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Where Are They Now

Where Are They Now: Dave Foley

Catch Up with the Jets Legend from Ohio State

Dave Foley (70) offensive lineman for the New York Jets, is shown in this 1970 photo. Exact date and location are unknown. (AP Photo)

Dave Foley, an All-American offensive tackle at Ohio State, went from one winner to another, when after helping the Buckeyes win the 1968 national championship, he was drafted in the first round by the Jets, 16 days after they won Super Bowl III.

"Back in the day, the Draft wasn't a big deal. It wasn't even on TV or anything, "Foley said. "I was in a fraternity house, and I got this call and they said, 'Coach is on the phone.' And I said, 'Coach who?' And so I pick up the phone and it's Weeb Ewbank. He said, 'Hey, we just drafted you with the New York Jets.' I said, 'That's great. I'm really excited.'

"It was a big deal getting drafted, but it just wasn't that public. But it was a cool experience. I wish I would have made it during the Super Bowl, but I was a year too late."

But before Foley would play for the Jets, he had to play against the Jets.

Participating in the now defunct College All-Star Game in Chicago, where the collegians played against the defending Super Bowl champion, Foley's introduction to the Jets was from looking through a facemask on the other side of the line of scrimmage.  

"Think about that," Foley said. "You're playing against them, and so everybody's trying to whack each other one way or the other. So it wasn't an easy introduction. And after the game was over, I got on the airplane and went back to New York with the Jets.

"I was a late arrival at their camp, and so I was already behind. I had played against them, which I don't think that necessarily made that the most endearing way to introduce yourself. So it wasn't an easy transition at the time just because of the circumstances."

Granted, they had just fulfilled Joe Namath's guarantee and upset the Baltimore Colts in the Super Bowl, but Foley felt that the Jets must have drafted him for a reason. And so he'd give it his best shot. It turned out he'd have to do so without the aid of his new veteran teammates.  

"It was a little bit of a struggle. The post-Super Bowl guys, they were really close," Foley said. "And so coming in that next year, for any of the rookies on that team, was kind of a uphill battle. Just because, if you think about it, the guys that played in the Super Bowl, if somebody was going to take a job, they were going to take one of their guys' jobs that they were teammates with.

"It wasn't a whole lot of an open, welcoming time. But I think probably if I was one of the veterans, I'd probably have treated the rookies exactly the same way."

After playing in the all-star game and going through training camp when he played in New York's six preseason games, Foley began the year on special teams for the season opener in Buffalo. Unfortunately, he didn't make it through the first quarter.

"I was running down the field on the kickoff team, R-1," Foley said. "R-1 is the guy that stands right next to the kicker on the right side. L-1 is the guy standing right next to the kicker on the left side. At the time, R-1 and L-1 were considered to be the wedge busters. So I was out there being R-1, running down the field, and I saw this guy coming and tried to cut. And when I cut, my knee just buckled."

Rupturing ligaments in his right knee that required season-ending surgery, Foley went through rehab and was ready to play again in 1970, starting in 11 games at right tackle. The following year, however, he was basically back to square one.

"They changed (offensive line) coaches, and traded (with Oakland) for a guy named Bob Svihus. And as soon as they traded, I kind of figured I wasn't going to get a chance to play," Foley said. "I didn't start that year at all, but I did play sometimes. And then the next year, I got waived at the end of the training camp and Buffalo picked me up.

"The greatest part of the experience was actually being in New York and being around the notoriety of being a New York Jet, which was really special at the time because they had won the Super Bowl. And even if you were not on that Super Bowl team, there was a lot of really cool things that Jet players got invited to that were things that a country boy from Ohio never would have seen otherwise.

"If I were to give a synopsis of my time with the Jets, it would be that I was probably the wrong pick when they made me because my skills were more toward a running game than a passing game. And the Jets were much more interested in throwing the ball. In Buffalo, their interest was much more in running the ball. So to be actually able to leave the Jets and end up where I was, was really a good career move for me, personally. But I didn't have anything against the Jets experience. I was really quite wonderful, actually."

During his six seasons with the Bills, Foley started at left tackle, and in 1973, was an integral member of the famed offensive line, the Electric Company, which paved the way for O.J. Simpson's record-breaking 2,003 rushing yards. Earning him a trip to the Pro Bowl.

A year prior to that, he founded Dave Foley & Associates in Springfield, Ohio, specializing in life and health group benefits. And in 1999, the business expanded and became Foley Benefits Group LLC.   

"Our company does benefits for small- and medium-sized companies. Companies up to 100 employees. We do the health insurance and the 401K plan for the employer," Foley said. "It's been very gratifying because my son, Matt, came into the business with me over 25 years ago. And in the entire time that we've been in business together, we've never had a heated discussion about something he thought we should do and I thought the opposite. We've never had an argument.

"The fun thing about it is it's a different challenge every day. But it's sometimes the same thing every day with different people. So it's new in the fact that the people change, but it's the same in the fact that you have the relationship with carriers to make transition in business go well. It's kind of like being a coach in that you've seen the same thing, year after year after year, and if something goes wrong on this play, you know how to change it."

Besides Matt, Foley and his wife, Linda, have a daughter, Megan, and four grandchildren. Including Megan's son, David Rolands, who is an offensive tackle on the University of Pennsylvania football team.