Former Pro Bowl RT, Leon Searcy Jr. Interview
Leon Searcy played college football at the University of Miami. He is one of few players who can claim that he won three National Championships in his collegiate career. He was drafted in the 1st round in the 1992 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He also played Right Tackle for the Jacksonville Jaguars, and retired after an eleven-year career. Check out our interview that was done shortly after the NFL season started.
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Searcy : This is Leon Searcy, University of Miami, three-time National Champion, first round pick, eleven-year NFL veteran, retired and enjoying life, you’re listening to http://www.prointerviews.org
Announcement : My name is Max Strauss with http://prointerviews.org/, http://facebook.com/ProInterviews/ and http://twitter.com/ProInterviews/. I’d like to welcome you to the 100TH INTERVIEW with Leon Searcy. Searcy started playing football during his senior year of high school. He went on play to collegiately at the University of Miami. While he was there, he won 56 games, lost 4, and won three National Championships. He then entered the 1992 NFL Draft, and was drafted with the eleventh overall pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He played with the Steelers for the first four years of his career, and then played with the Jaguars for five more years. He made the Pro Bowl once in his career. In addition, he was at one time the highest paid offensive lineman in the NFL. Here is the interview with NFL veteran, Leon Searcy.
Strauss : How do you connect with fans?
Searcy : [I connect with fans] mainly through Facebook and mainly through the radio shows I do during the football, and it’s where I’m able to connect with the fans. I’m able to share my opinion with stuff that’s going on, not only with the University of Miami, but with the two teams I mainly played for when I was in the NFL, the Steelers fans and the Jaguars fans.
Strauss : How did you start playing football?
Searcy : I played high school basketball. I never played football until my senior year. I was a stud on the basketball court. I was pretty good at basketball to be quite honest with you. It was my junior year, and I was playing a pickup basketball game. And, I remember dribbling to the basket, and I ended up dunking the ball. At the time, I was 6’4″, 275 pounds.
I did not know at the time, that the high school football coach was right there watching me. He pulled me aside, and asked me if I was new to the school. I told him that I would be a senior next year. He said, ‘Would I come out for football?’, and I said, ‘Nah. I’ve never really been interested in it.’ He asked me if I would be something interested in going to college. I said, ‘Absolutely.’ He told me that I could play football. I told him that I would get into college anyways, I wasn’t going to need football to get into college because of my grades. He told me that this would be an opportunity where I could get a scholarship, and I wouldn’t have to put a financial burden on my family for them to pay for me to go to school. I thought about it. I contemplated about it.
I went out for spring football, and they had me at nose guard. By the end of spring, I was playing Right Tackle. By the time spring was over, I was the starting Right Tackle on the team. I was pretty green [new] at football. My coach asked me if I wanted to be good or great. I said, ‘Well, I want to be great.’ He said, ‘If you want to be good, I’ll see you during training camp. If you want to be great, I want you to train with me this summer, so we can get your technique, fundamentals, conditioning right, so by the time training camp comes around, you will be ready to go.’ I didn’t have to go to summer school. I had good grades. I sacrificed my whole summer, training with my high school coach. Every day, at seven o’clock in the morning, I would get up, take the bus and go to my high school and train with them. I would run in the stadium, run suicides, run gassers, doing all the stuff that would get me ready for the upcoming season. My high school coach, Bill Gierke… I owe that man A LOT! I was green (new) when I learned about football. This man taught me everything about the game and got me ready for my senior season in high school.
Strauss : What was it like choosing a college, and why did you choose the University of Miami?
Searcy : The thing is I wanted to choose a school where my parents wouldn’t have to spend all their time to come see me. I wanted to be within driving distance for them to come see me play football. It came down for me between Florida State, Florida, and Miami. That’s where I was going to make my decision. I visited all three schools. I absolutely did not like the University of Florida so they were out of the picture. It came down to Miami and Florida State. I visited both of them. I visited Miami first, and Florida State afterwards.
My decision to go to Miami has a lot to do with basically Florida State’s reaction of Miami. When I visited Florida State, there was a dorm party, a lot of the Florida State football players were at this party. At this party, Deion [Sanders] was there, and all of the Florida State greats were at this dorm party. This whole time at the dorm party, they were going off about the University of Miami… Miami this, Miami that. I told myself that when I was listening to these guys that there was no way I was going to this school and for the next five years not be able to beat Miami. I don’t like losing. I despise losing. They made my decision for me when I went up there and visited. They seemed so envious of the University of Miami. I chose University of Miami because it was a great school, and I wanted to be a winner. I wanted to be a champion.
Strauss : You were recruited by Jimmy Johnson, and what was that like?
Searcy : He wasn’t really the one recruiting me because I only played one year of high school football. I never got a home visit from Jimmy Johnson. The guy who recruited me was a guy named, Don Solinger. Don Solinger was the guy who recruited me out of the high school in Orlando. The thing I liked about Solinger was that he was honest with me. He told me that it was going to be tough. He told me that I would have to compete. He told me that I would never get them together, I would never play. He said, ‘If you Leon, were to come down to the University of Miami. It would be tough, and you would have be strong-willed, strong minded, and you got to compete, and if you don’t do those things, you’ll never play.’ I told myself that if I wanted to be good, I could go to any school in the country and play, but if I wanted to be great, and I would go to the University of Miami. That’s what ultimately made my decision.
Strauss : While you were at Miami you won three National Championships, what was that like?
Searcy : I won one my true freshman year (1987), my sophomore redshirt year (1989), and my senior year, (1991). The 1987 Championship was surreal. I was a true freshman on the scout team. It was surreal that I was surrounded all of these great players. The great thing about the University of Miami was to be considered part of the family, you had to bring home a title. I didn’t feel part of the family until I won a National Title with the team that I was playing on. It was good to get a ring while I was a freshman, but in order to be in the family, it sounds like the Mafia… But in order to be in the family, you have to bring the title home. When I started playing in 1989, and we won a National Title, I felt a part of the family. I felt that I contributed to the University of Miami win. Then, to go out my senior year in 1991, and go 12-0, undefeated, and beat Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. That was exhilarating. We went 12-0 my senior year. I came in my freshman year, 12-0, and I went out my senior year, 12-0, so it doesn’t really get any better than that. Sometimes, when I compile my records… I was at the University of Miami for five years, including bowl games, I finished 56-4. Two of those losses were in one year. I went 56-4. I won three national titles. I went to five bowl games. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Strauss : Do you have a favorite memory besides the National Championships at the U?
Searcy : I wouldn’t say a memory, but the relationships that I had with the guys on the team are timeless. Those are the same relationships that I have now, twenty five years later. The same guys that I pretty much that I could sit down and have a beer with today, are the same guys that with at the University of Miami. Put all the titles and the wins aside, and the relationships and friendships that you acquire while you were playing, those are priceless.
Strauss : What was it like to be inducted into The U’s Sports Hall of Fame?
Searcy : It was the most gratifying experience in my college or professional career to be honest with you. It really was. It was a very humbling experience to know that I was being rewarded for all of the time and effort and all of the love and passion that I put into being a Miami Hurricane. It was great. It was awesome. The year before I went to Art Kehoe inauguration into the Hall of Fame, and I just can’t imagine not being at the Ceremony. He was my boy. He was my man. It was just great. It was great being at the University of Miami surrounded by people who cared a great deal about the program. The past and present players were there. It was just great. I went into the Hall of Fame with guys like Melvin Bratton, Greg Mark, Gino Torretta. That was my class that I went in with. It had to be the most exhilarating of both my college and professional careers to know that the University of Miami chose me to be in the Hall of Fame.
Strauss : What’s your relationship like with Randy Shannon?
Searcy : Let me just say, right now, I’m pretty sure that I won’t be getting a Christmas card from Randy, and he won’t be getting one from me. That shows you the relationship we had while he was Coach at the University of Miami. I have pictures with Randy. I never question that Randy cared about the program and loved the University of Miami, because I believe that so. I always questioned the results that I saw on the field. Somehow, whatever Randy was doing at the University of Miami was not translating into wins on the football field. That was my only issue with Randy. I believe he did a remarkable job with the kids that he had on his football team. I’m pretty sure he did a remarkable job in the community keeping the kids out of trouble. My whole issue with Randy was that what he was doing was not translating into wins at the University of Miami. That’s why I had an issue with Randy. Other than that, I think he did a fine job at Miami. I think the expectations for him as a coach were to be par to above par. In order to get the University of Miami back to its prominence, you can’t have those kind of expectations for a program like the University of Miami. You got to have sights on nine, ten, eleven win seasons. I’m not so sure that was Randy’s objective. If it was his objective, it didn’t show well on the field. Let’s just say that.
Strauss : What was your draft day experience like?
Searcy : My draft day experience… I was ultimately invited to New York to be on ESPN for the Draft, but I chose not to go. I wanted that experience to be with my family. We had a draft party at my house with family and friends. It was a little nerve-racking because I could not sleep the night before. I got up at like six o’clock in the morning. My dad and I went for a walk, and we were talking. We took maybe an hour or two walk just talking. We walked to a restaurant, had breakfast, and then came back to the house. By the time, we got back to the house about eight thirty or nine o’clock, there were two or three media trucks outside of the house. There had to be anywhere from seven to eight reporters out on the grass. Everybody wanted to come into the house. I wouldn’t let anybody in the house until I got drafted. I didn’t want be on TV if I didn’t go where I think I was going to go. I didn’t want that filmed on TV.
I’m sitting down watching the draft and I get this phone call, maybe about 930/10 o’clock. It was Jimmy Johnson, who was the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys at the time, and he said that we have the fourteenth pick in the draft, and that they were going to draft me. They asked me if I wanted to be a Cowboy, I was like, ‘Sure coach. If you’re going to pick me, I’ll be a Dallas Cowboy.’ They said, ‘We have an administrator on our way to the house. Do you have an agent available? We want to negotiate this contract to get you in camp because we don’t want you holding out.’ I said, ‘Fine.’ I told my agent at the time that the Cowboys were coming to the house, and then, maybe an hour later, right before the draft came on TV, there was a Cowboys representative in the house. He had a Dallas Cowboys jersey with my name on the back. So, then I’m negotiating and I’m telling my family, ‘Hey, I’m going to be a Cowboy. It’s almost written in stone.’
The draft goes on, goes on, and goes on. We get to about the seventh or eighth pick in the draft, and I get a call from Bill Cowher. Cowher calls me and tells me, ‘Hey Leon, we want you to be a Pittsburgh Steeler.’ I said, ‘Okay.’ He said something about the Cowboys trying to move up, and that we’re not going to relinquish our spot and that they had the eleventh pick in the draft. When all this was going down, the Cowboys representative left, took the jersey, and by the time the eleventh pick came around, I told my parents that I was going to be a Pittsburgh Steeler. All of a sudden, I saw it on TV, and once I knew I was picked I let all of the media people come in. They did interviews and got footage and all of that kind of stuff. That’s how my day went on draft day.
Strauss : Start with the Steelers, then go through and talk about your NFL career…
Searcy : I absolutely loved being a Pittsburgh Steeler. Everything about it. The whole mentality, the whole framework behind just going to work, getting the job done. The city of Pittsburgh has this persona, that is exemplified what type of city it was. It’s the Steel Mills, the hard hat, the lunchpail, it was all about going to work. That was the one thing I loved about being a Pittsburgh Steeler. It was just about work. It was just about getting it done. Bill Cowher was a player’s coach. He was rugged. He was rough. He had spit flying everywhere. That chin. His whole demeanor. We fed off of that. His demeanor, his toughness, his ruggedness, his whole demeanor, his bottom line of just getting the job done, that’s why he had so much success while I was there with the Steelers. We weren’t flashy. We weren’t going to line up four or five wide and spread you out. Everything was about running the ball and playing defense. We were going to pound it down your throat. We were going to control the time of possession. We were going to play solid defense. His philosophy in the locker room was that if they can’t score, we can’t lose. He was just all into that. It was great. Everything about practices, people, Three Rivers Stadium. I loved it. I absolutely loved being a Pittsburgh Steeler. I say all of this, if you ask yourself, why did I ever leave? I don’t know why, but I was young I was successful, and I felt like the money ultimately led to my decision to leave Pittsburgh. If I had the chance to do it all over again, I would have never left. I had a great time as a Jaguar, but I’m going to always be a Steeler. I have a great deal of respect for the Pittsburgh Steeler Organization and the Rooney Family. The teams that they put together while I was there gave us opportunities to win a Championship, but we never got it done.
When I went to Jacksonville, it was a little different. It was a bit different. I was going into a situation where it was a new franchise. It was the second year of their existence. They had, ‘The Colonel’, ‘The Sergeant’… Tom Coughlin. Tom Coughlin was not a players’ coach my first year with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was a dictator. He was, ‘Do it my way or the highway, or you’ll be gone.’ There was no room for error with Coughlin. Everything was fine-able from how you sat in meetings to coming late, this and this, this and that, throwing your helmet during practice, all of this kind of stuff. When I first got to Jacksonville, I thought everything was just so petty. I had just left the Pittsburgh Steelers and Bill Cowher where I believe he treated you like a man. When I went to Jacksonville, it was like being in preschool. It was like every little thing was fine-able. There was no leniency. I rebelled against it. There was a time when I played for the Jaguars and I ultimately did stuff to get fined because I was that perturbed by some of the rules and regulations that he had laid down. I would do stuff just to get fined, and just to push his buttons. Ultimately, what changed the culture in Jacksonville and what made the team as successful as it had been.
We called a team meeting with Coughlin. In the middle of the season, we were like 3-7, we had a top notch offense. We had a pretty decent defense. A lot of the leaders in the locker room sat down with Coughlin and told him that he needed to ease up on all of these rules, on the way we practiced, on the way we had meetings. If he would just take his foot off of the accelerator, and just let us play football, that he would see results. Trying to kill us would not be for the best of us. He did that, and ultimately told us in the meeting, ‘Hey, Look. I’m going to ease up on a lot of stuff, but if I don’t see any results in a week or so, I’m going to be back on you.’ So, he eased up, and when he eased up, we won six games in a row. We ultimately went into the playoffs, and upset the Buffalo Bills in their home, and then we upset the number one team, the Denver Broncos in their home. Now, we’re playing in the AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots. I think that once he eased up and softened up, those Jaguars team that had success in the late 90s had a lot to do with Coughlin just easing up, and how it all started was with the football team. While I was in Jacksonville, we played in two AFC Championship games, we should have went to the Super Bowl in 1999 but we couldn’t beat the Tennessee Titans. We were 15-3 that year, and the all of our three losses that year were to the Tennessee Titans. Obviously, we weren’t tough enough to beat them. That’s the reason why we didn’t go to the Super Bowl in 1999.
The Baltimore Ravens was a blur. I really didn’t do too much in Baltimore except outside of signing a big contract while I never played.
Then, the Dolphins gave me an opportunity under [Head Coach] Dave Wannstedt who was at the University of Miami while I was there. Tony Wise was the offensive line coach there. He was the offensive line coach at UM. I didn’t do too much with the Dolphins. I practiced. I was just trying make a comeback, and I got hurt. I blew out my triceps. I had like three major injuries in three years, and ultimately I felt that it was time to shut it down.
Strauss : Do you have a favorite memory in your NFL career?
Searcy : No, not really. Not a favorite memory. No real milestones. Maybe going to the Pro Bowl, but that didn’t mean much. Most of the time the Pro Bowl is rigged. If you saw how we voted for the Pro Bowl, you might think it’s rigged. I can’t say the Pro Bowl. I won’t say it. I don’t know. There’s no real memory that stands out. Not really.
Strauss : Will you reflect on what the Pro Bowl was like, a little?
Searcy : The Pro Bowl is like the Grammy’s of football. You’re in a five star hotel. You’re on the beach. The one thing I noticed while playing football is that the more money you make, the less of you have to spend. Like when we go to the Pro Bowl, you got all of these multimillionaires in the house that are just giving you free stuff. I got more stuff at the Pro Bowl, it’s like the Grammy’s. You can choose, you’re getting warm-ups. You’re getting restaurant comps after restaurant comps. You’re getting comped for limos, comps for shopping. The Pro Bowl is like the Grammy’s of football. Everything is laid out for you, and you have no worries, top-notch security, shopping, restaurants, parties, clubs, bars, and all that kind of stuff. I remember waking up in the morning, looking outside and staring out of the balcony, and my hotel room, and they got these rocks that are on the beach, and the water is just splashing on these rocks. At the time, I was like wow, this is pretty awesome. That’s my memory of the Pro Bowl when I was there.
Strauss : Would you reflect on Hall of Fame Defensive Back, Rod Woodson was like?
Searcy : Hahaha. I’ve got a good Rod Woodson story. Haha. When I came into Pittsburgh, there was a tradition that was laid onto me from the Pittsburgh Steelers. The first-round rookie pick had to bring everyone doughnuts every Friday before team meetings. One of the veterans came up to me and said, ‘Tomorrow’s Friday. You have to bring in doughnuts for all of the guys.’ So, I was cool with it. This was a tradition dating back to Joe Greene, Bradshaw, and all these other guys. I said, ‘No problem since I was the first round pick by the Steelers. I had to bring in doughnuts.’ I’m sitting there and I’m reminding myself to bring in doughnuts, and then Rod Woodson comes up to me. He says, ‘You make sure you bring in the doughnuts, and I want my own personal stash.’ Then he said, ‘You better not my mess up my order.’
You got to understand that I still had the University of Miami swag and flare about me, so someone telling me that I better not do something, that doesn’t stick well with me. I took it personally since Woodson came up and told me that. Being as defiant as I was, I went and got them doughnuts. I went to Krispy Kreme, and they told me they wanted glazed doughnuts and everything. Now, what’s the one doughnuts that everyone just despises, that no one eats when it comes to doughnuts. That’s powder-white doughnuts, right? No one likes powder-white. Just to piss him off and the team off a bit, I brought in like eight to ten dozen powder-white doughnuts. When everyone saw them, they were pissed at me. They were upset. They were just mad. Of course, Cowher came up to me. I didn’t care. I mean I brought in doughnuts. When he made those demands, he didn’t expect me to be defiant. I pissed him off a little bit. Coach Cowher told me that I needed to bring them in. Eventually, I started to bring the doughnuts in or whatever. So, we clashed when I was there because he told me that I better get the order right. I was a bit defiant and rebellious at the time by bringing in powder-white doughnuts. It didn’t stick well with the guys, but I didn’t care.
Strauss : You were the offensive line coach at Florida International University, what was it like seeing Antwan Barnes? Did he ask you for advice from you while he was there?
Searcy : Yeah. Yeah. Antwan Barnes was a freak of nature to be honest with you. He was 6’2″, 245 pounds, and ran a 4.3 forty. He was an amazing athlete. We fought back and forth against each other because he was on the defensive side and I was coaching the offensive side. Most of the competition had to do with him beating my offensive line. No matter what I tried to teach my guys, they still didn’t respond to him well. Because I played the offensive line position, I could tell what he was going to do. I would always give them tips on how they could read stances, but he was just a freak of nature.
He always jokingly challenged me to a pass rush. I never gave him the opportunity, but I told him that in my prime when I was playing, he wouldn’t have gotten it. We were always joking. He’s a great kid. He’s going to be one of the top five athletes in FIU history. I’ve seen him do some things on the football field that were pretty amazing. Not only was he a great athlete, but he was a great kid, and he’s been in the NFL now for five or six years, so he’s doing well for himself.
Strauss : Did you have a nickname while you played?
Searcy : Unintentionally. Yeah… I was called, ‘Buck Tough’. The reason why I was called ‘Buck Tough’ was because with the linebacker in the defense, I was the Left Tackle, I would always have to notify the running back if the Buck was tough on the line of scrimmage to let him know that either he was going to take him or I was going to take him. He had to get the Buck Linebacker. I had to notify if he was inside my gap, outside my shoulder, I always had to alert the running back that the Buck was tough. I wouldn’t just say ‘Buck Tough.’ In my baritone voice, I would say it so loud that it sometimes intimated some of the defensive guys by saying it. When I was at Miami, they called me ‘Buck Tough’ because of the call. I liked to practice the way I played, so everything I did was exaggerated, so that’s what they used to call me.
Strauss : Do you have a favorite football accomplishment?
Searcy : I guess just getting drafted. To know where I came from to get to that point, sometimes I look back on my successes at the college and professional level, and it amazes me how G-d could bless me in such a way. Considering I came from such a minute background. I was this thick kid, insecure, heavy-set kid, and G-d took me and molded me into a player. All of the success that I had in college and at the professional level is amazing to me. There was one time in my career during free agency that I was at one time the highest paid offensive lineman in NFL history. That kind of stuff… The success that I had in Pittsburgh and Jacksonville… I recovered what I was before I played football, and I then I remembered when I retired and I just know that G-d had to have had his hands on me throughout all of the feats and accomplishments that I made. He had to be. I could not have done it by myself. I played in the freaking Super Bowl. I made it to the Pro Bowl. Throughout my career, I was considered one of the best offensive lineman in the league. All of this came from an insecure, heavy-set, fat kid from Orlando. That amazes me how G-d can take me on this journey and all of the success that I had because I can’t sit here and tell you that I did it on my own. It had to be G-d who helped me achieved all of these accomplishments.
Strauss : Who’s someone that you like to watch in the NFL today?
Searcy : I’m always watching the offensive line. I don’t care who. I’m always watching them. I’m very particular on how the offensive line plays. But, right now, I’m a big fan of Michael Vick. Trust me, I’m a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. But, just because everything that Michael Vick has gone through, and how he dealt with the whole dog-fighting scandal, and going to jail, and everyone dehumanizing him, saying he’s this and that. I’m happy to see him back on his feet and I hope and pray that he stays on course. I really want him to succeed because I remember how he was dehumanized because of the dog fighting scandal and how he was sent to jail, and also filed for bankruptcies, and how people turned their back on him. To see him come out of all of that, and to do well and remain humble… I’m a big fan of his. I love seeing him play because he’s one of the most electric players on the field. He’s a game-changer. He’s a game-maker. I just want to see him succeed and do well.
Strauss : If you had to describe yourself as any ice cream flavor, what would you be and why?
Searcy : Haha. Ice cream flavor… Hm… Haha. I would have to be Rocky Road because my journey has not always been a smooth one. I have had my ups and downs, my peaks and valleys, but somehow through it all, I always came out on top. I’m chocolate, and Rocky Road is chocolate, right? Okay, well I’m a chocolate brother, good-looking chocolate brother by the way. I would have to be Rocky Road because through it all, I’ve been through peaks and valleys, and I always come out on top. So, if I was going to be an ice cream, I would be Rocky Road.
Strauss : Well… what do you think about what’s happening right now at the U?
Searcy : No one really knows what’s happening at the U right now. All we have is that there intends to be an overreaction to when-ever you get a whole bunch of information, and you got to look at the source of where you’re getting the information from. You’re getting the information from a disgruntled guy who ran a criminal enterprise. There’s no other way to put it. This guy ran a multi-million dollar level, Ponzi scheme. He’s trying to implicate eighteen and nineteen year old kids and what bothers me so much about the allegations is that in order for this guy to obtain all this information and bank statements and receipts, it lets you know that this man had to have had an agenda. He kept all the receipts and the credit cards and this and that, because somewhere down the road he was going to use it against the University of Miami.
He talks about how much he loved the U and how much he cared about the program. No he didn’t. The problems with this guy is this, he felt that because he was around us, that he was one of us. He wasn’t one of us. You were a fan. You were never one of us. First off, the University of Miami football team is a family. This guy felt that because he was around places that we were around, and because he was spending money where we were spending money, and going places that we were going, and hanging out with us, and taking pictures with us, that he was part of the family. No he wasn’t.
He was essentially a groupie. He was a groupie who tried to buy his way into the family, and it’s not going to happen. If you know anything about the University of Miami, the guys that care about this program is that we’re a family. We don’t let just anybody in the family. What pissed this guy off so much was the fact that he was around us, but no one came to his aide. You were a groupie. You weren’t family. Just because you give money to the University doesn’t make you a Miami Hurricane. All this stuff that he accumulated over this ten year period tells me that it’s hearsay. He’s got guys looking. He’s got credit card receipts that he spent money at restaurants and strip clubs, this, this, and that, and just put that on him. He could have spend that on his boys. I’ve taken pictures with people. Right now, I could go to a restaurant and order dinner, and someone would say, ‘Hey, that’s Leon Searcy.’ I get this sometimes, ‘Hey Leon, would you mind taking a picture with me and my family?’ Yeah sure. Of course. All he has is pictures of guys who used to play Miami football. He has nothing on film where he exchanged hands with cash or anything like that. I don’t appreciate the guy and what he’s trying to do to the University. I love the University of Miami until the day I die. All of these allegations, and these so-called experts and analysts, talk about they need to get rid of football.
This scandal is nothing new. When I was playing the whole thing was allegedly was that Luke Skyywalker gave players this and that. Didn’t we just end of all of this? Wasn’t that why 30 for 30 called to end these insane allegations about bounties and it’s nothing. No one had any proof. This guy has the burden of proof on him to prove all of these allegations. The same thing happened while I was at the U with Luke Skyywalker. Luke never did anything wrong. I can speak profoundly on that. Luke never gave me a dime. He was around the campus. He had a club on South Beach that I liked to go to every once in a while, but I never took money or anything from him.
Right now, before everybody becomes the judge and the jury and the prosecutors and all this, let it everything take its course. Let the investigators do what they need to. Let them do due diligence in the process. When it’s all said it done, I don’t think anything major is going to happen to the U. If something happens, they definitely won’t get the death penalty. I guarantee that. There won’t be the death penalty. If guys did stuff, whether it be administrative or not, coaches or players, and they turned a blind eye to the school, then they got to pay the consequences to it. Right now, it’s troubling for me to turn on the TV, and hear these experts and analysts how Miami should get rid of football. Listen, I heard the same thing in the 90s. I have a copy of the Sports Illustrated that said why they should get rid of football from the University of Miami. I don’t know what this guy has against the school. I’m appalled by it. The one thing I know about it is that if you’re a Hurricane or if you’re a Hurricane fan, it gives an opportunity to be stronger. I’m always going to be Orange and Green until I die. I’m looking forward to the season and the Golden era and bringing University of Miami back to prominence.
Strauss : For someone who wants to play football in the NFL or D1 football, what’s the best advice you can give them?
Searcy : Get your degree… What I mean by that is that whenever I talk to kids in high school and college, they have huge aspirations to make it in the NFL. I always let them know the statistics. With all these schools, colleges, and universities only 1% make it to the NFL. Have a back-up plan. If you’re going to college or university, and you have to make sure you have your degree just in case you don’t make it into the NFL. So, in turn you are able to work a job. I just tell guys have a back-up plan. Get your degree. If it doesn’t work in the NFL, you’ll have something to fall back on.
Strauss : Thank you for your time Leon. I really appreciate it.
Searcy : No problem buddy. You got it.
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->Here are the personal questions that Leon Searcy answered.<-
Strauss : Who was your childhood star?
Searcy : I was always a big fan of Muhammad Ali growing up. I just loved his confidence, how brash he was, and how cocky he was. He was a hell of a fighter as well, so Muhammad Ali was one of my sports heroes while I was growing up.
Strauss : What was your favorite NFL team growing up?
Searcy : I had plenty. I was a band-wagon fan. I was a Cowboys fan. I was also a Redskins fan because I was born in Washington D.C. and I lived near the area where RFK stadium was. I was mainly a Washington Redskins fan growing up.
Strauss : If you could meet anyone, who would it be and why?
Searcy : That’s a good question. I would love to meet Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was assassinated before I was born. The reason why is that I grew up in a family where my mom and dad were both essential in the movement. They marched with Dr. King. My mom was appointed by President Johnson to be the first black schoolteacher in an all-white school in Manchester, Georgia. She integrated the school system when she was just twenty years old. My dad was pivotal in his marches as a young adult. He helped integrate a lot of the grocery stores, a lot of the restaurants, a lot of the local businesses in Manchester, Georgia. He was really big on civil rights. When I was growing up, my parents always talked about Dr. King and what he stood for. He was an amazing guy, way before his time. It would have been great to sit down with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and just have a conversation with him.
Strauss : What is your favorite TV show?
Searcy : I’m almost ashamed to say this. I’m not ashamed actually. My favorite TV show right now is Basketball Wives on VH1. I absolutely love the show. I love the characters on the show. They are amazing-looking women. I can’t get enough of that show.
Strauss : What is your favorite movie of all time… besides “The U”?
Searcy : Hahaha. There are a bunch of great movies out there. I’m a big fan of mob movies like Godfather, Good Fellas, Scarface, all that kind of stuff. It’d be tough to decide between those three.
Strauss : What is your favorite type of pie?
Searcy : I’m not a big fan of pie. I’m a cake guy.
Strauss : What type of cake?
Searcy : I love Cheesecake. I love the chocolate cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory. It’s awesome.
Strauss : Thank you Leon for taking the time to answer these questions.