I never heard of Charles Philyaw until a few weeks ago, when I stumbled on this fine series by Pat Toomay, a veteran DE who found himself on the 1977 Oakland Raiders. Toomay relates a bunch of stories about his Raider teammate, Charles Philyaw. Apparently the guy possessed the body of a giant but the brain of a small child. Kind of like the Incredible Hulk. Well, maybe more like the Fridge; the goofy personality, the gargantuan size. But while the Fridge was actually a pretty decent player, Philaw couldn’t morph his superhuman strength into consistent football excellence. His NFL career lasted only 4 years but the dude left his mark. Here’s everything I could find on him. (Most of it’s from Toomay’s series. The last part’s from a book I can’t find the link for).
---At the recent weigh-in, Charlie had stepped up on the scale wearing one of those Rommell greatcoats that were all the rage. Charlie had a weight clause in his contract, so he was upset when the scale showed him to be a few pounds over, since it meant he would be fined. "You big dummy," said center Dave Dalby. "Take off your coat!" Charlie, stepping off the scale, took off his coat, slung it over his arm, stepped back up. "It's still the same!" he bellowed.
---After being drafted, Charlie was flush with bonus cash, so he bought a Lincoln Mark IV. At 6-9, however, Charlie couldn't fit into the car unless the moon roof was open. A day or so after making the purchase, Charlie pulled into the Raiders fieldhouse, his head poking out of the hole, eyes peering over the roof, as he negotiated the lot. It was a cloudy day and as Charlie parked, it started to rain. Yelping, Charlie reached for the instrument panel, clicked a switch. As the moon roof started to close, it caught Charlie by the neck, pinning him between the sliding panel and the edge of the roof. "Arrgghh!" he shrieked. After extricating himself, Charlie was blustering about the car as he walked into the locker room. "It just don't fit me," he complained to Rowe. "Well, why did you buy it?" Dave asked. Charlie gave him a look. "It were a good deal!"
---The stories continued to pour out. How Charlie locked his keys in the car with the headlights on and the motor running. Or the time he forgot his game shoes and asked Cliff Branch if he had an extra pair. "Sure, Charlie," said Cliff, who wore size nines. "What size you wear?" "Seventeens."
---During one game, the button on the Gatorade bucket got stuck and Charlie, panic stricken, stood there filling up cup after cup until somebody rescued him by tipping the vat and stopping the flow. Then there was the time Charlie got hurt and needed an X-ray. Trainer George Anderson told him where to go, but the directions were complicated. "Whoa, whoa, whoa," Charlie said. "Say it again." George repeated the directions a second time, then a third, when Charlie still seemed unsure. "Got it?" George asked. "I think so," Charlie said. "But where am I now?"
---Your mentioning Mark van Eeghen calls to mind an anecdote from Madden's first book, in which a not-too-bright defensive end named Charles Philyaw went to Madden and asked to have his first name AND his last name on the back of his jersey. "But we don't do that," Madden replied. "Yes, you do," said Philyaw, pointing. "See? VAN Eeghen." Link
---Phil Villapiano: “There are so many Charles Philyaw stories from his rookie year. He was a big defensive end, 6-7, supposed to be the next Bubba Smith. I loved that guy — just a big, beautiful, nice person. But was he ever on the wrong team with the Raiders. The veterans really took advantage of him. … One time during practice he mentioned that he was getting hungry. Our fullback, Pete Banaszak, told him to go see George Blanda, that ol’ Blanda was in charge of getting all the sandwiches. Imagine — a rookie asking a 25-year veteran to go get him a sandwich. Blanda really snapped at him. ‘Get the !#%& outta here, you dumb SOB!’” Link
---“I heard Charles Philyaw stories. He apparently came to camp one year riding in his car, which was being towed. It had supposedly been towed over a hundred miles. “Charles, what happened?” someone asked. “Oh, I ran out of gas and I wanted to get here on time,” Philyaw replied. And teammates asked, “What’s with the tow truck?” “Well, I didn’t have any money for gas.” They looked at him and asked, “Well, how’d you get the tow truck?” “Oh, I had a credit card,” he replied.