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George Starke: Senior Citizen on the "Hogs"

When one thinks of the "Hogs," the Redskins' legendary offensive line from the Joe Gibbs-I era, such names as Russ Grimm, Joe Jacoby, Jeff Bostic, Mark May, Jim Lachey or even Mark Schlereth are probably the most memorable.  The first four were original "Hogs," while Grimm is in the Hall of Fame, Jacoby should get inducted someday, Lachey would be going to Canton if not for career-stunting injuries, and May and Schlereth are star analysts on ESPN.


Don't forget about right tackle George Starke, another original Hog who played three seasons on the famed line (1982-84) as part of his 12-year Redskin career.  When the "Hogs" were formed in 1982, Starke earned the title of "Head Hog" because of his seniority with the group, which included players like Grimm, Jacoby, Bostic and May who were about a decade younger than him.  Number 74 served as a mentor to the piglets and earned a ring from the Redskins' win in Super Bowl XVII, when John Riggins rumbled behind the "Hogs" into pro football immortality.  Starke also played in Super Bowl XVIII and appeared in the playoffs in his final season.

Starke, who was drafted by the Redskins in 1971 but didn't compete in a game until 1973, is the only player in team history to have played in the franchise's first three Super Bowls: VII, XVII & XVIII.  He went from being a kid on George Allen's "Over The Hill Gang" to a senior citizen on the "Hogs." 

But Starke was more than a football player.  In fact, he's described himself to me as a "different kind of cat."  The eccentric fellow, a native of New Rochelle, N.Y., was a math and physics major at Ivy League Columbia University.  He also read newspaper editorial pages in the locker room before games and formed businesses during his playing days, including film production and distribution companies that promoted Reggae music.  A political activist, he once dated the daughter of then-Vice President Walter Mondale.  He also dabbled in acting and appeared as a sportscaster on D.C. television shows.

Starke recently appeared as a guest on my TV show, "Burgundy & Gold Magazine."  We discussed everything from his days as a "Hog," which included his plans that laid the groundwork for the famous black-tie, "Hogs Night Out" photo, to his thoughts while attending Columbia of becoming a physicist and not playing pro football at all.