Ron Medved felt fortunate to have a pair of heavyweights in his corner when he was chosen by the Eagles in the 14th round of the 1966 draft.
"Joe Kuharich was the coach at the time," said Medved. "And when he was at Notre Dame, before he came to Philadelphia, he wanted to recruit me out of high school, but I chose to go to Washington. So when I first saw Joe (following the draft), we had a little laugh over that he eventually got me four years later.
"The other part of the story is that I found out once I got to Philadelphia, Ed Snider, who is now over at the Flyers, was part of the Eagles' management, and I was one of Ed's long-shots. He had some influence on draft day to have me picked."
Even after having been featured in a Life magazine article about having his wedding on the same day as the NFL's draft, Medved knew that while the recognition was fine on paper, he would certainly have to produce on the field at Philadelphia's training camp.
|DB/LB Ron Medved in action|
"I was a running back in college and the consensus was that if I was going to get a chance to play in the league, I was going to need to switch positions and become a safety," Medved said. "I had played both ways some in college so it wasn't that I was unfamiliar with playing in the secondary. But I really was fortunate that while there were a number of us competing to make the team, at least there was a spot to win. Joe Scarpati was the in-place free safety. Nate Ramsey was the in-place strong safety. But there was a backup position that was available.
"It took me a while to learn how to play (strong safety). It's a tough position to succeed at. But I think I was also a good special teams player, and that can often make the difference between a rookie sticking and not."
Medved stuck around and did indeed make a contribution on special teams. The Eagles posted a 9-5 record in '66 and advanced to the postseason, where they lost to Baltimore in the Playoff Bowl. However, despite winning three of the first four games the following season, Philadelphia's momentum and Medved's knee both broke down midway through the schedule.
"I'd just worked my way into the starting lineup and had a real good game (on Oct. 29 against the Cowboys) with two interceptions (off of Craig Morton) and we ended up beating Dallas (21-14). The very next week, we went down to New Orleans and played the expansion Saints and I got my injury and was out the rest of the year. And the same day (Pro Bowl offensive tackle) Bob Brown got a knee injury and so did (veteran tight end) Mike Ditka. So injuries had a lot to do with it."
After rehabilitating his knee, Medved returned the next year. Unfortunately for the Eagles, the rash of injuries did as well. What didn't show up, however, as evidenced by a 2-12 record, were victories.
"The '68 season was the season to forget in all kinds of ways. It was painful," Medved chuckled. "We did have a lot of injuries that year. So much so, that I actually played four games at linebacker. That was a real interesting experience. I was 195 pounds! The first game I played as linebacker, they kind of kept it secret. We were playing the Redskins, and on the first defensive play (quarterback) Sonny Jurgensen came up to the line of scrimmage and took one look at me and called an audible. So I didn't stay unknown very long.
"Obviously, they ran at me a lot. I'd like to think I did OK, but eventually they took me out. It was kind of out of mercy or something. I thought it was a great experience, though. When I get together with people like (former teammates Gary) Pettigrew and (Tim) Rossovich, we still laugh about my linebacker days."
These days, Medved, who spent five seasons with the Eagles, works as the vice president of business development for the Seattle-based Pacific Institute, a global education and consulting firm.
"We research psychology, the part that especially relates to performance and people skills on the job," said Medved. "We package that into seminars, multimedia products, and deliver that out to the world. In addition to business, we work with government, military organizations and education. The institute is 40 years old, so over the years, we've reached a lot of different society segments.
"We're not teaching people abnormal psychology, we're teaching people positive psychology. We're teaching them what research has been telling us lately about what's right with people, how people become creative, how they accomplish goals, and how to treat each other in more dignified ways. That translates into good business. There's a lot of satisfaction that comes just by making workplaces healthier and this work extends into the family life of our clients. After all of these years, I feel that it's been a really worthy career and I've made a difference."
Making his home in suburban Seattle with his wife, Calli, Medved has two adult children. His son, Shawn, enjoyed a 10-year professional soccer career which included playing several seasons in the MLS. He's now coaching his daughters: Brianne, 14, and Madison, 12, in the Olympic Development Team Program. Medved's daughter, Erin, a buyer for Costco, is responsible for the housewares acquisitions for the chain's North American stores.