Jim Everett was known for his legendary career with the Los Angeles Rams. Be that as it may, he also held many records at Purdue University until a guy by the name of Drew Brees came along. Furthermore, many Saints fans may be surprised how his numbers stack up in just three years there too for the Black and Gold. Everett was second in passing percentage and quarterback rating, and top five in most categories for the New Orleans Saints. Today, he is still the career leader in passing yards for the Los Angeles Rams after all the greats that played there including Kurt Warner, Pat Haden, and Norm Van Brocklin.
Everett and I talked for more than 30 minutes. Here is the first half of the interview.
Catching Up With Former NFL Quarterback Jim Everett
Dean Mullen: Good afternoon Jim. How are you doing today?
Jim Everett: I’m doing wonderful Dean!
DM: So Jim you were born in Kansas?
JE: Yes, Emporia, KS actually.
DM: Then your family moved to New Mexico.
JE: My dad was going through his doctorate program at KU. He ended up finishing up in D.C. After that, he moved to New Mexico to start up a special education department there.
DM: Jim I just moved to Kansas City, so I’m still trying to get adapted to the midwest and all the Chiefs fans here.
JE: I want to see you doing that tomahawk chop chop…
DM: (laugh) I don’t know about that. I’m Black and Gold through and through. Let’s go back to your playing days at Purdue. Did you have any other offers besides Purdue?
JE: A lot of people don’t know this, but I played both ways in high school, safety and quarterback. Texas, Stanford, and San Diego St. recruited me very heavily. It came down to Stanford and Purdue. The only problem is that Stanford had a guy named John Elway there. I would’ve had to sit behind him. The Purdue job looked open so that’s where I decided to go.
DM: You did have to wait three years to get your shot though right?
JE: I was technically a redshirt senior coming in my fourth year. I started those last two years. We had some blue chip freshman come in that first year. Notre Dame was our first game and they were ranked seventh in the country. I helped lead a comeback and the rest is history. Notre Dame beat us the year before 52-6 so the win cemented my starting role.
DM: I’m sure competing against the Big Ten with teams like Michigan and Ohio St. was tough.
JE: It sure was! Many of those teams we competed against had huge offensive lineman compared to our squad. We were known for having a vertical passing game. Drew Brees can attest to that as well. He even took Purdue to the Rose Bowl. Purdue is known for two things: quarterbacks and astronauts. You’ve got to be dynamic. The only way to compete against those teams were to use our smarts and proper strategy.
DM: Have you ever chatted with Drew Brees over the years?
JE: Yeah, I used to go to his charity event in San Diego. Man, he’s like a cat with nine lives. That man works harder than anyone I’ve ever known. He eats right, trains right, and has a supportive family. A lot of things have to go his way to play into his 40s and we’ll see.
DM: You were drafted by the Houston Oilers then sent to the Los Angeles Rams correct?
JE: I was the third pick in that draft. Bo Jackson went first and then Tony Casillas. At the time, Warren Moon was the quarterback of the Oilers and my agent also talked to the 49ers. Joe Montana hurt his back and that was a strong possibility. I eventually ended up with the Rams.
DM: You went to the New Orleans Saints after having so much success in L.A. Was that disappointing?
JE: First to set the record straight, the Rams moved to St. Louis and it felt kinda weird in St. Louis. Actually, going to New Orleans was a blessing. No doubt about it. I was looking forward to it. When Chuck Knox came in and God rest his soul our talent level had been depleted. They were going to trade me to the Pittsburgh Steelers for Neil O’Donnell straight up. It was tough that last year lining up knowing that you can’t compete with any of the teams that we lined up against. I wanted to be traded earlier or simply released. Then the Saints got involved.
To go to a team with Jim Mora who’s always had a tough defense and great offensive lineman like Willie Roaf. I know we were maybe only .500 those years, but it was much better than the Rams were going to do.
DM: Did you come into contact with Tom Benson when you were there? Obviously, he passed recently.
JE: Tom was getting a lot of flack back then for wanting to renovate the dome and wanting public money. He was under a lot of pressure. Unfortunately, that was part of the job fair or not. Mr. Benson was always supportive and appreciative of us as a team. He had great rapport and was always smiling. I loved to watch him dance. I was proud to be a Saint.
Stay tuned for part two of Last Word on Pro Football’s interview with Jim Everett.