Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 2021-06-11 05:12:04 –
The University of Oklahoma head coach Chuck Fairbanks may have been working on something when his junior tight-end Steve Zabel felt he should tackle instead of tackling.
“After the first four games, we were 1-3,” says Zabel. “Chuck Fairbanks called me in his office and said,” Steve, we proved we can’t beat people. Playing not only tight end but also defensive end, can’t win some games I want you to see if it is. ” For me it was a great transition. I played and punted in both ways, won the last six games in a row and won the Big Eight Championship. “
Only playing tight end in the senior season, Zabel recorded a painstaking hit with the Eagles, who was ranked 6th overall in the first round of the 1970 NFL Draft.
The year after making eight tight-end starts during his first season in Philadelphia was a flashback to his college days when Zabel moved to defense.
“As a rookie tight end, I was kicked out of three games for fighting, and at the end of the year they didn’t think I had the right temperament to succeed in the attack and made me To an external linebacker who wants to move, “says Zabel. “I jumped at that opportunity. In the year of the rookie, I came to a camp weighing about 270 pounds. They said I wanted to grow to block the tight end, and it It really hindered my speed and agility.
“In my second year, I came to the training camp as an external linebacker weighing 230 pounds. I regained all my speed and speed. That was great. I was all to play linebackers. Believe me. . “
Zabel proved to be a solid external linebacker, but the match days between him and Eagles were generally not fun. They won only three games in 1970, six games next season and two games in 1972. How did he maintain his confidence, setting a record of 11-31 in these three seasons?
“Each of us as players must give it 100% in order to feel themselves right. The maxim of football is,” The sky’s eyes don’t lie. ” If you play badly in the game, it will appear in the movie. And if you play a bad game enough, they will drive you away. I didn’t want it to happen, so I always played as much as I could, “Sabel says.
“Our team’s records haven’t been great so far, so people wanted to know why. Did we have a poor player? No, we fired our coach every two years. There was a poor owner. (1971) Leonardo Tose fired us with Jerry Williams There was a new coach, Eddie Kayato. Eddie took over and we were 6-in the last 10 games. It was 3-1 and something happened between Eddie Kayato’s first season as head coach and his second season as he began to become ridiculously tough. 1972 For a few weeks at our training camp, we practiced twice a day for nine weeks.
“And they traded off (Tim) Rossovich and moved me to a middle linebacker. Professional soccer middle linebackers are not a place to learn. I hurt my right knee and then my left knee. At the end of the year, they fired Eddie Kayat and hired Mike McCormack, so in the fourth year I started with a third head coach. “
McCormack will be Zabel’s third and last head coach as an eagle. Following the 1974 season, contract negotiations proved to be spectacular, if nothing else.
“I tried to negotiate in January, February, March, April and May, and in June I finally said:'(General Manager) I met Jimmy Murray and Mike McCormack and talked a bit. I want to hear. Why don’t you want to raise me? “Sabel says. “All the games I thought I played badly after watching the movie and understanding my way said I played well, and everything I thought I played well I thought I played badly in the game.
“Then McCormack said to me,’By the way, did you know that you broke Cover 2 52 times last year?'” And “I’m sorry. If I were a coach, I was wrong instead of waiting until the end of the year. He said he was doing that. ” I was asking for a $ 75,000 deal, but I stood up and said, “Coach, what do you know? I won’t play for you for $ 100,000.” I got out of the door and stabbed my head back and said, “Well, maybe $ 100,000 would be fine.” Then, two hours later, it was traded with the New England Patriots. “
After spending five seasons at the Eagles and four seasons at the Patriots, Zabel returned to Oklahoma in 1979 after completing a ten-year NFL career at the then Baltimore Colts.
“When I quit football, I entered the real estate development and oil and gas businesses,” says Zabel. “And in 1984 and 1985 the economy of Oklahoma got out of hand, so I had to start over a bit, and I went into telecommunications, and I did it for 20 years. “
In the early 1990s, Zabel and university teammate Larry Bross founded a non-profit organization called City Care in Oklahoma City.
“We originally started by feeding the homeless from Monday to Friday morning,” says Zabel. “We arrived in the kitchen five days a week at 5 am. In fact, on the first day I appeared, I cooked 72 dozen eggs. We serve about 350 people. did.”
It was just the beginning. In 1995, Zabel and Bross launched a tutor / mentor program called Whiz Kids. Throughout Oklahoma City, it works one-on-one with approximately 1,000 students during the school year.
“And the third element of what we did was when the Mullerville exploded in Oklahoma City in 1995,” says Zabel. “As almost all temporary housing in Oklahoma City was destroyed, our organization, City Care, volunteered to rebuild the lost room, and is called the Persing Center, which accommodates up to 60 customers. We built temporary housing development. We provided them with rooms, boards and counseling services to bring them back to society, and in the process, further for affordable housing in downtown Oklahoma City. Built 100 rooms.
“We met people where they live and where they need to be, and it was a rewarding situation. I stopped it at the age of 66, and it’s still strong after seven years. That’s a good thing. “
Enjoying retirement, Zabel has his home in Edmond, Oklahoma. He has a daughter, Jessica. Two sons, Matt and Mason. And nine grandchildren.
Where are they now LB Steve Zabel Source link Where are they now LB Steve Zabel