Coming from UMES, then a speck of a school on the Eastern Shore, it took time for Carl Hairston to learn the ropes as an NFL rookie in 1976.
His first day in camp with the Philadelphia Eagles, Hairston did what he’d always done in college. The 6-foot-4, 260-pound defensive end stuffed his sweaty uniform in a bag, lugged it home and washed it.
“Next day, the equipment manager asked, ‘Where’s your jersey? We can’t find it,’” Hairston said. “I took it out, all clean and folded. He said, ‘You didn’t have to do that.’ But, in college, we were used to doing things ourselves.”
That mindset served Hairston well in the NFL. A self-starter and...