Family: NFL great Pardee has cancer

Jack Pardee, one of Bear Bryant’s ”Junction Boys” who went on
to become an All-Pro linebacker and an NFL coach, has been
diagnosed with gall bladder cancer and has six to nine months to
live, his family said Tuesday.

The cancer has spread to other organs and that her 76-year-old
father plans to move to a Denver hospice where the College Football
Hall of Fame inductee’s wife, Phyllis, has been receiving care
since having a stroke, daughter Anne Pardee confirmed to The
Associated Press.

Anne Pardee said her father was in good spirits despite the
diagnosis.

Jack Pardee survived a bout with melanoma when he was 28 and in
the middle of his 15-year NFL playing career.

He played only six-man football at Christoval High School in
west-central Texas, near San Angelo, before moving on to Texas
A&M. Bryant became the Aggies’ coach in 1954 and moved their
preseason camp to desolate Junction, about 100 miles northwest of
San Antonio.

The state endured a severe drought and historic heat wave that
year, but Bryant worked his team through the brutal conditions and
refused to allow water breaks in an effort to toughest players.
Pardee was one of 35 players who made it through to the end of the
10-day camp without quitting.

Pardee played three seasons at Texas A&M and was drafted by
Los Angeles in 1957. He played for the Rams from 1957-64, sat out a
year to cope with his melanoma, then played seven more seasons. He
finished his playing career with the Washington Redskins in
1973.

Pardee stuck with the NFL and was the Chicago Bears’ head coach
from 1975-77. He coached the Redskins from 1978-80 and was fired
after Washington went 6-10. He served as San Diego’s defensive
coordinator for one season, then returned to Texas to coach the
USFL’s Houston Gamblers.

Pardee was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in
1986. When the USFL disbanded in 1987, Pardee became the coach at
the University of Houston and brought along the fast-paced
”Run-and-Shoot” offense that worked well with the Gamblers.

The NCAA levied severe sanctions on the program in 1988, the
result of violations committed under previous coach Bill Yeoman.
Houston was banned from playing in a bowl game for two years and
banned from playing on television in the 1989 season.

But the Cougars led the nation in total offense (624.9 yards per
game) and passing offense (511 yards per game) in 1989, and
quarterback Andre Ware won the Heisman Trophy. Houston finished 9-2
and ranked No. 14 in the nation.

Pardee became the coach of the NFL’s Houston Oilers in 1990, and
led the team to the playoffs in each of his first four seasons.
Oilers owner Bud Adams traded star quarterback Warren Moon to
Minnesota before the 1994 season, and Pardee resigned after a 1-9
start that year.

His name emerged 13 years later for the Houston job, but the
school hired Kevin Sumlin instead. Pardee’s son, Ted, is currently
the color analyst for Houston football radio broadcasts.

Pardee’s illness was first reported Tuesday by KTRK-TV of
Houston.