Bills head coach Doug Marrone worked to scrape and claw his way onto an NFL roster several times before he got into coaching full time. The Pittsburgh Steelers were one of the rosters where he tried to earn a role. That’s why pulling up the road in Latrobe to St. Vincent college Wednesday for the Bills-Steelers joint practices brought back a few memories.
“I remember walking out we used to run down the hill before practice to get ready to go with Coach Noll,” said Marrone. “I remember – I don’t know if they still do – do they still wear the black jerseys without the numbers on them? Most of the guys in the room didn’t even realize that. I must be getting old. We had these black uniforms and it was hot. We used to call them burlap sacks on top. They were tough. I just remember we used to run with our pads on with Coach Noll. I just real quickly went through that in my mind when I saw the fields.”
Marrone also had one personal interaction with Coach Noll on the field during his time on the Steelers’ preseason roster.
“I was always intrigued about how intelligent he was about everything, not just the sport of football,” said Marrone of Noll. “Not being a very good football player and being on the look team, I’ll never forget Coach Noll used to jump in. I remember one practice he played the defensive end and I was playing the defensive tackle giving our offense a look during a walkthrough. I remember him explaining to me about a TE twist and an ET twist and how it came about and how the names were Exit and Texas. I just remember him explaining that to me.
“I thought it was pretty cool for him to talk to a guy that probably wasn’t going to make the roster and give me a bit of a history lesson. I just remember that when we used to leave here and go play in Pittsburgh they’d say, ‘Better get up before Coach Noll because if you pass him on the highway, he’s going take down your plate and he’s going to get after you for speeding.’ Those are just some things I remember.”
Tags: Bills-Steelers joint practices, Chuck Noll, Doug Marrone
Posted in Inside the Bills