Dave Wannstedt told an epic story about Charles Haley


Things started a little rough, but after that, Dave Wannstedt hit it off with Cowboys star Charles Haley. (Getty Images)

As a former coach turned analyst, Dave Wannstedt brings as much energy to the broadcast as he did to the Bears’ sideline for six seasons in the 1990s.

Whether’s he’s offering commentary on 670 The Score or providing analysis on NBC Sports Chicago, Wannstedt always brings his A-game.

While appearing Tuesday morning on The Score’s “Mully & Hanley” show, Wannstedt was saying that the Bears really need a closer on defense — a great pass rusher or corner who can take them to the next level.

He said when he was the defensive coordinator with the Dallas Cowboys in 1992 under head coach Jimmy Johnson, the staff talked about going out and getting a closer. They did just that when they traded for Charles Haley, a tough-to-coach player who already had two Super Bowl rings with the 49ers.

Co-host Mike Mulligan asked Wannstedt how he was able to control the often troublesome Haley in the locker room. Wannstedt launched into an epic story about Haley’s first day of practice with the Cowboys.

Wannstedt had his defense in a room and was drawing up something on the board. Haley was sitting in the back of the room and was being quite loud. Wannstedt turned around and said, “Hey, Charles, keep it down.”

No sooner did Wannstedt go back to the board that Haley started acting up again.

Wannstedt then said to him, “Charles, this is not how we do things here.” Wannstedt said he really went “after him in an assertive way.”

Wannstedt said the meeting ended and Haley was still sitting there. “This is his first meeting, first day with the Cowboys,” Wannstedt reiterated with an excited voice.

As the 40-year-old coordinator began to erase the board, Haley walked up behind him.

Wannstedt said: “He looks me right in the eye and says, ‘If I hadn’t grown up, I’d kick your ass right now.’ I looked at him and said, ‘You know, Charles, I am glad you have grown up. We have to be on the field in 15 minutes for practice. Let’s go.’”

Haley walked out.

But standing outside the room behind the door was Johnson “like a dad at Christmas,” Wannstedt described. Johnson couldn’t wait to ask Wannstedt, “how’d it go?”

Wannstedt responded, “Fantastic, Coach! We’re ready to go.”

Give it a listen at the 27:45 mark:

Wannstedt said Haley couldn’t have been a better player to coach the rest of the season, staying late after practice and working with young players.

The Cowboys went on to win the Super Bowl that season. Wannstedt left after that year and took the head coaching job with the Bears. Haley stayed and won two more Super Bowls with the Cowboys.

Follow me on Twitter @DanCahill_CST

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