Charles Mann on how his passion for learning paid off on the football field ~
“. . .that [play] book was thick and I memorized, I mean, I took in all that information and had it down and those last few years of my football career were effortless “
Andy Ockershausen: This is Our Town, this is Andy Ockershausen and delightful guest today is, one of our favorites from the glory days of the Washington Redskins, but we’re not here to talk about the Redskins. We’re talking about a man names Charles Mann, number 71, who’ll always be remembered as a co-End with Dexter Manley.
Charles Mann: That’s true. That’s a good way to be remembered.
Andy Ockershausen: Those were the glory years.
Charles Mann: Two extremes. One extreme to the other extreme.
Andy Ockershausen: But Charles, you’ve had such a wonderful career beyond football, I mean, all the things that you’ve done and your accomplishments are, I think, great lessons for the young players, that there’s life after football. You proved it.
Charles Mann – Passion for Learning Paid Off on Football Field
Charles Mann: You know, Joe Gibbs told me this, and I never knew this and now I’m starting to brag ’cause you know, as more time … and this is my 22nd year out of the league so, the longer you’re out of the league, the more embellishments come.
Anyway, but this is the truth, Joe Gibbs told me that I scored the highest on the test that they give players to see their football aptitude and it’s called the, I can’t even think of the name of the test. But, it’s very well known.
Andy Ockershausen: A league wide test, correct?
Charles Mann: A league wide test that they give … they’d give it at the Combine I believe. But, they tested me and it’s not an aptitude, it’s a football aptitude test. It’s how many concepts, how much information can they take in and deal with-
Andy Ockershausen: What can you absorb, correct?
Charles Mann: Yeah so, I never knew though, that I had a passion for learning. And I had a passion for learning and it transferred from the football field. We had this thick binder that Torgy Torgeson and Larry Peccatiello and-
Andy Ockershausen: All the assistant coaches.
Charles Mann: Yeah, that, I mean … and Petitbon, the main guy, but that book was thick and I memorized, I mean, I took in all that information and had it down and those last few years of my football career were effortless.
Andy Ockershausen: You were way ahead.
Work Smarter, Not Harder – Career Related Surgery
Charles Mann: Well, what you wanna do in life is, you wanna work smarter, not harder, you know? And so I began to apply my skills and my brain over those physical skills that are starting to slow down and wear down … I just two years ago, December 21, 2015, I had back surgery, L3-L4. I had it 0n December 21 and I remembered very well-
Andy Ockershausen: Did the league pay for that surgery?
Charles Mann: No.
Andy Ockershausen: That was you?
Charles Mann: Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: You were out of it long enough so couldn’t blame it on them.
Charles Mann: No, they should … No, it definitely was from my career.
Andy Ockershausen: Football related.
Charles Mann: Everything I have is from my career, but you have to go through a whole bunch of trials and tribulations and prove a bunch of stuff and by the time you have the surgery, you should have had it two years prior. So I always have insurance-
Andy Ockershausen: So you just got it done.
Charles Mann: So I just go have the insurance and pay for it, but I had it done-
Andy Ockershausen: Let’s talk about the old Charles Mann.
Charles Mann: No, but let me tell you this though, I had it done as a gift to myself. That’s why I had it on December 21. This was my Christmas gift, I was not gonna have anymore doggone back pain.
Andy Ockershausen: Good for you.
Charles Mann: My wife was so mad at me. She said, you will not have another surgery around the holidays when I have to do everything. So, anyway-
Andy Ockershausen: Charles-
Charles Mann: 33 years of marriage, I’ve learned to listen to my wife.
Andy Ockershausen: Well coming back before the marriage, when you go back to Sacramento-
Charles Mann: Yes.
Andy Ockershausen: You went to high school in Sacramento, you went to grade school-
Family Background and Growing Up in Sacramento, CA
Charles Mann: I went to Valley High, high school in Sacramento, the Vikings.
Andy Ockershausen: Wow.
Charles Mann: Southern Sacramento.
Andy Ockershausen: Well then you got hit by the fires, those fires were all up in Napa Valley, right?
Charles Mann: Yeah, they never made it down from the wine country to sea level, where we lived.
Andy Ockershausen: And your family is from California, from Sacramento?
Charles Mann: Well, my momma is from El Paso, Texas and my dad was from Alton Illinois.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s perfect-
Charles Mann: They met at an Air Force Base in El Paso, Texas and then migrated to LA and then from LA to Sacramento.
Andy Ockershausen: Who was in the Air Force, your dad or your mom?
Charles Mann: My dad. He was in the Korean war.
Andy Ockershausen: And what was your mom, working on the base?
Charles Mann: My mom was raising eight children.
Andy Ockershausen: Wow.
Charles Mann: Yeah, actually it’s a neat story, I don’t have time to tell it here, but we just met number eight. I’ve only known number eight, my eighth sibling, only for about seven years.
Andy Ockershausen: Is that right?
Charles Mann: And back in those days, in the early 60’s and 70’s-
Andy Ockershausen: In El Paso, were they still there?
Charles Mann: No, and they were in Sacramento. I was born in Sacramento, but-
Andy Ockershausen: Was he transferred to California? I’m only asking to find out how’s he get from El Paso-
Charles Mann: No, he did his five years or whatever, in the Korean war, as an ambulance driver and then he retired, or not retired, he was only in his 20s, but left there and went to LA, lived in LA for a couple of years and then moved on to Sacramento.
Andy Ockershausen: Took the family?
Charles Mann: I was born in Sacramento, myself, my younger sister and this brother that we didn’t know.
Andy Ockershausen: So you went through the California school system, which is very good I’m told, Sacramento.
Moving Story – On Meeting his Baby Brother, Walter, for the First Time 7 Years Ago
Charles Mann: Yeah, so black folks did their own adoptions. They did their own private adoptions. And so, when number eight came out, which was Walter, he was the fifth boy of our family along with three girls. He never came home from the hospital. He went right to a family that was a little bit older, that couldn’t have children. And so my mother, her sister, told her about this family and so, reluctantly my father was not for it, but he was gonna listen to his wife, so they gave Walter up.
Well, we just found Walter about seven years ago-
Andy Ockershausen: Wow, he’s back in your family.
Charles Mann: He grew up in LA and he ended up getting a criminal justice degree at University of Oregon. I almost went to Oregon State. We never knew each other, I knew his name was Walter, it was Walter Malone before he changed it back.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s some story.
Charles Mann: It is a really neat story. It’s a neat story, my sister was working in the nursing career and one day about eight years ago, nine years ago she said, hey, you wanna find Walter? And we all knew about Walter. My father is now deceased. If my father was still alive, we probably wouldn’t be talking about Walter, because it was such a sore subject for him because he didn’t wanna leave his son or give his son away.
But anyway, so I said, yeah let’s find him. She said, I’m working with this coworker and she does it as a hobby, she finds people. I said, well go ahead, let her try to find him. So the next day she calls me back while she’s at work again and she says, they narrowed it down to three people and she gave me the names … this was Walter Malone, and then I said okay. So she said, do you want me to go further? I said, yeah, find him.
And then she found him. She now knew it was this one guy, Walter Malone. He was an LA police officer. I said, oh my God. And then so, I said okay, let me talk to him. So she got a number, she said, let me … And I said, I’m not gonna tell Mom about him unless he’s nice and not angry.
Andy Ockershausen: He’s gotta fit, right?
First Connection and Catching Up
Charles Mann: No, I don’t want him to be angry at my mother. You know, my mother is now in her late 70s, I don’t want her to go down … I want her to live her last bit of her life happy. So anyway, I talked to Walter. We had about a three hour conversation. As soon as he answered the phone I said, he sounds like Donald, one of my other brothers. I know he’s my brother.
Andy Ockershausen: Same genes.
Charles Mann: And so, we talked, I filled him in on all the cousins, all the drama in the family, all the mess, stay away from this cousin, don’t talk to that person. And then when my daughter went to USC, we got to meet him. So we were taking my daughter, we were dropping my daughter off in LA and we said, okay, let’s meet in a public place. So we met him at the mall.
Andy Ockershausen: Did he look like you at all?
Meeting for the First Time – Undeniable Family Resemblance
Charles Mann: Well he was … we were about 100 yards off and he was walking up with his family and my wife and my daughter and I were walking that way and I said, that’s him. That’s him.
Andy Ockershausen: Tall?
Charles Mann: Big guy. He’s burly. He was 6’4. 6’3-6’4. I’m 6’6, I have a brother 6’9, a brother 6’4, another brother 6’3.
Andy Ockershausen: Where’d the height come from, your mom or your dad?
Charles Mann: My mom. My mom is 5’10. My dad was 6 feet but, my mom … my grandfather was 6 feet 1.
Andy Ockershausen: I gotcha.
Charles Mann: And he died, he was born in 1910. He was 6 feet.
Andy Ockershausen: Was he from Texas, your grandfather?
Charles Mann: Yes.
Andy Ockershausen: So Charles, that’s a marvelous story of a family doing something very constructive and very important at the time, that they do this. So Walter is now part of your family and vice versa.
Charles Mann: He’s number eight, he’s the baby. He’s the baby, yeah. Walter the baby.
Andy Ockershausen: But Charles, how in the world did you go from Sacramento to University of Nevada, Reno?
Sacramento Bee Paper Route at 12 | Lucky’s Supermarket Courtesy Clerk | Senior Year High School Football
Charles Mann: I only played one year of high school football. I was working. With seven of us … raise seven of us, eight, Walter wasn’t around but, with seven of us I couldn’t ask my parents for a lot of stuff. My father worked two jobs, my mother took care of us and then she got out in the work force as well. My dad was a truck driver for JC Penney’s, California almond growers and some other … he ended up with Penney’s at the end.
And then my mother was a key punch operator. So a data processor.
Andy Ockershausen: The old key punch days, yeah.
Charles Mann: At Mather Air Force Base in Sacramento. And so, I worked at 10 years old … at 12 years old I had a paper route for the Sacramento Bee.
Andy Ockershausen: One of the worlds great newspapers incidentally.
Charles Mann: Really?
Andy Ockershausen: Oh yeah, the Bee, world famous.
Some Good Advice from Older Brother
Charles Mann: And then I was a courtesy clerk at Lucky’s supermarket. A courtesy clerk is a bagger, and I was a pretty good bagger. Anyway, and I did that all the way through my sophomore and junior year and I did not have the strength to ask to quit. But I wanted to play football and so it took my older brother, Stanford grad, a medical doctor, to say, what are you gonna do? You keep talking about playing football, do you know you have to go to college to play football? I said, really? He said, yeah, if you wanna play professional football, you gotta go to college. I said, oh okay.
So, I finally got up enough nerve that summer, the summer of my senior year, coming up senior year-
Andy Ockershausen: In high school?
Nervous over Quitting Supermarket to Play Football – “I’m not a quitter.”
Charles Mann: In high school. I finally asked, I went up to the guy and I was sweating and I was nervous and I asked, could I quit? I asked him, could I quit. And he said, when were you gonna … I was waiting … what took so long? I know you wanted to play college football. And I said, well I just didn’t … I’m not a quitter. And that was something built into me a long time ago.
So, I went out for the football team, thank God, because the coaches were harassing me the previous years.
Andy Ockershausen: To get you to play.
College Recruitment – Decision to Play at University of Nevada, Reno
Charles Mann: Yeah, to get me to play. And I just had a really good season my senior year, and a lot of … I had went to Oregon, the Beavers. So, that was Oregon State, I had went to their football camp at ninth grade, so they had me on their radar. So I got a full ride scholarship from them and I got a scholarship from the University of Nevada at Reno. And I took the University of Nevada at Reno for two reasons. One-
Andy Ockershausen: It’s close to Sacramento.
Charles Mann: I had already had a knee operation. I had my first knee operation playing street football and so I knew I didn’t wanna play on that AstroTurf. And AstroTurf back then, you could just slide your hand on it and it would cut your whole hand up. It was like, it was crazy back then.
So I knew I didn’t wanna play on AstroTurf, so I took the natural grass and-
Andy Ockershausen: In Nevada.
Charles Mann: I went from Big 10 or big time school to a small, Big Sky conference. We played Montana, Montana State and people like that.
Andy Ockershausen: So they recruited you obviously, you must have had a good senior year, but you had the stature and they knew that you could play the game.
Charles Mann: I kicked some behind my senior year. I kicked some behind Andy.
Andy Ockershausen: Charles, that’s a wonderful, wonderful story and great to hear about your family. We’re gonna take a break now, this is Andy Ockershausen with Charles Mann in Our Town.
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Announcer: You’re listening to Our Town.
Andy Ockershausen: This is Andy Ockershausen, this is Our Town with Charles Mann and were finding an interesting man with the most interesting life. Charles, there’s so much about you that, the audience, I hope realize that you’re emerged much bigger than number 71, as a football player, but you’re a good man and you proved it.
Now I see you doing commercials and involved in the community in Our Town with Strayer. I remember when Strayer was business college, now it’s a university.
Strayer College – Joe Gibbs Influence
Charles Mann: Right, right. Well you know, Joe Gibbs set the tone and set it all up for Redskin players, but not just Redskin former players but, any professional athlete to go to Strayer. In fact, he came to the chairman, Mr. Silberman, and asked him to sponsor NASCAR. And he said, Strayer on a NASCAR? That’s ridiculous. And he said Joe convinced him, he did it reluctantly and it’s paid off.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh I bet. That’s a new world, I mean a new demo for them.
Charles Mann: But that also set the tone for when he said, well go back and get some of these athletes. So, I was sitting at a table at a golf tournament that got rained out. I was sitting at a table trying to figure out what I was gonna do with the rest of my day because I was set to golf, and across from us, at another table, was Mr. Silberman, who was the president of Strayer back then. Now he’s the chairman.
He overheard me telling the guys that I was gonna golf with that I was going back to school. And I kept having to say it to myself, because I was trying … you know, my mind was conflicted. You know, here I am, I’m gonna be … I’m 51 years old and I’m getting ready to go back to school, so I was trying to convince myself but I was telling these guys-
Andy Ockershausen: That’s a good thing.
Charles Mann: If I put it out in the atmosphere, now I’m gonna do it because I have to do it. And he reached over and gave me a card and said, have you ever thought about Strayer. And at the time, I had looked at UVA, I looked at Johns Hopkins, I looked at Georgetown.
Andy Ockershausen: So many options in this place.
Charles Mann: Yeah, but I couldn’t afford any of those options. So I was bummed out but I didn’t know where I was gonna go, but I was looking for somewhere to go. And I wasn’t gonna do this online. This was gonna be a classroom setting where I could learn. This time, I wasn’t sitting in the back of the room like a jock. I’m sitting in the front of the class-
Andy Ockershausen: 6’6, you blocked the room.
A Defining Moment “I’m smarter than this.” – Back in the Classroom to Learn
Charles Mann: I sat in the front of the class, I was a solar eclipse to a lot of people sitting behind me. My fellow students sitting behind me, they didn’t see the professor the whole time. They could nap or whatever. But anyway, so I went to Strayer … What I first did is I had to get my transcripts and I did not realize, at 51, having left college at 22, they had to go into the dungeons, the deep recesses of the admissions department to find my transcripts. And they found them, reluctantly, I was not too happy about that.
Those transcripts are in my safe because if my kids ever see them, I’m ruined as a parent. I’m ruined. I would be ineligible, eligible, ineligible, eligible. I’d always be eligible for the football season and ineligible in the spring when I would just goof off.
So, I kept telling myself, I’m smarter than this. What was I thinking?
Andy Ockershausen: It’s called, maturity.
Charles Mann: Yeah, but I was way immature.
Andy Ockershausen: You grew up.
Charles Mann: The difference though … But you know what Andy, the difference was, my parents at number … I was number six of eight. At the sixth child, they just let me do my thing.
Andy Ockershausen: Right.
Lessons Learned and Growing Up at University of Nevada, Reno
Charles Mann: They dropped me in Reno, Nevada, my mother went to the casino, she went to the Cal Neva Club, that was her favorite club. They had one deck, and she played 21.
Andy Ockershausen: Famous club.
Charles Mann: She played 21 and she counted the cards, that was legal, and she counted them as a natural way of learning the business. Anyway, she would win all the time. And my dad would play Keno, he’s sit over there, have his cup of coffee, smoke his little Pall Mall and watch the TV and he wouldn’t win anything, ever. But my mom would always bring home silver dollars.
So right after they dropped me, gave me $500, the most money I had at one time, dropped me off and left and said, we’ll see you at Thanksgiving, and no they wouldn’t. They’d see me at Christmas, anyway, because at Thanksgiving we played through.
And so, I lost that money in about two weeks. In about two weeks I was broke. And I had to … thank God they had a training table for the football players during the season.
Andy Ockershausen: So you did eat.
Charles Mann: I survived, but it taught me a valuable lesson about managing money, because I had no money left. None. And I was … You know good and well I wasn’t gonna call and tell my parents, hey I need more money, like my kids do to me all the time. I’ve got doggone Venmo, you know what Venmo is?
Speaker 7: Transferring money.
Charles Mann: Yeah, transferring money, but that now takes a day and a half, so I had to get a Bank of America account like my kids, so I could instantly transfer them money. I never asked my parents for money like that.
Andy Ockershausen: And the school wasn’t paying you of course.
Charles Mann: No. Not in those days.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, who discovered you as a player to make the National Football League, which is a big step up from Nevada, correct?
Life Changing Event – Dad’s Passing
Charles Mann: A big story, and really a life changing event in my life. My father died and his death brought me new life. His death brought me new life. I was livid … I was out there Andy. You wouldn’t like the Charles Mann back then. I was not a good guy, I was a bad guy.
Andy Ockershausen: Right.
More Good Advice from Older Brother
Charles Mann: And my father passed away, we knew he had cancer. He had an abscessed tooth that he never paid attention to. He would gargle with warm salt water, but it just, over the years, infected … his whole jaw was gone. He had a hole in his face. And he died, and when he died I cried all the way home on that bus ride back to Sacramento. I left school, I stayed at home for about three months. Here goes with my brother again, the Stanford grad, the doctor. He comes to me and says, “What are you doing?” I said, “What do you mean? I’m gonna take care of Mom, like I’m supposed to.” He said, “How you gonna take care of mom? What you gonna do? Get a job at 7/11?” I said, “Well I’ll figure it out.” He said, “You need to get your butt back to school so you can take care of your momma one day.” And I said, “Well, you know, whatever.”
About a month later, so I had been out about three months now, about a month later … I missed all of that Spring. And then I went back to school in the Summer got back eligible for football again and that time I committed myself, no womanizing, no drinking-
Andy Ockershausen: You grew up.
Commitments Made After Dad’s Passing
Charles Mann: Yeah. Well, so I made those commitments, but those are commitments that a 21 year old kid is trying to make. It’s hard to keep.
Andy Ockershausen: Absolutely.
Charles Mann: So as soon as I got back in the element, as soon as I got back at school, as soon as the parties started happening, as soon as the football season started, you know, all those things start coming back on you. I maintained as much as I could, thank God I slipped on one area because I ended up meeting my wife.
Andy Ockershausen: She was in school?
Charles Mann: She was a Freshman that year and you know, us Seniors went after those young freshmen. Anyway, but it began to make me start thinking about life. My dad was only 46 years old.
Andy Ockershausen: Very young.
Introspection During College Senior Year Impacted Decisions Made Rookie Year as Washington Redskin
Charles Mann: And so, yeah, I started thinking about life and life choices, decisions I was making that I didn’t even think about that could have ended my life. You know, I started thinking like that for the first time ever. Because, you know, when you’re a kid you think you’re gonna live until you’re 80 or 90 and then you die. Nobody ever thinks it’s gonna get abrupted.
The kids nowadays think that way because all that we got coming at us. But back in those days, you lived a ripe old age and then you died. So, he didn’t live a ripe old age, so I started thinking about my life and when I walked into the locker room of the Redskins, so fast forward, I got picked in the third round right after Darrell Green. Darrell Green, first rounder. There was a guy named Richard Williams, second rounder, he was cut. And then I was a third rounder from Nevada Reno and Darrell from Texas.
Andy Ockershausen: A very small school in those days, right?
Scratch and Sniff Guys v Sincere Quiet Guys
Charles Mann: And a Texas A&M, Darrell. Both of us, Bobby Beathard third picks. And, when I walked in that locker room, there were two groups in that locker room. One, I was very familiar with, that’s the scratch and sniff guys, you know, the rotten mouth womanizers, all of that kind of stuff. The guy that I was. And then there was this other group, and something was different about this group. They looked you in the eye and they seemed to be sincere and more soft spoken. Art Monk was in that group, Monte Coleman was in that group. A guy named Ken Coffey was in that group.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh yeah.
Charles Mann: And so, I just kinda gravitated to them. I said, I know the scratch and sniff guys, I’m gonna hang with these guys. I’m 3,000 miles away, nobody knows me from Adam, I still got the little tape on my helmet says, Mann. That’s how they remembered who I was because nobody knew me. And those guys really began to love on me and really take me in and teach me life. And that’s why I grew up and became a different person then.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, you know, you came into an era, there was one era that was ending, but you came into the era of the pros on the Redskins football team, correct? The winners.
Charles Mann: Well, Andy, my first-
Andy Ockershausen: The winners, you-
Unexpected Experiences at Washington Redskins Mini-Camp Redskins Park
Charles Mann: I came to mini camp, I gotta tell you this. I came to mini camp, I walk into that locker room-
Andy Ockershausen: Were they in Pennsylvania?
Charles Mann: No, mini camp. So it was a Redskin Park, the mini camp, the four day camp or whatever. I walk in there and a guy is smoking a cigarette in the locker room, and he’s an athlete. I’m like, what? This guys smoking!
Andy Ockershausen: Must have been John Riggins.
Charles Mann: No, it was.
Speaker 7: Patrick um …
Charles Mann: No, he wasn’t on the team.
Speaker 7: Oh okay.
Charles Mann: I can’t remember who the guy was, but one guy was smoking cigarettes, which caused me to pause. The other guy, Tony Peters, was getting arrested. The police officers came in and they took him away for trafficking cocaine. I’m like, whoa!
Andy Ockershausen: I remember Tony very well.
Charles Mann: Tony’s now a golf coach at a university and he’s just reformed his life. He’s a great man, great man. You’d never know, I mean, that happened to him as a young man and he paid for his-
Andy Ockershausen: Absolutely.
Charles Mann: His transgressions.
Andy Ockershausen: But you joined a group-
Charles Mann: But I joined in like that. It was scary. And Dave Butz was my locker mate, he sat next to me and Dave was carving Ducks and not talking to people and just-
Andy Ockershausen: A little bit weird.
Charles Mann: Yes. But he was big weird, so you didn’t treat him wrong. That’s what I got to see when I walked in the locker room. It was scary. I was intimidated by this team, and I got beat up my first year. I got just … If you look on the 1983 team photo for the Redskins, I have a black eye. Yes, black people can get black eyes.
My helmet did not fit and every time I made a hit, the helmet slid down on me, hit me in my eye, got high cheek bones and so, I ended up with a black eye.
Andy Ockershausen: Black on black.
Bulking Up to Survive Pro Football
Charles Mann: Yeah, I said to myself, I said, I’m not gonna make it very long in this league. I gotta get stronger. So I went at 6’6, 235 lbs my rookie year, to 6’6, 275 lbs most of my career. It took me about two years with Dan Riley-
Andy Ockershausen: You bulked up.
Charles Mann: I had to. I had to bulk up so that I could deliver the blow instead of receiving the blow.
Andy Ockershausen: But Charles, you’re an amazing man with an amazing story, and I’m gonna take a break now. But when I come back, I want you to think about this, how in the world did you end up with the San Francisco 49ers? I gotta hear that.
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Announcer: You’re listening to Our Town with Andy Ockershausen, brought to you by Best Mark Communications.
Andy Ockershausen: I’m Andy Ockershausen and this is Our Town, in a wonderful conversation with Charles Mann, who’s so special and he’s told us more things than I ever knew about him. I did know that he ended up his career with Super Bowl rings and Pro Bowls and did a great job in Washington, but ends up going to the San Francisco 49ers. That was a new one for me Charles.
Five Months on San Francisco 49ers Super Team
Charles Mann: Yeah, well I didn’t … That was not a plan that I had, had for my life. I had always saw myself as a Redskin. The 49ers send me alumni things every year and they want me to come back. They had a big alumni celebration that I wish I’d went to, DeBartolo was a part of it and he had them all come to Youngstown Ohio and he did something and … But I didn’t go because I didn’t feel like I was ever a 49er, even though I was only there five months, but I was there.
Richard Dent went down … What happened is DeBartolo put together a super team and we won the Super Bowl.
Andy Ockershausen: Right. Who was the quarterback?
Charles Mann: So Steve Young was the quarterback.
Andy Ockershausen: Steve, was his first year as quarterback-
Charles Mann: Jerry Rice was still there, but here’s the picks that he picked up off the waiver wire. He picked up Richard Dent who ended up blowing out his knee, and that’s why I came to the team. So Richard Dent, Charles Mann, myself, Ricky Jackson from the New Orleans Saints-
Andy Ockershausen: A running back.
New Salary Cap and League Minimum Salary
Charles Mann: Gary Plummer, from the San Diego Chargers. Deion Sanders on the same day I was picked up, from Atlanta. And Ken Norton Jr from the Dallas Cowboys. All of us descended on the team, guess what we signed … I’ll tell you this, we all signed the league minimum, which was $140,000-
Andy Ockershausen: For all these guys-
The One Million Dollar Miscalculation
Charles Mann: It was the salary cap, just was implemented that year, and all of them signed, except me, I’m smarter, all of them signed a million dollar bonus if the team went to the Super Bowl, not won it, went.
Andy Ockershausen: Just appeared.
Charles Mann: Appeared. Guess what? We went to Super Bowl and won, so they all got the million dollar bonus. And on the flight to Miami, playing the San Diego Chargers, they all gave me the business because I was smarter. I did three different incentives to get $333,000 for each incentive. One, in all my career I got at least three sacks. So, I put on my thing, $333,000 if I got three sacks. I got one against the Redskins and took a bow. Anyway, like John Riggins. And I got applauded for it.
Number two, I put, if I played 30% of the time. In all of my career, I played 99.9% of the time. So surely I’m gonna play 30% of the time. I played 18% of the time. And then the last incentive, I can’t remember what it was, but anyway, I got zero, and all those guys that I mentioned, Richard Dent, they got a million dollar bonus just to go to the Super Bowl. And they gave me the business and I’m still bitter about that, even today.
Andy Ockershausen: I would have thought DeBartolo and his generous ways, and he was very generous.
Charles Mann: He was generous.
Andy Ockershausen: That he didn’t kick in a million bucks. Maybe the league wouldn’t let him do it.
Charles Mann: Nah, he couldn’t do that. He was already getting run outta the league.
Andy Ockershausen: They owe you a million dollars. Well Charles, we all make mistakes in life, it’s probably not the last one you will make. But you then ended up football, came back to Our Town, thank God you came back, and got involved in broadcasting.
Charles Mann: Yes.
Andy Ockershausen: I remember you at Channel 9.
Charles Mann: Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: Did you every do any work at WMAL, I don’t remember.
Back in Our Town on Channel 9 – Not This Mann’s Cup of Tea
Charles Mann: I did a little bit of … I had a radio show that I was doing for a little bit and I always wanted to do a show called, Mann About Town.
Andy Ockershausen: I like that.
Charles Mann: M-A-N-N About Town.
Andy Ockershausen: I know.
Charles Mann: So Channel 9 played off my name, I gave them a bunch of little tips and we did all kinds of little segments.
Andy Ockershausen: I remember those Charles, very interesting.
Allen Iverson Turning Pro – John Thompson’s Reaction to Story
Charles Mann: One Mann’s View, so it was my view of a game, what happened inside the game, I’d pick out a play and we would do like ESPN and circle things and I would talk about that. But, I was getting way too much credit and Ken Broo didn’t like that, who was the Sports Director at the time.
But, I hated it. One, because … and the reason why I’m not still doing it to this day, is because it was mean spirited and it was negative, always. So, our TV station, with Charles Mann front and center, even though it was Channel 9, you could have called it Charles Mann’s TV station because everybody thought it was me.
We’re the ones that broke the new that Allen Iverson was turning Pro. And Allen Iverson might not have wanted to turn Pro, but his hand was pushed because we saw him riding in $100,000 Mercedes Benz. Frank Herzog gave me the information, he said, just roll up on him with your camera men and just whatever sound you get, we’ll run that tonight at eleven o’clock. I said … I called my agent, I said, look, I’m not doing this. She said, well just tell him you’re sick. I said, no! I’m not doing it, but it’s wrong!
So we never found him, but another camera crew saw him and they got a driving shot of him in the Mercedes. The next morning, I’m at the press conference, Allen Iverson, his momma and John Thompson, the big John Thompson.
Andy Ockershausen: Big John, right.
Charles Mann: And John starts his press conference, I’m sitting on the front row with Ken Broo and Larry, not Larry Michael, Larry …
Andy Ockershausen: George Michael?
Charles Mann: No, no, Larry our producer, I’ll come up with his last name in a second. But anyway, I’m sitting on the front row and John Thompson says,”I appreciate people not taking advantage,” and he’s looking dead at me. He’s looking through me and I’m sliding down in the chair like, please. And he’s 7 foot tall, he’s scary looking, I’m sitting.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, absolutely.
“Vicious Video” of Michael Westbrook and Steven Davis Aired Despite Mann’ Protest
Charles Mann: And he blamed me. I sent him a personal letter of apology, I didn’t do anything, but I sent him a personal letter of apology for what our station did. We also were the ones that filmed Michael Westbrook just killing Steven Davis. He sucker punched Steven Davis on the practice field and my cameraman, David Satchel, was the only one rolling on it. I come walking down to the field with my coffee in my hand like I always do, I’m gonna get my little sound, watch a little practice, and my guy runs up to me, the cameraman, he says, I got the most vicious video of, you will not believe it. I mean, Steven Davis, his eye is all swollen up and Michael Westbrook just attacked him. And I said, we’re not gonna air that. He said, well, don’t we have to turn that in and let them make that decision? I said, yeah. But, I don’t wanna …
And when I was saying all this, the AP writer was standing right there listening to it all, and he took it all down. He ran in and typed it into the thing and next thing you know, I got a phone call on my new cell phone, it wasn’t a bag phone, it was the latest, anyway, and it was Ken Broo saying, we’re sending a satellite truck out. We’re gonna go live at 12 noon. We’re gonna show this video and we’re not giving it to anybody else. We didn’t give it to ESPN or anybody, so for a year, we couldn’t use any ESPN video. It was horrible. We couldn’t show any news because, ESPN said, we’re gonna …
So, that’s the kinda mess we were doing. I’d walk into a room and my friends who were still playing football, Ken Harvey, Art Monk, they would clam up, not talk, because they think I’m gonna share with the … I don’t, I’m not … Look, this is just what I do, it’s not who I am. So, when my contract-
Andy Ockershausen: You’re a reporter.
Charles Mann: When my contract was up, I left there so fast. I said, I do not wanna do this anymore. It’s too mean spirited. So I got out of that and became an entrepreneur.
Andy Ockershausen: I know you got into advertising, you did so much Charles. You made a big impact on Our Town in a lot of ways. And you still do Charles, and it’s so great. I’m glad you’re still active. I think that you should how much this community appreciates you. And it’s a wonderful place to be, Our Town is-
“It’s not how you start, but how you finish.”
Charles Mann: It is a wonderful place to be. I agree. But there was things I hadn’t done in my life. You know when you get to a certain age and you may have been there, are getting there, because you’re still young, but when I got to about 50, I didn’t start getting weird or anything, but I started looking back over my life and I said, okay, what have I not finished? What have I not done? What have I not completed?
I always tell my kids and my son got a doggone tattoo for it, which drove me nuts that he did that. I said, I’m still alive, I can continue to tell you this. It’s not how you start, but it’s how you finish. It’s not how you start, but it’s how you finish.
On Finishing his College Degree and then Masters
And so I start looking at my life and I said, am I finishing well? And one of the things that I had done that I had not finished on, and most people that knew me didn’t even realize it. But in my bio, I said I attended Nevada, Reno. That was not a lie. I attended. I didn’t graduate though. And that was unfinished. And so, I went in pursuit of getting my college degree. And then I got in there and loved it so much, that I went and got my Masters, and then I loved that so much, I just graduated in December with my Masters. And then I was trying to go get my PhD, so my brother wouldn’t be the only doctor. My wife said, that’s it. You don’t know how this is affecting the rest of our family, because I would be at a party with her and I’d say, I gotta go. And she said, what? I gotta go, I gotta finish a paper, I gotta go. And she said, look, you cramping my style.
So I had to finally, 55 years old, I had to finally say enough is enough.
Andy Ockershausen: Age is not a barrier to doing better.
Charles Mann: No, I agree.
Andy Ockershausen: To changing things. I love your Strayer commercial that I saw, the spot, that you wanted to finish something you started. And that’s the great thing, Strayer provided that for you. And that’s a wonderful school-
Charles Mann: I still paid money, so they provided it with my cash. Actually, the NFL PA, Gene Upshaw, before he passed away, he started the Player Trust Fund. And I didn’t know about that, but Ken Coffey mentioned it to me and said, hey, look into the NFL PA. And so, they actually give $20,000 a year towards your degree, your undergrad or your graduate degree. And so, that’s how I was able to finish.
Andy Ockershausen: Right, they subsidized.
Charles Mann: So I didn’t even have to pay for it at the end, which was good.
Andy Ockershausen: You paid for it, with your bad knees and your bad-
Charles Mann: Thank you, thank you. 15 knee operations, one back, I just had my hip done three months ago. Oh yeah, I definitely paid.
Andy Ockershausen: But you’re mobile.
Charles Mann: Oh, I can do everything.
Andy Ockershausen: You’re an amazing man. A wonderful, wonderful guest and we loved having you on Our Town and we love you being part of Our Town. I’m glad you’re not on tele broadcast anymore, save all that talent. Put it up there. Charles, thank you for being with us.
Charles Mann: Andy I sure appreciate you having me.
Andy Ockershausen: It’s a great story.
Charles Mann: Bring me back for part two, the next 56 years of my life.
Andy Ockershausen: We’ll do it. The Mann act. Congratulation Charles. This is Andy Ockershausen, this is Our Town.
Announcer: You’ve been listening to Our Town, season three. Presented by GEICO, our hometown favorite, with your host Andy Ockershausen. New Our Town episodes are released each Tuesday and Thursday. Drop us a line with your comments or suggestions. See us on Facebook or visit our website at OutTownDC.com. Our special thanks to Ken Hunter, our technical director and WMAL radio and Washington DC for hosting our podcast. And thanks to GEICO. 15 minutes can save you 15% or more on car insurance.