Thursday, June 28, 2007

Charles Philyaw

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.

20 comments:

Mike said...

I happened to be at TSU with "9" as we called him. He was asked which class was he going to by a lady friend across the street. He replied, "some kind of ology". The class was kinesiology..He couldn't pronounce it....True Story

Mauberly said...

I taught Charlie at TSU. He was a very nice fellow, but he needed help. He turned in his work, and I passed him.

I was very happy when Oakland won in 1976, because of what it would have meant to him.

I hope he is all right today; I really liked him. He was a true gentle giant.

My best to Mike who may have been also in my class.

Anonymous said...

I actually just happened to meet Charles. He is not in medically sound condition. He needs serious attention, but he maintains his gentle giant personna.

Anonymous said...

I just recently delivered some appliances to his home in Shreveport...I was totally unaware of the name, but when he opened the door, it was quite evident that he was a former athlete. I actually sat and had a chat with him for awhile and discovered that he never got over the fact that he never reached his full potential as a pro athlete because of the major injuries.
He was recovering from neck surgery at the time when I met him.
He is a real nice guy I must say!

Anonymous said...

Crack head ,mean junky and disrespectful. Need all the help to clean his nasty ass house. Pray for this fool. Broke ass nigger better watch his mouth or your gonna lose your teeth talking crazy to peoplethat try to help his triflin ass. Crack kills the brain.

Anonymous said...

I had the pleasure of doing some home health care work for Mr. Philyaw! He is super nice and loves to talk. I wish I could have seen him play :)

Anonymous said...

Very nice guy. Enjoyed working with him.

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Anonymous said...

If you know people need help then why would u say what you said, if you dont have a heart of helping then you shouldnt help at all.

jthomps said...

I happened to meet Charles Philyaw after the Saints vs. Raiders pre-season game at the Superdome tonight. We were leaving the game and there was a hulk of a man sitting by one of the exists who I heard say "Would your boys like to see a real Superbowl ring?" as we passed.

We walked over and he introduced himself as Charles Philyaw, former Defensive End for the Raiders in 76-77. He had driven down from Shreveport to see the Raiders play the Saints.

It would have been easy to walk right past him and pay no attention to him. I'm so glad we stopped to talk to him as you could tell that he loved football and loved the Raiders as he relived his football glory days through his stories.

I doubt that our encounter tonight will be a memorable moment in his life, but it sure was for us.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anonymous April 8, 2011 at 9:29 AM,
Very mean, ugly, low class and racist things you said about Charles, I have known him since 4th grade and you will never me a nicer human being, much more than I can say for you and what spawned you.

Anonymous said...

Very nice fellow..met him during the 1990's He had a loan account with a company that I worked for. It was evident he was once a football player because of his size. Very nice guy but you could tell that he had some what I saw as mild mental challenges. He was working for a local furniture store. I think that he was working on getting his NFL pension. I saw him again yesterday 1/6/15....felt sorry for him ..he is now on a cane and was dressed shabbily ..also other physical problems..but still the same gentle giant that I met and respected some fifteen plus years ago. I just hate that he didn't have the mind to handle his business affairs or have someone to guide him during his pro days. I am sure that he made some money while he played but just didn't manage it correctly. he says he is hoping to get money from the class action suit filed for players with concussions. I hope that he gets something that will help him and gets someone to help guide him and manage his money.its a shame how many pro athletes and even vets who have been used up and take advantage of.

steve said...

Back then players didn't get much, especially defensive ends and he only played 4 years. So I am sure that didn't last long but I would have loved to met him. He sounds like a hell of a guy. I wish the best for him and hope there is brighter days ahead for him. It's is funny though how everyone who has meet him has nothing but nice things to say but 1 tough guy that talks all kinds of trash over the computer on a site that Charles probably has no idea about talks shit just to sound tough then stays anonymous, lol. You got to love these uneducated Internet hoodlums, lol and he calls him a nigger. When he is the only one that sounds ignorant on this whole page.

steve said...

But thank you for the post. I got an autographed photo of him that I bought on ebay and was wondering what ever happened to the guy or why he stopped playing after only 4 years. He played pretty good as far as what my pops said. My dad had season tickets to the raiders throughout the 70's and the 49ers from the 70's to the 90's but then got to expensive so we had to let them go

Anonymous said...

I met Charles in 1973. I was a freshman at TSU. I helped Charles with his classwork sometimes. Charles knew he would go pro. I remember the day He received his confirmation. Charles was always a very nice and soft spoken gentleman. Just a big teddy bear. Respectful towards everyone. His first major purchase was a new home for his Mother. In moving back to Shreveport from San Diego, he came through Houston and we met for dinner. He shared with me the trickery experienced. He talked about the numbing injections he received for his knees before playing a game. There were the predatory relatives and friends he thought he could trust. One relative asked him to provide the monies for a food establishment. Charles provided the funds and when he came to Houston to see the business, it did not exist. He expressed his disappointment and questioned the actions. He told me other stories of helping people and not being able to say "no." Charles was thankful he purchased the home for his Mother. Near the end of dinner Charles said "If you had been my wife, you would have made everything alright." I was glad to come across this sight. I hope my old friend is doing well.

Anonymous said...

I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Charles is doing well and he is the Gentle Giant everyone says he is. I did not know who he was when I fist met him we talked about previous jobs and he told me after he retired he moved back home and worked has a substitute teacher and other odd jobs then he asked me if I wanted to see a real Super Bowl ring I said sure were did you get it (I assumed it was a collectors edition that you can buy)When he told me it was his and he earned it I was baffled he showed me the ring and I could hardly believe what I seen. This man had never mentionined he was a professional football player. I was humbled by his modesty he never bragged about his past glory days even when he recounted stories of the other players he was more appreciative of having the honor of playing along side of them. He is truley living life to the fullest and doesn't take a day for granted. I was truly blessed to have meet him today.

Anonymous said...

I met Charles last night in Bossier City. What a nice fellow. He gave me his card. He talked to me about me and didnt say a word about being a superbowl participant. We found out later from others who he was. He uses a cane and I had to help him up from his chair but he walked just fine once he got up. It was an honor to meet him.

Jack Culpepper said...

Just met him this afternoon shopping at Walmart in Shreveport. He was riding one of the electric carts and asked me to get something off the top shelf. I had to ask if he was a football player and he told me he was with the Raiders. We shook hands and his was twice the size of mine. We talked several minutes and he gave me one of his business cards. He is a real nice guy!

Unknown said...

Sometime in about 2010 - 2011 while on patrol and near the end of my shift,I happened upon Mr. Philyaw changing a flat on his Lincoln. I am a deputy sheriff in eastern Texas. Charles had broke his lug wrench in half! I finished changing his tire for him as I noticed he was having a little difficulty. This was in the wee hours of the morning and I was almost done anyway. Mr.Philyaw is one of the nicest persons I have ever encountered on or off duty. I couldn't hell but notice that big ol ring so I asked him about it. Sure enough, he pulls it off and hands it to me to look at. Awesome! Besides being a lifelong Cowboys fan, back in those days I was a Raider fan too. Imagine that, I got to meet King Kong on the side of the road one night! Great guy and wish the best for him.