Tim Ruddy Reflects on Life After the NFL

By Patrick Schuster

*Originally published on Football Dialogue.*

(Credit: Football Dialogue)

(Credit: Patrick Schuster, Football Dialogue)

As the leaves slowly start to change in northeastern Pennsylvania, you can listen close on most Friday nights and hear the cheers from local high school football stadiums across the county as students, parents and alumni all gather to root for this year’s teams.   One former local football star is my former Dunmore High School classmate and good friend Tim Ruddy, who took what he learned from his parents, family, and teachers to the professional level in the National Football League.

Recently, I had the chance to check in on Tim and see how life has been treating him since his days with the Miami Dolphins ended in 2003.

***

Patrick Schuster: Since the NFL fans last saw you on a field, what have you been up to?

Tim Ruddy: Currently, I am the CEO of Vista International Technologies, Inc., a small renewable energy company specializing in tire recycling and gasification.

PS: What has been the biggest adjustment since your career ended?

TR: If I get mad at someone, I can’t hit them, or I will go to jailor worse, be shamed in social media.

PS: What is your fondest memory from your days in college or the NFL?

TR: Tough to pick just one. A lot of the playoff and bowl victories were special. When Notre Dame won the Cotton Bowl in 1994, it was particularly special because we thought we had a shot at the national championship. Instead, it went to Florida State, whom we had beaten head to head a few weeks earlier. I think that scenario was one of the “final straws” that made the NCAA move to the BCS [Bowl Championship Series] system.

Lou Holtz with the captains of his 11-1 Notre Dame team in 1993: Jeff Burris (9), Bryant Young (97), Aaron Taylor (75) and Tim Ruddy (61). (Credit: http://notredame.247sports.com/)

Lou Holtz with the captains of his 11-1 Notre Dame team in 1993: Jeff Burris (9), Bryant Young (97), Aaron Taylor (75) and Tim Ruddy (61). (Credit: http://notredame.247sports.com/)

PS: Have you had the chance to go back to Notre Dame to see a game?

TR: I went back for the spring game once, but not a regular season game.

PS: What are your thoughts on players like Patrick Willis, Chris Borland, Jake Locker and Jason Worlids walking away from the NFL?

TR: To each his own. Everything has risks, football included. You have to make a decision as far as risk versus reward. I believe that some players are much more susceptible to brain injury than others, just as people have different bone structure, muscle density… However, it would seem to me that the time to quit would have been when you were in high school. By the time you get to the NFL, a lot of the damage is already done. In addition, with the lack of two a day practices and the NFL coming down on vicious hits, the NFL is “safer” now than it’s been in years. I don’t think all the science is in yet, either.

PS: As a player who always excelled in the classroom as well as the football field, how were you able to balance school work with your football life during your playing days?

TR: No real secrets. It was a lot of hard work and dedication to both areas, but obviously it can be done. I give a lot of credit to my parents and siblingsand the coaches and teachers I had along the way.

PS: Take me back to your draft day. What is the one memory you have of that day, and what advice would you give any players waiting for that call this spring?

TR: I actually had an engineering project due the next day, so I was working from my dorm room. I didn’t get drafted until almost midnight on the first night, so there was considerable time to wait. As far as advice to a potential draft pick, at that point all the data is in, and the teams have made up their mind on who they like, right or wrong. It’s important to be grateful to be in that position and to enjoy the process.

PS: From the outside now, what would you say has been the biggest change in the NFL since your career ended?

TR: The league has been hollowed out considerably, with teams having a few (10-15) stars, and then trying to fill in the remaining roster spots with lesser, often subpar players, to get under the cap. This started when I was in the league but has gotten worse since I left. Because of this, protecting those “stars” has become priority number one, hence the series of rule changes making most vicious hits illegal.

PS: Knowing you as well I do, I am betting the answer is no, but have you joined the social media world?

TR: No, I don’t do social media. I don’t have the time, and I’m not all that “social” to begin with.

Tim Ruddy (61). (Credit: Amazon.com)

Tim Ruddy (61). (Credit: Amazon.com)

PS: Some former teammates have gotten into broadcasting and coaching. Do you have any thoughts of entering either of those worlds?

TR: Not really, I like coaching kids and helping them learn. As far as broadcasting, I definitely have a face for radio, so that limits my prospects in broadcasting. Although I guess that hasn’t stopped Willie McGinest. (Just kidding there.)

PS: Best advice you ever received during your playing days?

TR: Find a good fight, and get in it.

PS: You were known for your being a workout guy, especially weight lifting. Still hitting the gym and showing the younger guys how it’s done?

TR: I try, but at this point in life, the years are not my friends.

***

Tim played college at the University of Notre Dame, and his entire NFL career with the Miami Dolphins, but was not satisfied with just sitting around feeling like life was over just because his football days were done. Tim is a prime example of the countless players who have moved on after years in the league to become valued contributing members of society.

Interested in reading more interviews? Check out www.footballdialogue.net.

Calendar of Events

Oktoberfest at Buddy Clarke’s

Join Friends of Lackawanna for a fun night of food, beverages, raffles and great company on Thursday, Oct. 1 at Buddy Clarke’s Tavern, located at 1604 Clay Avenue in Dunmore. The event will run from 6:30-9 p.m.

Attendees are asked to make a $20 donation at the door, which will include lite fare.

Saints Anthony & Rocco Parish Spaghetti Supper

A spaghetti dinner will be held on Oct. 21 and 22 at the parish hall at St. Rocco’s Church, located at 122 Kurtz Street in Dunmore. Dinners will be served from 4-8 p.m. each evening and will include spaghetti and meatballs, tossed salad, bread, cake and coffee.

Tickets, available at the door, are $8 for adults and $4 for children age 10 and under. Additionally, take-outs are available and containers are provided.

Commonwealth Health opens Dunmore lab

Commonwealth Health has opened a new lab at 1000 Meade St., Suite 106 in Dunmore, adjacent to Advanced Imaging Specialists. The new location will offer blood draws from 6:30 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday.

No appointment is necessary. For more information, call (570) 207-2842.

Back to Childhood Party

Come re-create childhood memories at an event with the Children’s Advocacy Center, planned for Oct. 6 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel. The Back to Childhood event will feature grown up versions of childhood favorites with food, drink and décor. Tickets are $75 and may be obtained by calling (570) 969-7313 or online at http://www.cacnepa.org. The Children’s Advocacy Center of Northeastern Pennsylvania is located at 1710 Mulberry St., Scranton.

Marywood Lecture Series

Marywood University is continuing to offer a Religious Experience Lecture Series. The second lecture, “The Purpose and Person-Relativity of Religious Argumentation,” will be presentedon Thursday, Oct. 15, at 7 p.m. on the third floor of the campus Learning Commons by William J. Wainwright, Ph.D., professor of philosophy emeritus at the University of Wisonsin-Milwaukee. The Marywood University Interdisciplinary Religious Experience Cluster Group, funded through a grant provided by The Experience Project sponsors the Religious Experience Lecture Series.

For more information on the Religious Experience Lecture Series at Marywood University, please contact Melinda Krokus, M.A., assistant professor of religious studies, at krokus@marywood.edu; or John DePoe, Ph.D., assistant professor of philosophy, at jdepoe@marywood.edu.

Beginner Italian Classes

Keystone Chapter UNICO and The Dunmore Activity Hub for Seniors are partnering in the offering of a beginner Italian Class. The first class will be conducted from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 20, at the Dunmore Community Center. There will be seven classes per session with subsequent sessions to follow. Each session will be $35 plus a work book purchase, good for the entire year. Maestra Pia Mazzarella will be the instructress.

Those interested in learning to speak Italian can register with either Jeanne at (570) 207-2662×2 or Mark at (570) 343-7009.

Columbus Day Bus Trip

Keystone UNICO will sponsor a Columbus Day Bus Trip to New York City on Monday, Oct. 12. Boarding will begin at 8:15 a.m. across from the Dunmore Community Center on Monroe Avenue. The bus will then leave to return to Dunmore at 7 p.m. The cost for this trip is $30 per person. To make reservations, call Ann Summa at (570) 842-9336.

On this day, the Columbus Day Association of NYC conducts the largest Columbus Day Parade to be seen. While in New York, trip participants will have the opportunity to see this magnificent and colorful parade that begins at noon and ends at 3 p.m. They can also go to lunch or shop their favorite stores. All will reboard the bus later in the day and head to Arthur Avenue, home to “The Little Italy of The Bronx,” for more shopping and dinner at one of the many Italian Ristoranti to be found in the area.

Honesdale Annual Barbershop Show

The Northeasters Honesdale Barbershop chorus of the Barbershop Harmony Society will present its 37th annual show, entitled “American Crossroads” at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10, at Honesdale High School. The show’s theme deals with travelling around the country and features some songs from the 50s and 60s as well as traditional barbershop songs.
Four chapter quartets will also perform; namely, Basses Loaded, Stourbridge Lion, What Four, and Northeast Spirit. The 24 man chorus of all ages and from all walks of life is directed by Mrs. Tamlyn Ebert. Ed Bloxham will be the narrator. The guest professional championship barbershop quartet will be “Up All Night”.

The $10 tickets may be purchased at the door or from any chorus member.

Catholic Choral concert

The Catholic Choral Society will open its 2015-16 season on Oct. 11 with a memorial concert honoring the late Norbert Betti who directed the group for 35 years before his death in 2001. It will be held at 3 p.,m. at Queen of Angels Parish at St. Michael’s Church, 322 First Ave., Jessup. For information, see http://www.catholicchoralsociety.org.

Lung Cancer Alliance Events

The Lung Cancer Alliance PA Chapter have planned events to be held during the month of November.  Kicking off the month with a flag garden, the group will once again cover the front lawn of the Lackawanna County Courthouse with flags, one to honor each lung cancer death in 2014. The garden will be planted on Sunday, Nov. 1, starting at 1 pm. The Annual Shine A Light event is to be held at the Courthouse Square in Scranton on Thursday, Nov. 5, from 5:30-7:30 pm. Registration is suggested and can be done through logging into www.lungcanceralliance.org.

This free event will highlight and honor those affected by lung cancer. Photos will be shown and lights will be given to those in attendance. Anyone attending is asked to gather at the tent in front of the courthouse. Anyone wishing to add a photo to the slide show can email their photo to karscott312@gmail.com.

Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer of both men and women. Raising awareness about lung cancer, along with its risks and stigma, is as important to the group as helping those afflicted with and the loved ones of those dealing with the disease.

Trunk or Treat event

“Trunk or Treat” for Halloween 2015 will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24 at the Wargo Monsignor Hrynuck-Beckage Sports Complex, located in the 700 block of East Grant Street in Olyphant. Over 300 children attended the event in 2014. Volunteers are needed.

All kids invited to come in Halloween costumes. Decorate your trunks/vehicles for Halloween and hand out treats. The children will go car to car in a safe secure area on the baseball field.

To register your car, call David Krukovitz (570) 780-4446 or Paula Foley at (570) 351-8452. Only registered decorated vehicles will be allowed on the field. Car arrival is 11 a.m. with trunk and treating at 1 p.m. Child fingerprinting, hot dogs and hot chocolate will be at the Eureka Volunteer Fire Company (across from the baseball field) at 3 p.m.

UNCO Bocce Tournament

Bocce Tournament winners

Members of Team Walker Law pose with their first place trophies after taking first place in the Keystone Chapter UNICO Bocce Tournament held at Arcaro and Genell Bocce Courts, Old Forge.  From left are John Mecca, Keystone UNICO president; John Rettura, tournament official; John Caciamanni and Jack Stetz; Elizabeth Rettura Kosarev, tournament committee members; Donnie Stetz; Silvio Mele, tournament official; and Philip Bosha. Proceeds from this tournament benefited the Keystone UNICO local scholarship program. For information on UNICO, contact membership director Cathy Bianchi at (570) 489-3003.