I recall the lottery as if it were yesterday. I was with a number of my football teammates at UCLA. At that time, it had already been determined that anybody in the first 120 would be drafted. When number 68 came up for my birthday, my heart sank, because I already knew (from scouts and agents) that I was going to be drafted in the upcoming NFL football draft in April, 1970.
I was drafted in the fifth round by the Minnesota Vikings but then traded to the Buffalo Bills. I was able to delay the military draft process until late that year by switching my draft board from Oakland to Buffalo. By the time I got my papers to report for the military physical I had already broken my wrist in a game, and so I was given a I-Y. I had also gotten married.
The next year in mid-December my I-Y was up and sure enough my draft papers showed up again. I had the option of joining the National Guard in Buffalo, or taking my military physical. I decided to take the physical, which I failed due to a shoulder injury that I had incurred in 1967 playing in the UCLA–Penn State game. I found it ironic that I failed my military physical on a Thursday and ran down the field to cover kickoffs in the Buffalo Bills–Kansas City Chiefs game on Sunday. I was told later that they didn’t want to risk some sort of lifetime disability payment if I somehow got injured in the military as a result of my bad shoulder.
As I look back now, and when I look in the mirror, I am thankful for the large bump on my right shoulder. Especially how the entire Vietnam war situation ended up. I feel bad for all those that died in that terrible war.