Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Joe Robillard's NFL experience



































JOE ROBILLARD



Linfield Class of 1969

Came to Linfield from Hood River High School, Hood River, Ore.

6-1and 200



Recruited to Linfield to play football. Lettered (1965, 1966, 1967 and 1968) in that sports for coaches Paul Durham and Ad Rutschman. Also lettered in track & field in 1966, 1967, 1968 and 1969. He was Northwest Conference champ in both the high and intermediate (400 meter) hurdles and also ran on relay teams



DRAFTED BY SAINTS
Drafted by the NFL New Orleans Saints in (13th round, 319th pick) of 1969 NFL draft.



PRO SCOUTS
“I was generally not aware there were pro scouts at Linfield practices watching me. I suspect coaches Durham and Rutschman didn’t want disruption in practices. Knowing scouts were there could have caused that. After practices, I do remember talking to scouts for Green Bay, Atlanta and Detroit. They would talk to me a bit and get my height and weight and that was about it. I suspect they scouted big school players during games and small school players during practices. I never recall a pro scout watching me play in a game for Linfield.”



DIDN’T SIGN
After I was drafted, a Saints scout game to campus. But, I’m sure to the scout’s surprise I declined to sign their offer sheet. I may have been one of the original contract “hold outs.”



Perhaps even more amazing when I think back on it is that fact I went to the two week Saints Rookie camp in New Orleans without a contract. But, that didn’t last long.



I was called to an office and met with two Saints officials and the team attorney. They made it clear that I would not be allowed to practice without signing a contract. They had me. I was 2,000 miles from home. The Saints paid for a one-way plane ticket (Portland to New Orleans). If I didn’t sign, I wasn’t going to practice. I would not get the $15 per diem. Here I was in the office with the three of them. I thought, “I’ve got them right where I wanted them.” But, of course, the reality is they had me right where they wanted me. I signed.



ROOKIE CAMP
It went well for me. I was He was invited back to the Saints regular camp with the veterans at Cal-Western University in San Diego. I played in two pre-season games. But, I was cut after the second.



TRAINING CAMP
It was all about who was the biggest and baddest. We fought with each other all during practice. But, after practice we’d go out for a beer.



PREPARATION?
We didn't run pro schemes at Linfield so there were adjustments I had to make. Division 1 players on teams that ran pro schemes didn’t have many adjustments to make.



LINFIELD KNOWN? With two exceptions – a player from Hawaii who had played Linfield and a player from Oregon State, Linfield was an unknown.



SKILL LEVEL
Training camp and pre-season game experience showed me my skill level was not a significant step up from Linfield But because I was a late round draft choice I understood I was not going to be allowed many "do-overs" In hindsight, I should have spent time with a couple of Division 1 buddies on the team to better understand defensive schemes. If I’d done that I could have "reacted" rather than have to think through coverages.



DISAPPOINTED NOT TO HAVE PLAYED IN THE NFL? 
It probably worked out for the best for me. Money wasn't huge back in the 1960's. Minimum salary was $14,000.  Today, I can still walk and remember my name.



WATCHING FOOTBALL IN PERSON AND ON TV
I love watching college and pro football. Seeing my son, Matt Robillard, play football for Miami University of Ohio was especially enjoyable.



POSTSCRIPT – Joe played baseball for Linfield. Read story http://bit.ly/1L1sLmN

JOE ROBILLARD PHOTO INFORMATION:

-Baseball player Joe Robillard in Linfield Review, April 11, 1968

-Joe Robillard on cover of L&C at Linfield home game Oct. 5, 1968, printed program

-Clipping from Feb. 6, 1969, Linews story by Chuck Humble about Bob Haack, Joe Robillard, NFL draft

-Clipping, perhaps from a 1969 issue of the McMinnville News-Register, about Bob Haack, Joe Robillard, NLF draft


-Linfield Sports Info publicity photos