Jerry Glanville relaxed at a noisy table in a backroom of the Harley Davidson Cafe in New York City. He wore a black golf shirt, black jeans and a handmade Harley belt buckle the size of a turkey platter.
If someone had tried to shoot him, the ricochet might have wiped out the joint.
“I haven’t heard from Elvis since his daughter married Michael Jackson,” Glanville said in that half-drawl Yankees get when they spend too much time in the South. “I think it killed him.”
A waitress hovered nervously, trying to remember who got the ribs and where the fajitas went.
When Glanville was an NFL coach, he used to leave tickets at the will-call window for Elvis. Now, he does game analysis for Fox and leaves tickets for Elvis at his NASCAR Super Truck races.
As well as being a Harley enthusiast, Glanville owns and drives his own 700-horsepower, 3,400-pound Ford pickup truck on the new circuit. He’ll do 21 races this year without a major sponsor, which means his Fox salary is paying for most of the racing team.
“Fox’s been good to me,” he said. “I’ve got SK Tools and Fricker’s, a local chicken chain, as sponsors. The back of my truck says, ‘Catch the Fricken Chicken.’ I sure could use a big sponsor, though.”
Glanville, born in Detroit and a resident of Roswell, Ga., is in his second year with Fox, and he’s beginning to feel almost as comfortable on TV as he is in a truck cab.
“I get paid for saying things my mom used to slap me for,” Glanville said. His only problems, he says, are the memories. He won’t walk onto the field, for example.
“I go from my ride to the stadium right to the press box,” Glanville said. “There’s a piece of me down there, and I go into a funk.”
With Glanville, it’s hard to tell which is the hobby and which is the vocation, but TV and truck racing seem to be keeping him busy and out of trouble. It’s a good thing.
“I don’t hunt, I don’t fish and I don’t play golf. I’d rather get a stick in the eye than fish,” Glanville said. “So I race trucks.”
The trucks are equal in weight and just slightly more powerful than the Busch series cars he used to drive, “but they don’t have the aerodynamics,” Glanville said. “They don’t drive like T-Birds.”
They drive more like good ol’ boy trucks.
“I’ve always thought we should race with a German shepherd in the back, and see how long he stays in there,” Glanville said. “You have to finish with the dog to win.”
Of course, the dog’s tongue would be about 8 feet long by then, but hey, that’s truck racing.
Teamed with Kevin Harlan, Glanville did his first preseason game for Fox last Friday, Detroit at New England, then did Atlanta at Philadelphia the next day.
His contract with the Falcons, the last team he coached, barred him from saying anything unflattering about the team for one year, or he stood to lose $800,000. So, Fox just kept him off any Atlanta games.
“Now, we can go back there and get ‘em,” Glanville’s producer, Jeff Gowen, said. …
Bill Walton heard from members of the band early Wednesday morning that his close friend and rock legend Jerry Garcia, leader of the Grateful Dead, was dead. He took it hard.
“It’s very sad. He was one of those really special people on this planet,” said Walton, who has been to more than 600 Dead concerts and is a self-avowed Deadhead.
“It’s just so sad that so many of the truly greats … people like Garcia, Hendrix, John Lennon, leave so early,” he said.
He said he went to each Dead concert with “the anticipation that … you’re going to be thoroughly entertained and knowing when you walk out at the end, it will have been an incredible experience.
“And now, it’s so very sad.”
Asked if he could imagine the Grateful Dead continuing as a band without Garcia, Walton said: “I’m sure there will be lots of meetings. I just can’t comment on that.”