Perkins turned to coaching and spent the next 27 years on the sidelines, both college and pro. Sandwiched between head coaching stints with the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he ran the show at Alabama, winning three bowl games after replacing the legendary Paul (Bear) Bryant.
A Mississippi native, Perkins retired there to Hattiesburg in 2000. This year, restless for change, he picked up a clipboard. At age 70, he became head coach at Jones County Junior College, in nearby Ellisville. The Bobcats finished 6-3.
He said he has found his niche. Again.
"I still have a passion for football, and I want to be involved in young peoples' lives," Perkins said. "If I can answer their questions and be a mentor, then I will."
After a 12-year sabbatical, he relishes the job, though it's but an afterthought on his long resume.
"Is my fire still burning?" Perkins said. "Right now, I'm out recruiting. I'm driving down the highway at 70 miles an hour, going to another high school to get me a player to help us win a national championship."
The work allows time for his family. Perkins, who has two sons from a previous marriage, lives with his wife, Lisa, and daughters Rachael, 15, and Shelby, 9.
"People say, what's a guy like you doing with kids that age?" he said. "Every day, they put a spark in my eye."
He's still soft on the old Colts, as well. On the mantel above his fireplace sits a Baltimore helmet, signed by most of those whom Perkins played with.
"Teams today don't have the camaraderie we had," he said. "We did a lot of stuff together. Every year, at training camp in Westminster, we had a 'rookie show,' where the veterans would (haze) the rookies.