VIENNA - Former West Virginia University All-American Darryl Talley isn't one to mince words about anything.
Ask him a question and he gives a straight answer, often with plenty of punch in his response.
On Wednesday, the College Football Hall of Famer was in town as the keynote speaker for the Mid-Ohio Valley Leadership Dinner to support the Boy Scouts of America Allohak Council.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
Former West Virginia University football All-American and Buffalo Bill All-Pro linebacker Darryl Talley receives a football from Jason Ward, right, and hands one to Boy Scouts of America Allohak Council Scout Executive Dale Musgrave as he autographed footballs before the start of Wednesday's 44th Annual Leadership Dinner at the Grand Pointe Conference Center in Vienna.
Although he never was a member of the Boy Scouts, being too busy as an athlete growing up, he fully understands what makes the organization so great.
"What they do is try and help people," said the 14-year NFL veteran, who spent a dozen years with the four-time Super Bowl runner-up Buffalo Bills. "They teach kids values, which today in this society, very few people are being taught those types of things."
When it comes to what he tries to impress upon the youth no matter the venue he's speaking at, it's quite simple.
"It's about life," he said. "It's about being knocked down, getting back up. It's about giving someone a helping hand, telling someone that you can do this and nobody is going to think ill of you for helping somebody.
"Just teach them some good morals about things that should be done and the way things should be done in the world."
One thing which is still vacant from Talley's world is a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
When asked whether or not he felt had the Bills won four Super Bowls instead of being on the losing end of things he already would've been enshrined in Canton he quickly replied with "yes. There's no question about it. I'm not a big self promoter, but I will tell you this. My numbers are as great as anybody else's that are in there in Canton. I don't have the sacks because for the simple reason, my deal, I didn't have to sack the quarterback.
"Yeah, my numbers are good enough to be there. My ability to lead people and get people to do a common thing on a field is far greater than a lot of people. And like my good friend, the late Deacon Jones said, he told me Talley, once we get you in here you'll be on the team that you never get cut from and nobody can ever doubt you as a player as to what you meant to this game. That came straight out of Deacon's mouth and it reminded me of my old man."
Indeed, Talley's parents had a strong influence on him growing up as a student-athlete and he credits them for much of his success. He truly feels a strong family nucleus is something that's missing in a large way across the country and it's not helping out today's youth.
Currently a business owner in Orlando, Fla., where he has a construction company called Sentry Barricades, Talley still hopes to get an opportunity to coach in the near future. After retiring from football, he opted to stay out of coaching in favor of being a father to his two daughters.
"I would like to do it now because I have both of my girls out of the house," Talley said, noting he just couldn't bring himself to take time away from his family in the past, but that he tips his hat to those coaches who do. "My dad wouldn't do it to me. My dad was there and my mom was there.
"I couldn't think of doing that back then. I'd much rather raise my kids, let them be productive citizens and good people and (I figured) I'll try to get into coaching at a later point."
For Talley, who in 2003 became the 20th member of Buffalo's Wall of Fame in Ralph Wilson Stadium, he just tries to make sure today's youth and their parents understand the importance of doing what's right and always doing your best.
Of course, after having two daughters, he figured that was a good place to stop despite others feeling he needed to bring a son into the world.
"When I say God is getting even with me, God is getting even with me," quirked Talley. "But, you know, I love my daughters. They are doing well. They are happy and very well adjusted kids.
"Everybody always asked if I was going to go for a son. I said unt-ugh. It doesn't look like nothing is coming out of there but girls to me. The best thing is they are a whole heckuva lot smarter than me."