York Jets under Rex Ryan.  Plank is currently a member of the NSCA scouting team.  He played all 8 of his NFL seasons in Chicago, and all Bears fans should know his historical relevance in the famed 46 Defense created by former Bears defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan.  The "46" in the 46 Defense is named for Plank's uniform number.  There wasn't a harder hitting safety that played the game.

WCG - What do you think about the recent rules effecting defensive players, do you think it will limit their aggressiveness?

Doug Plank - The NFL is attempting to eliminate injuries when possible. Retired players are showing the effect of playing multiple years with rules and treatment options that were hazardous to their bodies. The concussion is being highly publicized for the damaging effect it has long term on brain tissue. Injection therapy, the practice of injecting and draining fluids and medication, has been eliminated from college and pro football which caused joint deterioration. The new rules are attempting to change hits and collisions that result in injuries. With a propensity of  illegal hitting patterns employed by certain players in the upcoming season, coaches and organizations are now subject to fines and suspensions. I think this new policy will have a significant impact on contact and will change the way defenders hit receivers and running backs.

WCG - Who are some of the NFL players you enjoy watching today?

DP - I really enjoy watching every aspect of a football game. I played special teams and defense in college and pros. I still admire the skill of Peyton Manning, Matt Ryan, and Michael Vick. I like watching players that play together and function as a team with enthusiasm and hustle. I admire the effort of Ray Lewis, the skill of Larry Fitzgerald, and the athletic ability of Mike Vick.

WCG - When you played, who were some offensive players you respected?

DP - During my career, I respected Earl Campbell, Lynn Swann, Terry Bradshaw, Archie Manning, Joe Namath, Bob Griese, and Larry Csonka. There were others , but, these guys really understood the game and made a difference.

And one final question that touches on both his Ohio State playing days and his Chicago Bears career.

WCG - Bears fans love talking about coaches with "fire", and you played for Woody Hayes at Ohio State, and Mike Ditka and Buddy Ryan in Chicago, of the three, who was the most fiery?

DP - Without a doubt, the most fiery coach was Woody Hayes. His speeches would start slow and keep building. He would become engrossed in the speech and eventually hit something or break something. He definitely believed in his topics. He loved the United States of America and the people that defended our country. Mike Ditka was a great communicator and was responsible for keeping the players and coaches focused on winning games and becoming champions. Buddy Ryan was innovative and had the ability to make his players play beyond their physical ability. He was a master sergeant in the Army and he was a master sergeant in planning the attack on opposing defenses.

Thanks to Doug Plank for taking some of his time to answer a few questions.  For part 1 to this exclusive interview focused more on the current Ohio State situation click here.