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U.S. Army Otis Sistrunk, Former NFL Star Glad to Serve Soldiers
Defend America News ^ | 02/11/05 | Bob Reinert / Northwest Guardian

Posted on 02/11/2005 5:04:28 PM PST by SandRat

DefendAmerica News - U.S. Army Otis Sistrunk

Profiles.
U.S. Army
Otis Sistrunk
Former NFL Star Glad to Serve Soldiers

By Bob Reinert / Northwest Guardian

FORT LEWIS, Wash., Feb. 11, 2005 Fort Lewis isn't necessarily where one would expect to find a former All-Pro defensive tackle, a guy who earned a Super Bowl ring, someone who knows John Madden better as his coach than as a network football analyst.

It's been a quarter-century since he traded his No. 60 Oakland Raiders jersey for civilian clothes, but Otis Sistrunk looked comfortable as he sat at his desk in the stadium he manages on post. The memorabilia on the wall behind him recall his glory days with the Raiders.

Sistrunk, who never played college football, was a 1974 All-Pro selection and was an integral part of the Madden-coached Oakland team that dispatched the Minnesota Vikings, 31-14, in Super Bowl XI, Jan. 9, 1977, at Pasadena, Calif.

All that is behind him now.

"In the NFL, we think we can play forever, but we can't," said Sistrunk, 60. "When I got out of football - I'll be honest with you - I didn't know what I was going to do."

Sistrunk lasted seven years in the NFL and spent a couple more as a beer salesman. One day when he was at Fort Benning on business, a lieutenant colonel asked if he'd be interested in coaching the post football team. His government career was born.

Instead, he spent a dozen years at Fort Benning, attending to the sports and fitness needs of soldiers.

"It was a challenge to me," Sistrunk said. "It was very interesting. I got a chance to know a lot of people."

When the opportunity presented itself, he transferred to Fort Lewis. He's been here ever since.

"I enjoy working at Fort Lewis," Sistrunk said. "I had opportunities to go overseas ... and different places, but I love Fort Lewis. When I go out of town, that's the first thing I tell people - I work at Fort Lewis."

Sistrunk does travel frequently to appear at charity golf events and to speak with school children. He had started going to Oakland area schools with Raider linebacker Phil Villapiano when both were still active players.

"We would go to the schools and talk to the kids about staying in school, don't do drugs, turn yourself into a lady or a man," Sistrunk said.

A decade later, when he was working in the gym at Fort Benning, Sistrunk was approached by a young, female second lieutenant who said she wanted to thank him. She told him that she was in one of those Oakland classrooms that he and Villapiano had visited. She wound up going to

Former All-Pro football player Otis Sistrunk has fashioned a second successful career as an Army civilian employee. Sistrunk runs Cowan & Memorial Stadium at Fort Lewis, Wash. U.S. Army photo by Bob Reinert

college, getting into ROTC and joining the Army.

"I've never seen her since," Sistrunk said. "We know we saved one person. There's probably more."

Sistrunk still uses his NFL background as currency at Fort Lewis. Some soldiers just want to sit on his office couch and talk football. Others have more pressing matters on their minds.

"Sometimes it helps if you sit here and talk to a young kid," Sistrunk said. "I tell young soldiers, 'If you've got a problem, come in here and talk to me. Try to stay out of trouble.' The longer you stay out of trouble, the longer you'll stay in the military."

"Otis has really shared his knowledge and experience with all," said Lonnie Meredith, head coach of the Army flag football team that defeated Navy in early December at Cowan Stadium on Fort Lewis. Sistrunk served as one of Meredith's assistant coaches.

"He's a true role model, one that you can access daily," Meredith said. "He has always helped everyone that approaches him with guidance and direction. He shares his ideas and thoughts with others."

"Otis has been a plus to the program not because of his playing football in the NFL, but because of his ability to work with a variety of people, from privates to generals," said Jerry Weydert, sports director at Fort Lewis, who lauded Sistrunk's "willingness to do what is needed to get the job done."

If the Oakland Raiders were once like a family to him, Sistrunk now is part of another one - the Army.

"I just love the military," Sistrunk said. "I look forward to coming here every day. It's been rewarding for me. You can't make everybody happy, but I try to do my best."

"We try to do the best we can to serve the soldiers. It's a challenge to me every day."

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http://www.defendamerica.mil/profiles/feb2005/pr020905a.html


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; US: Washington
KEYWORDS: army; football; nfl; oaklandraiders; soldiers; superbowlxi

1 posted on 02/11/2005 5:04:28 PM PST by SandRat
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To: SandRat
Auugh! They just HAD to bring up that Superbowl. That game broke my heart.
2 posted on 02/11/2005 5:06:42 PM PST by Spruce
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To: SandRat

I've been a fan of his for a long time. Way to go Otis!


3 posted on 02/11/2005 5:06:47 PM PST by GOP_1900AD (Stomping on "PC," destroying the Left, and smoking out faux "conservatives" - Take Back The GOP!)
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To: SandRat

University of Mars.......Otis, Alzado, Hendricks and the boys were awesome back then.....Otis sure was a character


4 posted on 02/11/2005 5:07:54 PM PST by NorCalRepub
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To: SandRat

Otis my man!!!


5 posted on 02/11/2005 5:08:03 PM PST by dfwgator (It's sad that the news media treats Michael Jackson better than our military.)
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To: dfwgator

:( I was gonna say that. Now I feel like flounder.


6 posted on 02/11/2005 5:10:12 PM PST by NonValueAdded ("We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good" HRC 6/28/2004)
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To: SandRat

I remember Otis Sistrunk during his glory days with the Raiders. A great football player then, a class act today. God bless him!


7 posted on 02/11/2005 5:11:13 PM PST by appleharvey
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To: GOP_1900AD

I'm really happy to hear about him. I wish him well.


8 posted on 02/11/2005 5:12:41 PM PST by Thebaddog (Dawgs off the coffee table.)
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To: appleharvey

It was a different time back then, players spent their entire careers with the same team, so many great characters on those Raider teams.


9 posted on 02/11/2005 5:13:15 PM PST by dfwgator (It's sad that the news media treats Michael Jackson better than our military.)
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To: SandRat
It's all about service. I applaud this guy. He gets it.

/john

10 posted on 02/11/2005 5:13:34 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (D@mit! I'm just a cook. Don't make me come over there and prove it!)
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To: JRandomFreeper

I think it was Howard Cosell describing him on field as Graduate from the University of Mars because of his size and speed at that time.


11 posted on 02/11/2005 5:21:42 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: SandRat

Wrong! Because he had a shaved head.


12 posted on 02/11/2005 5:25:01 PM PST by squirt (POLITICIANS & DIAPERS NEED TO BE CHANGED, FOR THE SAME REASON)
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To: SandRat; StarCMC

Cool.

Ping!


13 posted on 02/11/2005 5:27:48 PM PST by Radix (If I thought your Tag Line was better than mine, I wouldn't be using this one!)
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To: squirt

and plus he didn't play college football so they made up the university tag


14 posted on 02/11/2005 5:33:23 PM PST by NorCalRepub
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To: SandRat

I can't imagine a walk-on making an NFL team today. What a guy!


15 posted on 02/11/2005 5:42:47 PM PST by NoControllingLegalAuthority
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To: SandRat

I remember Otis...and Ft. Lewis, North Fort, the coal fired furnaces, night ambush patrols, giant ant hills, night navigation in a cow pasture WITH cows.....


16 posted on 02/11/2005 5:45:42 PM PST by caisson71
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To: SandRat

Otis was great and still is . I remember getting free tickets to the Raiders games from him and Hendricks. And who could forget the Superbowl win for all the silver an black fans . John Madden was almost a kid back then.


17 posted on 02/11/2005 5:51:59 PM PST by Deetes
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To: NorCalRepub

Right - Were in NorCal are you? I'm in Burlingame.


18 posted on 02/11/2005 6:01:13 PM PST by squirt (POLITICIANS & DIAPERS NEED TO BE CHANGED, FOR THE SAME REASON)
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To: squirt

over here in Walnut Creek my penninsula friend...have a very good friend over there in Redwood City......used to know someone in Burlingame and we used to go to that Starbucks alot and eat at a small little Italian Restaurant down from the Mexican restaurant that was on a corner near the main drag.......


19 posted on 02/11/2005 6:04:14 PM PST by NorCalRepub
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To: SandRat

This Oaklander salutes Mr. Sistrunk for his many years of both athletic prowess, and helping our country.


20 posted on 02/11/2005 6:36:53 PM PST by TFFKAMM
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To: SandRat

Alex Karras came up with that line. Made them both stars. Nice to see Sistrunk doing well. Even if he was a Raider.


21 posted on 02/11/2005 7:41:19 PM PST by stop_fascism
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To: stop_fascism
Alex Karras came up with that line.

And how many can say they remember the moment? Yes, I do! The actual moment!

22 posted on 02/11/2005 8:13:45 PM PST by dr_lew
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To: dr_lew

I thought the "University of Mars" comment came about on a cold day when steam was rising off his bald head, as he sat on the bench.


23 posted on 02/11/2005 10:21:01 PM PST by Burma Jones
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