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Barbara Terry interview with Lee Roy Jordan

Lee Roy Jordan is a famed, storied former middle linebacker who played for “Bear” Bryant at Alabama, and for the Dallas Cowboys for 14 years in the ’60s and 70s. Lee Roy won a National Championship while attend­ing Alabama as part of a perfect 11-0 season in 1962, and he is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. In his pro career, Lee Roy was a five-time Pro Bowler and a two-time All-Pro. He played in three Super Bowls and has one ring.

What was your first car?

A 1951 Ford. I bought it my senior year in high school to go off to college in. It was a beautiful maroon. It was a few years old, but it was very nice. My older brother went and helped me pick it out. I wanted someone else’s judgment on it to make sure I was getting the right car for the right price.

How long did you keep it?

I guess, four years – right before my senior year in college. Then I traded it in on a brand new 1961 Chevy Impala. That was kind of fun. I kept that car a few years, until I came to Dallas and signed my con­tract.

So you switched from Ford to Chevy?

Yes. And, with my signing, I got a new car – a 1963 Riviera. It was the first year Buick made that car and I thought it was the most beautiful thing I ever saw. I came to Dallas and went to the showroom at the dealership. I was so excited about it and felt like that was my one sports car, part of my bonus deal.

What color was that sweet ride?

It was beige, and really nice. A two-door sports car, Riviera was around for 15 years or so. Buick made it that long, but the first year was the most beautiful one of all.

How long did you keep it?

About four years. We started having children, and did the typical thing and got a station wagon.

How many kids do you have?

Three boys. We love them so much and enjoy them. Now we have three daughters-in-law, and six grand­daughters and one grandson. Number seven was a boy. I’m proud of all my grandchildren, but having a boy meant something to a male like me, having a male to carry on the name.

Great.

I decided to get back on the subject of autos with the happy, pleasant legend sitting before me.

What do you listen to when you drive?

Elvis is my favorite. Alabama, I really love. Willy Nelson is one of my favorites. I’ve seen him a number of times. We used to go with him to a golf tournament up in New Mexico. Charlie Pride had a golf tourna­ment up there we used to raise funds for. Mark Cashen and a group of us would go up; a lot of the pickers and singers were there. Charlie Pride and all of his entourage. We’d get on Willie Nelson’s bus, and they would pass the guitar around and one per­son would sing a hit song and then another. It was a wonderful experience. Charlie Pride is one of my favorite people.

So, do you like classic country music?

Hank Williams Junior is great. We saw Willie two weeks ago and we saw him again last night, so we keep up with Willie and the boys.

Right up my alley! What about Merle Haggard?

Merle Haggard is another favorite. Love his music. Definitely one of the great all-time guys.

Tell me about what you drive now.

I drive a Toyota Sequoia SUV. I have my golf clubs and shotgun and hunting bag – everything in the back of it, and I keep it there. If I want to shoot skeet, I just go in my truck. I get my dogs and put them in the trailer and go hunting.

So it totally suits your needs and it’s versatile.

Yes. I’m not a car buff. I want something that suits me, gets me to and from and gets me back and forth and car­ries my stuff. We take a lot of trips to Alabama, my wife and I have a home there. We’re always going to and fro, carrying stuff. The two of us, we carry a lot of clothes and golf stuff, so we have to have a bigger vehicle.

And what year is it?

An ’06. It’s probably got 40,000 miles on it. I don’t put a lot of miles on it, but I put a few going back and forth to Alabama.

What’s you favorite color combination when it comes to vehicles?

I like the lighter colors – grey or tan – my favorite col­ors. I have a white one right now. I like something

dust doesn’t show up on. I couldn’t have a black car, it would drive me crazy. I’m nuts about keeping things clean, so I’d be washing it every day.

What’s the fastest you’ve ever driven?

I was at one of the race tracks out in California and did some training. They showed us how to drive race cars. I got up to 120 and that was exciting. On the roads. I’m kind of a five miles an hour above the limit guy. The police won’t likely give me a ticket at five over the limit.

I went 10 over the speed limit today and got one. I used to be able to beat tickets when I lived here in Texas, but being from out-of-state now, he wasn’t buying it. What do you think about hybrids?

I’m interested. I’ll probably buy one next. If the econ­omy improves, I might do that soon. I’m conservative and I like to save money. There’s some vehicles I wouldn’t use because the engine sounds like it’s guz­zling gas.

Like the big Hummers?

Yes, and Cadillac Escalades and all that. They have the big engine, but the engine sounds like it gets no gas mileage and they don’t. Eight to 10 miles to the gallon, I’d imagine.

Did you ever see a teammate’s car or truck and say,

‘Hey I have to have one of those?’

Yeah, Randy White’s truck. He and Mark always had nice big Ford trucks. I got some, but they weren’t nice. I don’t trade often. I keep them a good while.

Do you prefer to lease or own your vehicles out­right?

I’m a pay-to-own kind of guy. Leasing, they say, is cheaper than buying, but I might keep a vehicle five years and I might drive it two and hand it down to my kid. They might drive it three or four more years, so I think you get more bang for your buck that way.

Do you have a dream car, or have you ever had your eye on a car you wanted and didn’t pull the trigger on?

No, I really never had that. I probably had some trucks I wanted for hunting purposes that I couldn’t justify purchasing because I don’t hunt enough. I’ll buy something used, or a dealer car. I bought a Ford Excursion from a dealer’s son and got a good deal.

It’s my hunting truck.

What hobbies do you enjoy?

I love quail hunting. That’s my favorite thing. I hope we’ll soon get back to where we have more quail around here. I like to play golf. I love riding horses. I have had too many, so my wife tells me. I had the pleas­ure of turning one of my horses over to my granddaugh­ters – a horse I hunted quail on – and these girls take such good care of him. And he’s so gentle and he takes such good care of them. I’m so excited they’re learning about horse riding at such a young age, and I have fun with them.

I love quail and dove hunting. Just to be able to get out and breathe the outdoors, sport my camo gear and take it all in! How is the dove hunting in Alabama compared to Texas?

Somewhat good. We have some good dove hunting in Alabama. We go out in Albany, northeast of Abilene, a good place to find doves. I didn’t have a company dove hunt this year, but there’s been some good dove hunting in the past.

Have you ever had a bad accident in a vehicle?

No. I really have been very fortunate. I’ve had fender benders. I did hit one person from behind, not paying attention. I was going a bit too fast on the freeway and cars stopped. I probably hit them at about 15 miles an hour and we bent our cars up, but I’ve been blessed that way.

What does your wife think about your choice in vehi­cles?

Well, she kind of lets me do my own thing. I want to be in my vehicles and she insists the car be big enough to take both of our stuff because, when we go to Alabama, we take ALL our stuff – our clothes, golf clubs, she took four potted plants last time. All that fun stuff.

Do you like cars over trucks, or SUVs because you get the best of both worlds?

I like SUVs, something that sits up higher than low cars. I like visibility. I think it’s much safer, maybe not for the lower cars, but I like height, so SUVs fit that. And I like space in the seats so I can get in and move my legs around. I’ve had two knees replaced and I have to have some space.

What was your favorite vehicle? The Ford? The Chevy? The Buick?

My favorite was the 1963 Buick Riviera. It was so beauti­ful. We had Cadillacs and Lexuses, but that was my favorite. I like the Lexus. My wife has a convertible I gave her last year – a Siebring, Chrysler, hard-top convertible – and it looks terrific. When the top is up, it’s a hard-top, but when it’s a convertible, it’s sharp too.

That’s a good fit for her.

Yeah, because she takes our granddaughters out and they ride in the back like Miss America.

Awesome visual. I want to go back to something we started with earlier and get in-depth. Do you think that the Buick is your favorite because it had to do with sign­ing your first Dallas Cowboys bonus?

Probably. It was the first sports car – or only one -1 ever owned. All my other cars were four-doors to carry a bunch of people. That was a two-door and I was single then. I married my wife a year and a half later.

Where do you think that car is now?

Oh, man, I don’t know. You mean that exact car? I don’t have any idea.

We should do a VIN search to see if we can locate it.

I don’t think they go back that far. My favorite car now, though, is a 1958 International pick-up that was my wife’s grandfather’s. I had it restored 10 years ago. It’s a 3 in the tree stick.

Wow, such a collector’s item. They made a great product

Yeah, and I’m so proud of it because it was her grandfather’s. It primarily sat in the garage for years, and I had it painted and restored like new. We take it out at our property when we go on Thanksgiving, and we get it out and drive it around and the grandkids get in the back. We have a great time.

What color is it?

It’s a light blue. My wife asked me why not make it a forest green because of all the trees up there. With the territory we have, we have woodlands on the river. That’s where our lodge is, right there in Tuscaloosa by where the football team plays. We go there and watch football games, and this pick-up is as cute as can be. I wanted to restore it to its origi­nal, or I was talked into it, and she thinks it should be a forest green to match all the pine trees we have up at the lodge.

Paint it camouflage and you’ll blend in!

Yeah, great idea. (LAUGHTER)

Being a huge Cowboys fan, I was thrilled to get to inter­view this Cowboys legend about his experiences with vehicles throughout life and his tastes in automobiles. In fact, truth be told, though I love all of the Cowboys, Lee Boy Jordan is my favorite legend of all time, so I was roar­ing to get this one started.


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