Washington swallowed up ball carriers
by Lee Goddard 10:43 PM, Aug 14, 2010 pro CORPUS CHRISTI -
The fame and the credit never went Ted Washington’s way, but the ball carriers did.
Houston Oilers’ opponents ran away from the weak side, avoiding linebacker Robert Brazile and defensive end Elvin Bethea. The middle was packed by nose guard Curley Culp and linebacker Gregg Bingham.
So the runners headed right into Washington, rarely making it beyond him.
Washington, never a Pro Bowler during his 10-year Oilers career, still was a cornerstone of the Houston defense with 907 career tackles. His play was recognized by Caller.com readers, who voted him to the all-time Houston pro football team, with Washington at outside linebacker, again opposite of Brazile.
“Heck of a player. You just couldn’t run to his side,” said Bum Phillips, who coached Washington from 1975 through 1980. “He was built like a brick house. You couldn’t move him. Impossible to run on if the defensive end and the corner held up.”
The 6-foot-1, 244-pound Washington, who retired after the 1982 season, recorded 45 career sacks, only three fewer than seven-time Pro Bowler Brazile.
Brazile believes the glut of all-star linebackers during the 1970s forced Washington from the limelight. During that decade, Brazile, Tom Jackson of the Denver Broncos, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Jack Ham and Andy Russell and Ted Hendricks and Phil Villapiano of the Oakland Raiders picked up most of the honors at that position.
“A lot of people don’t give Teddy credit,” Brazile said. “I was a fast linebacker and a lot of people ran away from me. But Teddy never let them turn the corner. You would lose the battle when going against Ted Washington.”
It took the next generation for the Washington family to get their due. Washington’s son, Ted Jr., made the Pro Bowl four times.
Still, the Oilers believe the original was as good.
“He was the rock,” said Willie Alexander, who patrolled the same side of the field with Washington for seven seasons. “He was probably one of the strongest men I ever have seen. He was a short, stocky guy who was very quick, very fast, perfect for his position.”
OLB TED WASHINGTON
Career: Houston Oilers (1973-1982).
Notable: Made 907 career tackles, third all-time in Oilers history. Had 45 career sacks, including 11 in 1974 to lead the team. Eight-year starter.
Outside Linebacker Poll
Readers were asked to vote on Caller.com for an all-time Houston pro football team, with a parameter being that players were to be judged only on their performance with the Oilers and Texans. The following is the result of voting for outside linebackers. Two were selected to the team.
*Robert Brazile 82
*Ted Washington 41
George Webster 32
Doug Cline 2