Jean Fugett: Around the NFL

By Jean Fugett; thanks to Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell is proud to partner with former Redskins and Cowboys tight end Jean Fugett, Jr. Esq. Fugett grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and attended Amherst College. He was the last pick of the 13th round in the 1972 NFL Draft. Fugett made the Cowboys as a backup to future Hall of Famer Mike Ditka. Fugett eventually became a starter for Tom Landry’s Cowboys and started in Super Bowl X. He made the Pro Bowl in 1977.

As a free agent, Fugett went from being the lowest-paid starting tight end to the highest-paid with the Washington Redskins. While playing for legendary Redskins coach George Allen, Fugett attended law school at George Washington University at night.

During and after his playing days, Fugett worked with CBS, the Washington Post and other media. He went on to serve as Director and Vice-Chair of the McCall Pattern Company Management Committee, founded a Baltimore law firm and partnered with Fanfone in Europe.

After the death of his brother Reginald F. Lewis in 1993, Fugett took over TLC Beatrice International Foods, the largest black-owned and black-managed business in the world at the time. Fugett has served on committees with the NFL Players Association and on the Leadership Council for the American Diabetes Association Maryland Chapter. would like to thank Redskins president Bruce Allen and senior vice president/executive producer of media Larry Michael for connecting us to Fugett. Now, let’s let Jean take over.

Offensive Players of the Week: Julio Jones, wide receiver, Atlanta Falcons

Defensive Players of the Week: Trumaine Johnson, cornerback, Los Angeles Rams

Coach of the Week: Kyle Shanahan, offensive coordinator, Atlanta Falcons

Goat of the Week: Mike McCoy, head coach, San Diego Chargers

First, Happy 60th Birthday to the NFL Players Association. I was a Player Rep for both the Cowboys and the Redskins during the ’70s, and we celebrated last weekend at the Newseum in Washington D.C. by honoring some of our leaders.

We talked about Union history and the fact that one of our first demands was for clean underwear and socks! Some called it the “Jocks for Socks” protest. Yes, there was time when players practiced every day in dirty underwear. Yikes!

Can you imagine a player asking George Halas to have his sweats washed? Well, times have changed but many players still wonder if owners really care about players.

With the NFLPA in mind, let’s continue to talk about the player-safety issue. Who else will press this issue? There are no specific federal laws designed to protect NFL players.

Last week, we talked before about how the games in London and the weekly Thursday night games diminish the quality of play while also challenging notions of player safety. Well, add the bye week system as another “modern” concept that is a dagger in the heart to the integrity of NFL games.

All schedules are not equal. Teams always complained about Detroit and Dallas home games EVERY year on Thanksgiving against random opponents. Teams always complained about how home and away games are selected by the league. Scheduling games is not a science. However, a schedule can be advantageous for a team; for example, cold weather teams want home games late in winter. So do warm weather teams because cold weather teams are no longer accustomed to playing in high temperatures; and so on and so on. All byes are not created equal.

Philadelphia and Green Bay had their byes last week, did anybody but their fans know about this? Three games into the season is way too soon to have a week off. Most coaches in the NFL will tell you they prefer that their teams have their bye in the middle of the season when the injuries have really started to mount. The Packers and Eagles are disadvantaged by having a bye so early, and, the teams playing them this week are also at a disadvantage because the Eagles and Packers are rested and had two weeks to prepare for the game.

Has anyone studied how the game changed when byes were introduced? I was playing when the league went from 14 to 16 games. The first 16-game year, we played 16 straight; there were no bye weeks. Then somebody came up with the idea that a 16-game season could be stretched over 17 weeks. It was for money reasons, and supposedly, it would be good for players to have a week off during the season.

The players getting a week off has not been studied. NFL players are trained on a seven-day cycle. A player’s well-trained body is on a cycle now disrupted by the Thursday night game. Believe me, it is really difficult to play your best four days after your last game.

Who is going to the Super Bowl?

After four weeks, just look at the standings. Easy to figure out what teams are legit Super Bowl contenders and what teams are not. I can tell you that the undefeated teams of Denver and Minnesota are definitely contenders, but time will tell about Philadelphia.

Just glancing at the standings, some numbers will jump out at you. We have 13 teams with a 1-3 record and all the teams with three losses are close to being on our annual elimination list. Cleveland at 0-4 is the only team that we could say is eliminated right now. Obviously, the Browns will not be making the playoffs this year, so the Browns will be joined quickly by teams that drop to 1-4 next week.


New England goes 3-1 without Tom Brady; what a credit to the coaching staff and the players. People talk about how great Bill Belichick is, but let’s face it, he doesn’t make any tackles, complete any passes, or carry the ball. So, the Patriots players deserve a lot of credit as well for having the team go 3-1 with their two backup quarterbacks starting games. When asked about handling the return of Tom Brady, Belichick says “We are going to take it day by day”. Really? What the heck does that mean?

Maybe the Bills were right to replace their offensive coordinator change, winning two games in a row. Perhaps Buffalo is righting its season. Miami could be in for a long year, while the Jets can’t seem to get themselves figured out.

Former Redskin and Cowboy tight end Jean Fugett was a Pro Bowler in 1977 and a starter in Super Bowl X.

Pittsburgh and Baltimore are 3-1. That sounds like a re-run. Cleveland at 0-4 is something we have seen before. But Cincinnati at 2-2 is unexpected, and now the Bengals have to go to Dallas to continue their tough early schedule.

Andrew Luck continues to take a beating. How incompetent is the organization to have this kind of line blocking for Luck? The Jaguars had a much-needed win, while the Texans maintain control of the AFC South by beating the Titans even without J.J. Watt. Still, losing Watt is a huge blow to their season aspirations in Houston.

The Chargers are 1-3, and their coach Mike McCoy has to be in trouble. San Diego has done 1-3 the hard way by blowing two 13-point leads in the fourth quarter this season. Last Sunday, the Chargers turned the ball over on their final three drives. The week before that, they lost after giving up a touchdown of over 60 yards to the Colts in the final two minutes of a game they should have won with ease. Then you think back to Week 1 when San Diego blew that huge lead against the Chiefs. The Chargers are going to have trouble the rest of the year because of what has already happened with losses like this that linger and ultimately haunt the team.


Dallas continues to play well with a rookie combination carrying the offense. The Redskins took advantage of the Browns as expected. The Giants lost to a good Vikings team, and it appears that the poor Giants were given a terrible schedule. Next, they play on Sunday night in Green Bay with the Packers coming off a bye. Challenging for sure!

Minnesota remains undefeated and looks like a legit Super Bowl contender. Detroit and Chicago are 1-3; some in Detroit who thought the Lions would be better are disappointed now.

The worm has turned in the NFC South with Atlanta taking control of the division. Julio Jones became the sixth player in NFL history to achieve a 300-yard receiving game. Carolina now 1-3 is a huge shocker to many. However, some of us knew the Panthers were in trouble this year because of what has already happened. Cam Newton has been hit 45 times through four games and is now in the league’s concussion protocol. In the old days, players would take ammonia salts, sniff them, and go back into the game. Fortunately, now a doctor, not a coach, makes the decision if the player can play, putting a lot of pressure on the doctor, the player and the team. New Orleans may not be finished at 1-3. The Saints have Drew Brees and play an exciting brand of football with their explosive offense.

In the West, what is going on? Arizona at 1-3? Seattle tied for first place in the NFC West is not a surprise, but being tied with the Rams is a big surprise! With Carson Palmer in the league’s concussion protocol, it may be difficult for the Cardinals to get back in the race this season.


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