THREAD: Connecting women of the NFL

Added on by cynthia zordich.

Off the Field Spotlight with: 
Cynthia Zordich
The Woman Behind THREAD


NFL Wife and Mom Cynthia Zordich has an extremely busy lifestyle, but Zordich took time out of her busy schedule to talk about her new networking platform THREAD and to give some advice to new NFL wives, girlfriends, and moms!!

How did you get the idea to start this platform for the women of the NFL?

I have been very active with NFL Player Engagement and the Women's Resource Initiative - always pushing to directly connect with league women. One day, it hit me. There are many great resources online, but no true way to connect one-on-one with each other. I knew that what we needed was a private, secure network where current and former league women could connect personally, communicate directly and advertise their businesses. THREAD offers a much needed tool to search for league women (by team, city, roster, name) to connect directly and privately. It also acts as an excellent recruitment tool to attract new members to existing programs, like Off The Field.

What NFL women will make up the THREAD network?

THREAD is a free private social network for NFL wives (current and former), spouses, partners, mothers and daughters of former and current NFL players and coaches.

How did you come up with the name THREAD?

The premise of the project showcases the important role NFL women tackle during and after their league experience: a behind the scenes role that is reflective in the project title: THREAD. If you look at the craftsmanship in making a football - an essential component is the one least talked about. It holds the ball together, yet is hidden in the seams. It is not the leather nor the laces, the markings or the signatures. It is the THREAD. THREAD also refers to lines of communication.

As an NFL wife, what was your biggest fear when watching your husband play?

When you're young, they say ignorance is bliss. So, when my husband was playing, I never worried. I never thought about injuries. I honestly enjoyed the games without thinking about the possibility of injury. We had a huge circle of friends and family with us for each game and that wasn't our nature - we just had a blast.

As an NFL Mom, what was your biggest fear while watching your sons play?

I came to find that when it comes to your children, it is a completely different story. When it comes to your children, you take every breath with them. The trick is not to let them know that you're worried.

What is the one thing you want people to know about THREAD?

THREAD is not just a service; it is a tool. It is designed to blanket league women with a support system as they navigate through the various stages of life during and after their league experience. And the network is just the beginning. Phase two includes an annual magazine to be distributed to incoming league women and existing THREAD members.

Sign up today!

ON A HIGH NOTE: Super Bowl 50

Added on by cynthia zordich.

Notes for Notes® is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing youth with completely FREE access to music instruments, instruction and recording studio environments so that music may become a profoundly positive experience in their lives.

Members of Off The Field Player's Wives Association (OFTPWA) spent Super Bowl Saturday at the Bay Area Notes for Notes studio. Heading the tour was OTF's own Shannon O'Toole. Shannon just brought a Notes for Notes to New Orleans where her husband, John Morton is the Saints' wide receivers coach. The NOLA location is projected to open in May of 2016.

Located in the Don Fisher Boys and Girls Club, the San Francisco Notes for Notes studio is packed with raw talent. OTF members were in awe (and in tears) as several talented young musicians shared their music.

Eighteen year old Mai'saan Delaney was kind enough to grant permission to share his lyrics. Mai'saan's message is empowering, his passion for his craft - inspiring. 

Full Lyrics

Didn't grow up knowin it
Didn't start off showing it
Til I was in my teens my confidence just started growin then
Neva had a lot, except this talent that I rock
And Im proud it's what I got, so now you'll catch me out cheap ownin it
The mindset that I have to 
Has saved me from getting grabbed
Saved me from being ordinary cuz all that is a drag
Following the sheep, I'd rather be up in a bag
On the way to the coroners so they can find out what I had
An old soul, Modern body, Futuristic state of mind
Now I'm loving my truly altruistic way to rhyme
my people becoming statistics settled in my mind
So I tells it how I sees it, my music can heal the blind


I always knew I'd have a shot
So why my brothas gettin shot
I always knew I'd make it big
So why my brothas Makin shivs 
I always knew I'd put in work
So why my brothas in the dirt
I always knew this what I'd be
So why my brothas in the streets

Verse 2 

Now I'm paving the way 
Now I'm saving the game
Hip hop been dead but now I'm creatin a change
I've been going through the process in my mind for a while
Forget the queen Ima move my pawns for while
Worried for the youth cuz they spawn in denial
Parents tripping try to listen to this song for awhile
The deeper words inside can lead you to inner truth
And once they do you'll join the revolution, we're waiting for you
My brother losing hope, losin lives, and moving dope 
my brothas busting nines and getting dough to stay afloat
But why you need to float if you flying higher then coach
Get some hope I'd rather smoke my own beat then smoke a roach
Your mind is why you are where you are
Don't mean to be blunt but you just watching a star
Don't mean to be mean but you just hobblin along
With the other sheep wonderin where your conscious done gone


I always knew I'd have a shot
So why my brothas gettin shot
I always knew I'd make it big
So why my brothas Makin shivs 
I always knew I'd put in work
So why my brothas in the dirt
I always knew this what I'd be
So why my brothas in the streets

Verse 3

So what you think I need, so what you think i speak for
We scared to chase our dreams, spooked, we just need to leap more
Think outside the box, even if it means to make it crease mo 
We need to help each other before the system deletes hope
I know I'm going out on a limb
But then again
My people getting out of a win
Small wins 
But even then
Take on them without no doubt in ya head
That little wins gonna turn from small to really gargantuan 
Lyrical opposition
For those who just wouldn't listen
For those who thought they would stop us with women drugs and some riches
Huh, you kidding 
My dreams is way bigga then that
I'm living, without bein distracted by any that
I'm Killin, negativity with keepin my mind intact 
My lines been fat, now tell me how where yo eyelids at
In the Restin position or are they way peeled back
My eyes been on the prize way before I even made this track


I always knew I'd have a shot
So why my brothas gettin shot
I always knew I'd make it big
So why my brothas Makin shivs 
I always knew I'd put in work
So why my brothas in the dirt
I always knew this what I'd be
So why my brothas in the streets

To listen to Mai'saan's music directly go to

To learn more about or donate to NOTES FOR NOTES log on to

To Join Off The Filed Player's Wives Association logo on to

Remembering Chuck Bednarik and a beautiful day of wine, music and story.

Added on by cynthia zordich.

It was in the middle of a winter storm in 1999 when I drove to Chuck Bednarik's home in Bethlehem, Pa to photograph him. Emma let me in and from the minute I entered, I felt warm and welcomed. I spent hours at the kitchen table eating pizza hot from the oven and sipping red wine. Chuck played the accordion and that was the only time Emma sat down. She listened, they sang and I took it all in. Chuck took me to his church and since we were there, he took a moment to pray the rosary. He also showed me the large oak tree that would be his final resting place. I have often thought of that peaceful setting and the delight in his eyes as he stopped to admire it.  Rest in Peace Chuck Bednarik and blessings to the entire Bednarik family.


chuck bednarik accordian

Those hands.  You cannot help but stare at them.  They are hypnotic.  Mesmerizing.

It is thought that the oldest living thing on the planet is a tree that dwells on a bleak, hard scrabble, wind-swept spit of desolation, and it is so cantankerously hardy, so unyieldingly stubborn that it seems to take root in rock.  You can’t kill it, and it won’t die on its own.

Those hands, they belong on that tree.

The fingers are bent at grotesque angles, the knuckles hideously swollen.  The pinky on the right hand wanders out at a ninety-degree angle, almost as though it belongs to another hand.

Those fingers have been stepped on.  Chewed on.  Twisted.  Bent.  Yanked.  Cleated.  Caught in the ear holes of helmets.  Caught in face masks and violently shaken about.  All that, plus whatever other atrocities football players commit on each other when they are hidden from the view of the whistle-blowers and the yellow flag-throwers, down there at the bottom of the pile, when the rule is grab hold of the handiest extremity and practice extreme sadism.

Those hands... imagine the stories they could tell.

Well, those hands are the property of Chuck Bednarik.  And he is beamingly proud of them, and he will gladly recount for you each dislocation, each firecracker pop that meant yet another fracture, each ligament torn, each muscle shredded, each bit of cartilage ripped loose from its moorings.  He can give you down and distance and gruesome detail.

Arthritic?  You bet.

Hurt?  Only every minute of every day, that’s all.

He says this with a perverse delight.  He says this with a perverse delight because those hands, those gnarled, callused claws, are befitting a man who was anointed with the best nickname there has ever been in all of sports:  Concrete Charlie.

“Like it?  I loved it!” he thunders.

And it is obvious that he loves it still.  He not only loved it, he lived it, and now, as a lion in winter, he tries to live it still.

Chuck Bednarik.  Last of the 60-Minute  Men.  Iron Man.  Concrete Charlie.

That’s quite a load to be lugging around, quite a lot to live up to, especially when, on the first of May, nineteen-hundred-and-ninety-eight, you have turned seventy-three.

He snorts at the notion of mortality.

“I’m up at six every morning,” he says.  “I can run ten miles, play eighteen holes and mow the yard, before noon.”

He winks, blue lagoon eyes twinkling to soften how that sounds.  But you look at him there in the swivel chair in his kitchen, half a hoagie in front of him, not ten pounds off his best playing weight and his body yielding only the most grudging of inches to time, and you suspect that if there were money riding on it, if it really mattered to him, he might just do it, might just do the ten miles and the eighteen holes and the two acres of lawn, all in the same morning, and then ask what you’ve got in mind to kill the afternoon.

In 1960 a sportswriter named Hugh Brown wrote in The Bulletin that the middle linebacker and the center for the Philadelphia Eagles--who were both the same man-- “is as hard as the concrete he sells.”  Chuck Bednarik sold ready-mix concrete in the off-season.  Professional football was not a living by itself in those days.

Even if you were Concrete Charlie.

Even if you were the toughest, meanest, most versatile, most indefatigable, hardest-to discourage SOB on the field.

“I was the No. 1 pick in the draft,” he says, “and you know what I got?  I got three thousand dollars for signing my name to an Eagles contract and I got a salary of ten thousand.  I bought a new car for twenty-seven hundred and a house for fourteen-five.”

“I played both ways, offense and defense, and I kicked off, I punted, I snapped the ball on field goals and extra points.  Now, you tell me, what was left that I didn’t do?”

Uh, sell programs?

“That was about all.  And when I say I played both ways, I mean there was contact on every play.  You got hit!  You got the stuffing beat out of you."

His voice is a rising rumble.  This is a sore subject.  Concrete Charlie is not just proud of his name and his reputation, not just proud to have been the last of the 60-Minute Men, he is zealously protective of that title, more passionate about guarding it with each passing year, and determined not to concede it someone who doesn’t have hands like his, hands like the roots on the tallest, oldest tree in the forest, hands that got that way by honest, hard labor.

He looks at those hands, looks at the pinky that has set off on its own, and then he laughs.

“The difference between me and today's players are the diamonds on their fingers.”

Yes, Chuck Bednarik is bitter.  Yes, he is resentful.  Yes, he admits it, and eagerly it seems.  Yes, he is blunt, and to a fault.  As the wife of Concrete Charlie likes to say:  “If you want to know what’s on Charlie’s mind, you don’t have to ask.  Usually you don’t even have to wait ten seconds.”

No there is no diplomacy, no pretense.  He is what he is, unashamed and unrepentant.

“Sure I’m envious of what they make these days,” he says.  “I see what they make compared to what I did and it makes me nauseous.  I just scan the games on TV, only scan them.  I know they’re bigger today.  Everyone goes three hundred pounds.  But look at ‘em when they come off the field.  They’re sitting there taking their last breath.  They gotta have oxygen after one play!  Think any of them will live to be fifty?  So, yeah, they’re bigger.  Faster, too.  But better?”

He shrugs, demands:  “Show me.”

The glasses he wears seem to be giving off sparks.

“Look, I don’t want to come off sounding like a braggart.  But I did what I did.  It’s like Ali said, ‘if you did it then it’s not bragging, it’s fact.’ ”

And, yes, he did it.  Oh my yes.

When the Eagles won the championship of pro football in 1960, Concrete Charlie played all but ninety seconds of that game.  He had retired two years previously, but had come back.  He was thirty-seven years old.  And on the last play of the game, the Green Bay Packers brutish fullback Jim Taylor had caught a pass and was heading to the end zone for what would have been the winning touchdown.

Except Concrete Charlie got him, wrestled him to the cold, hard ground like a rodeo cowboy bulldogs a steer, and then sat on the squirming, seething Taylor until the clock blinked down to all zeros.

“You can get up now, Jim,” Concrete Charlie told Taylor.  “The game’s over.”

It became a line for the ages.

So did Concrete Charlie’s hit on Frank Gifford.  It remains even now the definitive tackle in the sport of football.  Coaches still scrounge around for the grainy black and white shot from Nov. 20, 1960, to show their charges how to legally decapitate another human being.

It was in Yankee Stadium, the Eagles winning 17-10 inside the last two minutes, Gifford running a pass route directly into the Bermuda Triangle, over the middle, into the Dead Zone, reaching back for the pass that was thrown behind him, snaring it with an elegant ease, the graceful nonchalance that was his signature, turning to head upfield and...


If he’d been hit full with a baseball bat, he wouldn’t have flown backward with such velocity.  The ball flew forward.  Gifford lay like a corpse.

“Chuck knocked him right out of his shoes,” insists Tom Brookshier, who was Concrete Charlie’s teammate.

That seems a bit overblown.

“No, look.” says Brookshier, and he walks to a wall in his den and points to a photograph that is thirty-eight years old, and there is Gifford, motionless as a cadaver and, yes, it does look as though his shoes are barely hanging to his toes.

And looming over the supine Gifford is Charles Philip Bednarik, in mid-hop, doing a dance of unbridled glee, and for long, bitter years New York Giants fans have accused him of taunting, but Concrete Charlie looks you in the eye and says:  “I can tell you word-for-word what I was saying to Frank”

“This f-----g game is over!”

Gifford sustained the king of concussions, and not only was knocked out that game, he was knocked out of the rest of the season...and for the season after that!

And this is what Gifford has said:  “It was perfectly legal.  If I’d had the chance, I’d have done the same thing Chuck did.”

At the card shows he does, Concrete Charlie has two stacks of 8x10 photographs ready for autograph seekers.  They can select one that shows him crouched, poised to pounce on an unseen opponent.  Or they can opt for the other one, that famous shot, Bednarik looking down at the unconscious Gifford.

“Nine out of ten choose this one,” says Concrete Charlie, holding up the most famous picture in the history of professional football.

“There was a celebrity roast for Frank a few years ago and I was asked to be one of the roasters.  So I told the guy in charge that right after he introduced me he should have all the lights in the room turned out.  Total darkness.  So he did, and I waited, five-six-seven seconds, and you can hear the crowd wondering what the hell is going on.  When the lights came back on I looked at Frank and said, ‘Does that ring a bell?’  The place broke up.”

But behind the gruffness and the bluster, behind the bitterness and the bile, there is a part of Concrete Charlie that is more marshmallow than concrete.  In 1997, when Gifford made the front page of all the tabloids and was the centerpiece of all the TV trash shows, caught in a compromising and embarrassing position with a woman not his wife, he found himself at a banquet sitting all alone, shunned like a leper.  No one wanted to venture within twenty yards of him.

Except for Concrete Charlie.

“He told me, ‘I’m going to go over and speak to him,’ ” said Emma Bednarik.  “He said, ‘This isn’t right.  He’s not a killer.’  You never know what Charlie is apt to say, so I was holding my breath the whole time.”

Concrete Charlie made sure the rest of the room saw him as he walked slowly, purposefully to the solitary man and sat down and cheerily boomed:  “Hey, Frank, good to see you.  How you doing?”

Gifford’s head was bowed.  But even though he didn’t look up at first he smiled and said out of the side of his mouth:  “I made you famous, didn’t I, Chuck?”

“Yes, you did Frank.”

“I’m still your friend, Chuck.”

“And I’m still your friend, Frank.”


There is a yowling commotion outside.  Concrete Charlie sighs heavily.  Spanky is bringing Concrete Charlie another gift.  Maybe a mouse.  Perhaps a mole.

As a scrawny orphan, Spanky was dumped at the bottom of Concrete Charlie’s driveway.  Spanky was barely alive, ribs showing, but he hissed and clawed and showed so much fight for such a tiny kitten that Concrete Charlie, tough guy, couldn’t help but take him in.

In gratitude, Spanky hunts down furry critters and delivers them, proudly, to the kitchen door, as a sort of tribute.  Concrete Charlie pretends to be annoyed.

Concrete Charlie rises from his chair and walks with only the suggestion of a hitch in his get-along.  He had knee replacement surgery (the left one) in 1994.  It doesn’t keep him off the golf course.  It was the first and only time his legs had ever been cut on.  “To me,” he says, “that’s a miracle.  Twenty-one years of football and never have to have knee surgery, that’s a miracle.”

He returns with a shopping bag full of letters.  They’re from East Moline, Illinois.  From Overland Park, Kansas.  From Pelham, New Jersey.  He averages forty to fifty letters a month.  They want his autograph.  On collector’s cards.  On scraps of paper.  Even on a helmet.  It is amazing; he is nearly forty seasons removed from his last football game and yet the clamor for him is greater that ever.  A new generation has discovered Concrete Charlie and they are agog, like paleontologists who have just dug up the remnants of the most frightening dinosaur of all.  The 60-Minute Man.

“Dear Mr. Bednarik:  Is it true that you played both ways?  Could you please sign this?  I am enclosing a pen.”

And all of that attention pleases him mightily, and he doesn’t mind saying so.

“Thank God for grandfathers and fathers,” he says.  “They tell their sons and grandsons about me.  They tell them:  ‘Now there was a football player!’  And then kids see me on Classic Sports shows.  And NFL Films has been very, very good to me.”

The supplicants write to him in care of the Pro football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, and regularly the Hall forwards another shopping bag full to him, up there in his hilltop Tudor-style house, in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania, near his beloved Bethlehem.  And he signs them all and sends them back.

No charge.

“I know there are guys who get fan mail and open the envelopes and if there isn’t money in them, they throw them away.  I could never do that.”

No, he couldn’t.  Concrete Charlie has a code to live by.  It is a code he began to form while still in his teens.  He formed it while he was crammed inside those bombers in which he flew combat missions during World War II.  He was a machine gunner.  He was only eighteen.  So young, so very young to be introduced to death.  Thirty times he took off, thirty times he landed.

Even now he can hear the flak pinging on the wings and on the fuselage, deadly shards of jagged shrapnel knocking, knocking, knocking to be let inside.  Even now, he sees other bombers in flames, men jumping from them, pulling frantically at parachute rip cords.

Some of the chutes open, billowing plumes.

And some of them don’t.

Very quickly, Concrete Charlie got in the habit of the eight a.m. mass.

“I have a lot of devotion in me,” he says.  “I go to mass every morning.  I have a Virgin Mary monument in the backyard.  I’ve had a lot of miracles in my life.”

And those analogies we are always making, the ones equating combat on the football field to combat in a war?

“Yeah, they’re a lot alike,” he says, slowly, considering his words.  “But no matter how bad you might get hurt playing football, at least there’s nobody shooting at you.”

Back from the war, he enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania and almost instantly became an All-American.  Franklin Field was stuffed full in those days, the glory days of the late 1940’s.  Penn played the big-name schools, and the bigger the names the harder Concrete Charlie hit them.  Very quickly, he became the biggest name in college football.

And at a Croatian hall dance he first laid eyes on his Emma.

chuck and emma bednarik

“Look at her!” he commands.  “She’s still beautiful.  Absolutely gorgeous.  She’s seventy-three.  Doesn’t she look twenty years younger than that? - We are married 50 years.”

As a matter of fact, she does.  And her eyes sparkle like a coquette’s as she recounts their first days:

“My brother pointed him out to me.  I knew from nothing then.  I asked, ‘What’s an All-American?’  I thought football was a dirty sport.  My brother said, ‘He asked for your phone number.  But don’t go getting cocky.  He’ll be like a sailor.  He’ll have a girl in every town.’  The first time we went out, I sat up against the door of the car.  I was going to jump if he made any kind of move.”

Ten months later, on June fifth, nineteen-forty-eight, they were married.

They have five children, all daughters, and ten grandchildren.

Emma:  “Charlie refers to them as Daughter No. 1 and Daughter No. 2, and I tell him:  ‘Charlie, they have names for heaven’s sake.’ ”

Yes, they do, and when he speaks their names, when he speaks anything at full volume, they all jump.  Except Emma.  She knows how to gentle him.  She knows how to be a horse whisperer to him.  She can get Concrete Charlie to come around, every time.

“I couldn’t stand the yelling,” she says, “so I learned very early how to tell him little white lies.  Never to hurt him.  Never to deceive him.  Just to keep the peace.  Just to stop the yelling.  Just to bring quiet into the house.”

He listens to this and nods his head, in affirmation and agreement, and his eyes shine.  It is a look of adoration.

“I have a violent temper,” he says, contritely.

But Emma knows how to muzzle him, and also just how to keep him feeling good about himself.

“A man called me,” says Concrete Charlie, “and wanted to know if it was OK if he named a race horse after me.  I said sure.  So he called me the other day and said Concrete Charlie had just run his first race.  He said he got boxed in and he got tired and finished sixth.”

And Emma looks at Concrete Charlie and smiles sweetly and says:  “I told the owner of that horse that his horse can’t get tired at the end.  Because this Charlie never did.”

Concrete Charlie beams.

He put in his years in pro ball and he retired after the 1959 season.  He was thirty-five years old and he felt every day of it.  Of course, being Concrete Charlie, he never admitted that to anyone.  They gave him a hero’s send-off.

“They gave me a thousand dollars,” he says.

That year, on the way to the championship, he played virtually every second of each of the last five games.  He did so even though he had torn his right biceps so horribly that the entire muscle came loose and slid down his arm until it got to his elbow, where it collected in a sort of grotesque puddle and just laid there.

The other players, tough men themselves, saw it and swallowed the bile that was rising in their throats.  They looked on with wide eyes while Concrete Charlie pushed that mound of muscle back up his arm, nudged it into the approximate place where it belonged, and then tied it down with a large Ace bandage.

The legend of The Iron Man swelled.

Against Cleveland, he ricocheted out of a three-car pile-up and landed in a heap in front of the Browns’ bench.  The great coach Paul Brown looked down at him and snarled:  “Give it up, old man!”

And Concrete Charlie scrambled to his feet and sprayed the patriarch of the Browns with defiant spittle and elaborate hyphenated profanities, and then made a point of putting a little extra mayhem into each of his hits the rest of that game.

He came back in’61 to help defend the championship.  But he was thirty-seven by then and the team was in decline.

And so was Concrete Charlie.

And he knew it.

If you’re going to be The 60-Minute Man all your days, then you have to be unsparing when you assess yourself.  No alibis.  No excuses.  No rationalizations.  Take it straight, without a flinch.

“I knew I was losing it,” he says.  “Thirty-seven--that’s enough.  You can’t kid yourself.  You know what you used to be able to do.  When you get to where you wanted to be on a play and they’ve passed you by, then it’s time.  Oh, I could’ve kept playing, fooled them for another year or so.”

But he couldn’t stomach the thought of fooling himself.  He could still play, but he couldn’t be Concrete Charlie, and damn if he was going to tarnish the legend.

So he retired, this time for keeps.

“I was all right with it,” he insists.

“No he wasn’t,” rebuts Emma, softly and firmly.

He shrugs, saying wordlessly that, yes, she is right.

“I went to camp my first year out of the game, just to help out a little.  I thought maybe I could wean myself away from the game.”

And could he?

He looks at Emma, and she answers for him:  “He tried not to show it, but I knew what was inside of him.  Charlie has a lot of restlessness in him.  It was very hard for him to be separated from football.  I think they could have cut off a leg and he wouldn’t have missed it as much as he missed football.”

He does not disagree.

“In fact,” says Emma, triumphantly, “he would play now if he could.  Isn’t that right, Charlie?”

And Concrete Charlie fidgets in the swivel chair in his kitchen and blurts out his confession:

“Sure I would.  Yeah, I’d line up right now.  The money, the way it is today, I’d make more for one game than I made my whole career.  Yeah, I’d line up and get the snot kicked out of me.”

He smiles a fox smile.

“I could go in and snap the ball for a punt,” he says, “only I wouldn’t run down the field.”

Sure he would.  He’d give in, he’d give in to temptation and he’d give in to instinct and he’d do it, if they’d just give him the chance.

He’d bend over and assume that snapper’s splay-legged stance and wrap those gloriously gnarled claws around the football and send it whistling back there to the punter and then he’d rise up and explode out of that stance and set off down the field, looking for somebody to crock.  Seventy-three years old, running on a plastic knee, and looking for someone to knock ass over teacups.

And, oh, how grand it would be...The Last Ride of Concrete Charlie.

He looks at his Emma and smiles fondly.

And she looks at her Concrete Charlie and she gives him a big wink.





Concrete Charlie: The Chuck Bednarik Story

Written by Bill Lyon/When the Clock Runs Out

Photographs by Cynthia Zordich



Source: Remembering Chuck Bednarik


Added on by cynthia zordich.

Small town roots must nurture imagination, initiative, confidence. Youngstown is a tough town and while some fear it-- the kids I know consider this a badge of honor. Sure, the town is most known for sports, but there is talent all around. And, with my kids' friends all grown up -- they have loaded up their backpacks and are out conquering the world. When they come home to visit (and they always do) we love to stand at the island and catch up. I have decided to devote this page of my site to all the great new talent out there. My own personal pinterest! Enjoy and be amazed at the talent on our streets.

Jackie Popovec is only 23 years old-- but her soul is old! Finishing up her studies in music production last year, Jackie and her band, The Vindy's have just released their first EP.  I know I can speak for all of Y-town when I say-- This album is going to climb!! 

Red Wine EP
The Vindys


Added on by cynthia zordich.

"The beauty of the NFL lifestyle is that if you plan and prepare properly, you will have the flexibility and resources to embark on many journeys after retirement. The NFL teaches you, as well as your spouse, to adapt to varying circumstances and unforeseen changes. It prepares you for life in a way that other careers do not." Reagan Charleston

"With ball, we spend hundreds of hours preparing for each game. We anticipate the actions of our opponents. We check and recheck our own actions. We consistently improve our plan. Even at the moment of execution, we react to change and make adjustments. This is the game plan that has been ingrained into our minds – it’s second nature. Walking into any environment you have that credibility. You've proven that you have performed at the top of your profession. Guys forget that. They close the play book. Here's how I look at it:  SHORT TERM/JOB. LONGTERM/LIFE. I apply the same principles that I learned as a player to everything that I do."  Jeff Charleston

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Added on by cynthia zordich.

NFL Wife and Mom Cynthia Zordich Attends NFL Boot Camp: Consumer Products. "Football has been a guiding force all of my adult life. The misconception is that league women sacrifice their own lives and careers to follow their husbands’; that they live in shadow, or worse, at the mall. Truth is: I have met all key influences in my life because of the game."


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Game Face

Added on by cynthia zordich.

In recapping a round of NFLPA engagements, I have to say that while my purpose was to promote engagement, provide direction and promote self worth in others, I may have benefited most from these visits.

What I have learned is that the women of the NFL truly are in a league of their own.  From taking the reins through player careers, trades and transition to finding their own footing along the way, the women of the league are the strength behind the shield.

Having the privilege to sit with former players and their spouses through the NFLPA Chapter events coordinated by Andre Collins, I have the opportunity  to hear firsthand accounts of triumph and adversity from those who have journeyed through the NFL.

NFLPA Engagement Mediators vary from city to city. I have had the pleasure of working with Freddie Scott ll, Leonard Wheeler, Isaac Keyes and Kathryn Taylor Smith. Through activities and role playing we dive into such issues as: Self Worth, Communication, Transition, Depression, Second Career Goals and Family. Players are somewhat guarded when they walk in, but once others start to open up, once they realize that they are not alone in thought and experience, those walls break down. It can get heated and it can get emotional, but everyone walks away with something.

In one of my favorite activities for the women, I photograph of each of them as they are coming in. These portraits are usually apprehensive and that is the intention.  Players have Game Faces every Sunday. Player's wives have them every time they walk out the door. It's called the expectations of an image. The Player's Wife. Later, I work to chip away the stone. We talk about self purpose, we reflect back on childhood dreams, we open up about regret. The purpose is to remind, refuel  and redirect the women. It forces them to think about who they are, what defines them and finally, what they want out of life right now.


We then direct them to resources that are available to them as former league women. Resources that will help bring their life plan to fruition. We also encourage them to reach out to each other. Engagement is the true purpose. There is much to learn from our unique experiences in the league.  There is much to gain by looking around the room and realizing that you are a part of an elite group.  The NFL makes up 1% of the world. There is honor in representing that 1% and it should last a lifetime. Many former players forget that and so do the women. By the end of our time together, you can feel the change in the room.  Pride, self accomplishment, drive and adrenaline enter. We take that energy and retake their portraits. The results are expressive, confidant and raw.  It is rewarding to watch them compare the two shots.  Nothing had changed on the outside, yet everything changed within. When they walk out the door and back into their worlds you can feel the shift. On my own return home their images stay with me and leave me feeling blessed to be a part of the process. The simple process of reminding them of what they already were. Women-- in a league of their own.


Cynthia Zordich is the co-author of When The Clock Runs Out (Former Players share their stories of hardship and triumph in Letting Go of the Game) and a contributing author of NFL Player Engagement. She is the Wife of Former Pro Michael Zordich and the mother of current Carolina Panther Michael V. Zordich.