*Each week leading up to a Ravens home game, a different Baltimore Football Alumni member checks-in with BaltimoreRavens.com. Be sure to continue to check back throughout the 2009 season to see what your favorite BFA members have been up to. *View Past "Where Are They Now?" Features »
Name: Rick Volk
Team: Baltimore Colts
Position: Defensive back
Years Played in Baltimore: 1967 – 1975
Accomplishments: 3-Time Pro Bowler, 1-Time First Team All-Pro
After your playing career in Baltimore was complete, what did you do?
I got into the manufacturer's rep business in sales when I was playing. I always said, 'You're one play away from being retired.' You got to be prepared to do something. You know, we weren't making the money that they make now, and we didn't have the mini-camps and stuff like that. We really didn't have any kind of schedule, like weight-training or anything like that. It was like, 'Just do it on your own.'
So, most everybody had a job or did something, and it would be selling insurance or manufacturer's rep or own a restaurant or something like that - John Unitas [Baltimore Colts Quarterback: 1956 – 1972] did that and a couple other guys. I got in the rep business, and I was able to sell during the off-season and during the season too because Mondays we were off here. I could bring in some of my clients for a game, take them to dinner on Sunday night, and then go out to make a call on Monday. You know, make a couple calls.
Anyways, I got into manufacturer's rep business in industrial selling - selling parts. Right now, I am selling to the steel mills and that type of thing. So it's an industrial type selling. There's still quite a few of those old guys around - you know those guys that remember the Baltimore Colts so it's good, it's still good.
Did you find that since you were playing for the Colts business came a little easier?
Playing football for the Baltimore Colts, in those days, was sort of an 'in.'
You know, you'd walk in and tell them, 'I'm Rick Volk.' They'd say, 'Okay, come on in.' Then, I would have my Super Bowl ring on, and they would see that and they say, 'Geez, that's a weird looking ring, what is it?' And I would say, 'Well, that's just a Super Bowl ring.' 'Oh, it is. What's your name again?' They didn't even pay attention until they saw that ring. So the Baltimore area was a good place if you were playing, you wanted to stay.
That's why a lot of guys did. Of course they didn't have free-agency then either, but we were fortunate I had nine years here in Baltimore. And we had a lot of good teams, so that's why it was good to be here.
Since you grew up in Ohio, why did you decide to go to the University of Michigan instead of Ohio State University?
My uncle Bob, Bob Chappuis, was from Toledo, Ohio, and he went to the University of Michigan in the '40s. They won the NCAA championship [when he was there] and went to the Rose Bowl, so I had all these stories growing up. He was my hero, so I always wanted to go to Michigan.
I am from a little town up in the northwest part of the state of Ohio. Ann-Arbor is an hour and half away, and Columbus is two and half hours away. And I didn't like Woody [Hayes, Ohio State University Coach] anyway. It was just my Grandpa telling me because he didn't like Woody, and he hoped Woody would choke on his Thanksgiving turkey. My Grandpa was a Michigan man because Uncle Bob was there at Michigan. Woody, I don't think was at Ohio State then.
Because of Uncle Bob going to Michigan, that's where I wanted to go. You know, I loved the helmets, loved the uniforms. I said 'Hey, if I could just sit on the bench, that's all I care about.'
Nothing against Ohio State, but I liked to beat them when we went down to play, that was fun. We beat them twice down in Columbus, and they beat us once in Ann-Arbor.
Can you talk about your draft experience coming out of the University of Michigan?
I didn't think I would be drafted by Baltimore, but I figured I would go to the Lions or Browns or someone because of being in the Michigan area. I remember getting drafted by the Colts and coming here and having to get a Sports Illustrated magazine to see who was on the team here. I wasn't really sure.
What was your fondest memory playing football in Baltimore?
Obviously winning Super Bowl V is the most satisfaction I had. When you feel like you finally won a championship and you're the best team that was there that year, that's gratifying. Because, you know, you work at trying to get to that point and a lot of things come into play why you don't make it. You know, injuries to key people are a big factor there. You don't always get a chance to get in there, and when you finally do, than it makes it really worthwhile.
Plus, I remember after we won, Carroll Rosenbloom [Baltimore Colts Owner] took everybody to the Bahamas. The next day we all got on the plane and flew over to the Bahamas. He took the whole family – my wife and one kid, at the time. I remember we were on the beach, Tom Mitchell [Baltimore Colts Tight End/Wide Receiver: 1968 – 1973] and I, and we got the paper to make sure it was really true - that we did win. Because this was like a dream come true on the sand beaches in the Bahamas.
What is the best job to have in the NFL?
Equipment manager! That's the best job to have in the NFL. I'd jump on that if I had the chance. They don't fire you! When you think about it, all these guys coming in with shoes and uniform stuff, you're going to get them yourself. Get all that free stuff!
With the Ravens main rival being the Pittsburgh Steelers, who was the Colts main rival when you played?
It might have been Green Bay, I'm not sure. Every team that I played was a rival. They ask, 'Who was the toughest receiver? Who was the toughest team you played?' I say, 'All of them are.' I don't care who they are. They're tough and they're good. You've got to be prepared every week.
Who is your favorite current player on the Ravens team?
I like Ed Reed. I watch him because he plays the same position, you know. He's a gambler, but he has good football instincts. Most of the time he has been successful, but every now and then, he might leave somebody hanging. Over a period of time, he is going to come out on top, more than he loses.
Do you have any advice for kids today who want to be professional football players?
- Take it slow, take it one step at a time.
- Make sure you have the grades to get into college.
- Get yourself in shape.
- Don't zero in on playing one sport. Once you get to college, you can concentrate on one sport, but when you're young, try different sports.
The next Q&A will be Howard Stevens (Monday, November 16th).
Baltimore Football Alumni Section| *Ring of Honor Section*