Pat Dye always called him a thoroughbred. Had things gone differently, we might have called him a Stallion.
Yes, lost in the tug of war between baseball and football, between the NFL and the MLB, was that Bo Jackson was in the spring of 1986 being courted by a third professional sports league. It wasn’t just rumors of phone calls or whatever. He met with team officials. There was a press conference. There he is in a photo with Stallions’ president Jerry Sklar (who may have killed Richard Kimble’s wife), yet despite how weird it would have been, everyone at least looks serious. (Hey, it had kinda worked for Herschel. And the USFL had actually bagged the past three Heisman Trophy winners.)
Bo even said Stallions coach Ronnie Dotsch was “the kind of guy you can win big with.”
But the main takeaway from the reports on this forgotten story line in the Which Way, Bo? chronicles is that The Greatest was simply humoring the USFL, just for kicks. The man just liked options. He liked doors. And, nice guy that he was, he didn’t want anyone to feel excluded from the daydream of what he might bring to their organization, especially one that was helping out the hometown.
“All my doors are open until one day in June,” he told reporters. “The reason I’m waiting is to give everyone a fair shot. Birmingham is my home. Why shouldn’t I talk here when I’ve been going all around the country talking to other people.”
“Birmingham will always be my home. You can never forget where you come from.”
Bo in Birmingham? That probably would have turned Stallions’ games into the leagues best-attended by a mile.
Principle owner Harold Ripps nodded along and said he was happy for the chance to “see if there is some way we can keep (Bo) in Alabama to play football.”
Then Bo started talking about the produce aisle.
“I’m in the supermarket shopping. I’m going to examine all the fruit before I pick one.”
He probably picked wisely.