Ryan Kuehl

       Our last day of real tough, physical work is over, and most players are happy when Thursday comes and goes. I include myself. We really got knee-deep in Tennessee today. Whereas Wednesday is more of a run-oriented day, Thursday is more of a pass-oriented day. The schedule is exactly the same as yesterday, with just two different emphases.
       Tennessee is a damn good football team. Even though their record doesn’t show it, they are a very aggressive, physical bunch of guys. Their best offensive player is Eddie George, No. 27. This guy is a big, physical running back who makes linebackers look small. As we say, guys “pull their dress up” when this guy comes at them with the ball. Besides George, they have quarterback Steve McNair and a host of talented receivers who help complete a good offense.
       The offensive line is where I do my major studying. The Oilers have a real good group. They are led by Bruce Matthews, their right guard. This guy is an “old pro.” By that I mean he knows every trick in the book. I hate guys like that. Basically, all of them are smart, physical guys who can play.
       Since I am on defense I know everything about their offense, and nothing about their defense. That is just how it is done in the NFL. Study only what concerns you and your job. If we take care of our job on defense, then the worst we will do is tie, 0-0.
       Tomorrow we’ll be done by 12:30 p.m. We go out on the field at 11:00 for about one and a half hours. We go out in helmets and a soft shell of a pad to protect our shoulders. It is a very mental day. There should be no mental errors tomorrow! I am glad there is no hitting tomorrow because I have some serious nagging injuries.
       The NFL is in week eight, and this is the time when these injuries start to appear. Right now, I have tendonitis in my left wrist, strained tendons in my left hip, and a tight back. A lot of guys have these types of injuries now. As coaches say, “We are hurting, not injured!” To help us get on the field every day, we spend a lot of time in the training room. The Redskins have some real good trainers and they take good care of us. Today, for example, I took some anti-inflammatory medicine, iced my hip, heated my back, and tried to gain some strength back in my wrist with the weights. All this takes time during the day. I always try to steal time over the course of the day to take care of my body. We earn a living with our bodies, so most guys make the extra effort to take care of themselves. If you can’t play, you have a chance to lose your job.
       We will leave for Tennessee on Saturday at about 12:30 p.m. The Oilers are playing at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis until their new stadium in Nashville is ready. When we arrive, by charter, we go straight to the stadium for our walk-through. The best part of traveling for games is flying back after a big win, and enjoying a beer. Guys sitting around, talking about this play or that play. The sense of accomplishment is what I really love about football. Of course, that plane ride sucks if you lose. I absolutely hate losing. If I don’t play one play and we win, I will not say a word. I just want to win! Well, hopefully we can do it in Tennessee.