Jim Tyerer and the family he left behind committed suicide

Suspension

As a young man driving the highways of the Midwest for his sales job, Brad Terrier would resist off-road hypnosis with the radio, dial-up as he drove and tune in whenever he heard his father’s name on sports talk shows.

“I can’t remember how many times I would have been out in the middle of nowhere to do my job of driving, and there would be a discussion about NFL Hall of Fame people and they would remember my dad,” Terrier said. “It was like, ‘I can’t believe I heard about him in Central Iowa’ and they were talking about why he wasn’t in the Hall of Fame and it was just curiosity.”

Jim Terrier, a prominent offensive tackle in Ohio State, played in the NFL for the Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs from 1961-73 and spent one season with Washington before retiring after the 1974 season. He was a big part of what made the Texas/Presidents’ offenses go when They won three AFL titles, lost to the Green Bay Packers in their first Super Bowl and won Super Bowl IV. Member of the All time AFL teamTyrer is best suited to join eight of his former fellow Pro Football Hall of Fame mates, which this weekend will be holding its annual induction party in Canton, Ohio. However, he failed to get the necessary votes in 1981This is the only time his name is put to a vote.

Rick Gosselin, the 19-year-old member of the Hall and former NFL Supreme Committee and general columnist for the Dallas Morning News, in an email described Tyrer as “the most qualified candidate in the senior group. There are hundreds of players in that group and Tyrer is The only one who’s been a fully professional player six times. If you’re the best at what you’re doing for six seasons in the NFL, you’re a candidate worthy of Hall of Fame. Beyond merit, indeed.”

Then came the early morning hours of September 15, 1980, when three of their four children were sleeping in their suburban Kansas City home, 41-year-old Terrier shot his 40-year-old wife, Martha, to death in their bedroom before turning the gun on. on himself.

“We all knew after this happened that something wasn’t right,” said Stephanie, Jim Tyer’s youngest daughter. “He wasn’t the guy we knew. … You feel like there must have been something you could do or something you should have gotten to know. Even though I’m 12 or 13, there’s still a bit of guilt. Why didn’t we catch up Something or why don’t we know more?… Maybe he also didn’t understand what was happening to him.”

If Jim Tyrer was never elected to the Hall of Fame, his legacy is secure in the lives of his children and those of Martha. To help remind people of their father’s ingenuity, if nothing else, children have told their parents’ story, one intertwined with their resilience and success, in Emotional Documentary Directed by Kevin Patrick Allen. After all these years, their memories of the footage that woke them up, and how they hid to their backs to discover the horrific scene, still made them cry.

They remember Martha as a wonderful mom who attended all their games, and Jim was doing the same as often as he could. But like so many former athletes in a story that is now all too familiar, Terrier struggled to navigate life after sports and found himself stumbling financially at a time when some professional athletes needed off-season jobs to make ends meet.

“I was seventeen,” Brad, the Tigers’ oldest boy and high school football player, recalls the evening before September 14, 1980. “I was in myself. I knew my dad went to work and came home at night, but I didn’t know Really exactly what he was doing.The night it happened, I was in my room lifting heavy weights because I was trying to get bigger – I was actually measuring my biceps.

“My father came, probably about nine years old, and had a conversation between you and your eldest son,” he continued, choking slightly. “He had a conversation with me as if he knew he would never see me again. At the time, it was completely out of context and I was kind of focused on something else. Looking back, I remember that conversation really well. He would say, I was a good boy and I’m proud.” You have to take care of your brother and sisters. It was just out of the blue. I was like, ‘Okay, Dad.’ It was probably about 20 minutes of talking, but I know he already knew he was going to do something.”

Jim Tyrer had his last era of Chiefs’ match with 11-year-old Jason. Jason Terrier, the child of the family, mentioned that his father was loving but not overly affectionate until that match. “He didn’t give us a lot of hugs, but that match did. I kind of hit it off—it just felt so unusual, you know?”

Not even half an inch thick.

Standing at 6 feet 6 and weighing about 300 pounds, Jim Terrier was known for his huge head that made his teammates jokingly refer to him as “the Pumpkin.” Dave Hill told The Washington Post in 1980. Teammates were “joking that Martha would hire his head for the kids for Halloween.” Ben Davidson, the raiders’ formidable defensive end, joked that Terrier “was basically wearing a big red trash can like a helmet.”

At a time when the Harvesters could not use their hands and there was little awareness of the dangers of concussion, repetitive head trauma and chronic traumatic encephalopathy – or CTE – the head was a weapon that Tyre fearlessly used while playing in 180 consecutive games. Stephanie, a pediatric surgical nurse at Kansas City Hospital, was a week shy of her thirteenth birthday at the time of the shooting. She remembers her father’s own huge helmet from Ohio, which bears his name because he is not suited to others.

Tyrer was never diagnosed with CTE, which was not recognized by scientists until 2005 and can only be identified after death. Tyre’s autopsy notes that “no substantive abnormalities have been identified” in his brain, but “the more we learn and the more we know,” Stephanie said, “I’m certainly relieved of what I think really happened to him.”

Tina Terrier Moore, the eldest of four children who was in college at the time of her parents’ death, has one of his old helmets. She said the padding “isn’t even half an inch.”

Brad doesn’t remember any specific conversations about whether his father had a concussion, but he does remember “little talk of ‘headache’ and the pain seemed to be related to helmets that were too small to fit my father’s head,” he wrote in an email. Since they couldn’t get the helmet’s outer shell big enough, I somewhat remember that they would remove the materials on the inside (lining and suspension) to make more room inside.”

Tina remembers hearing her father complain of headaches and also consults a doctor.

Brad recalls “a lot of talk about my dad’s aching head…but the idea was that it was because of a tight helmet, not because of head trauma.”

Dealing with tragedy

Martha’s parents, Truman and Lucille Klein, moved in with their three grandchildren, who were in the house after their parents died, providing love and security. Tina returned to the area, leaving the University of Missouri to be close to the family, and went on to become a successful hairdresser. Truman, an engineering graduate at Purdue University, was the example children needed to come to terms with a tragic loss. He lost both legs and an arm in a car accident as a young man and went on to become an inventor who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the Architectural Barriers and Transportation Compliance Board. Brad said the Clynes family was the embodiment of resilience, delivering the message that “we have to keep going.”

Now a 59-year-old businessman and father of two living in Louisville, Brad focused for a while on soccer, and days after his parents passed away, he was back on the field at Rockhurst High School, a Jesuit school for boys only. They are traditionally a football powerhouse in Missouri. Led by quarterback David Kohn, a four-time World Championship winning bowler, the team had aspirations for the state championship that year and the field was where Brad felt he belonged.

Days later, he kicked what turned out to be the winning field goal in a game against Shawnee Mission West. A born-again Christian, he made his peace with the worst night of his life a few days after it happened.

“After the funerals, everyone came to our house and it was just packed,” he said. “Everyone was there – [Chiefs owner] Lamar Hunt and his wife, tons of guys and their wives, and all kinds of people just swarmed into this house. To get away from everyone, I went out and sat on the concrete slab of the patio. I put my head down and was kind of grumbling when God came to me and it was like, ‘Pick it up. Why are you sad? You’ve had two great parents for 17 years. you do not know anything. You have nothing to be sad about. It was like a light bulb. I was at peace then and there with her.”

Jason, who played for two state championship teams in Rockhurst, played football at the University of Kansas. He is a father of three boys, and owns a flooring company in the Kansas City area.

The circumstances surrounding his death and the murder of his wife changed the course of the Tyrer Hall of Fame. His chances remained slim until this year, when the Board of Trustees of the Hall Increase the number of senior recruits From one to three due to the backlog of candidates whose careers ended more than 25 years ago. For the 2023-2025 categories, a maximum of three volunteers can be selected annually, and the selection committee has only recently selected broad recipient Otis Taylor, from the same teams of chairs, to go forward to the next round of voting.

A few years ago, the four Tyrer kids split up their daddy’s things and were reminded once again of how great he was at playing. They shared their story in the documentary, but were realistic about their father’s Hall of Fame chances.

Neither of us was really upset or frustrated,” Brad said. “I would have thought about it, but only now and then. … We talked as a group about it and thought naively, ‘Maybe? Who do you know?’ As we thought more about it and learned more about it, we thought maybe if Kevin did the movie and if word got out, maybe Dad would get a second look.”

The Tyrers find comfort in knowing that much of their father’s football legacy is safe. It is inducted into the Ohio State Hall of Fame as well as the Presidents’ Hall. He has appeared in the Pro Football Hall of Fame show for all-time members of the AFL team. But they want to confess, if not confess, to Martha. They know that players’ wives carry a heavy burden and play an underappreciated role.

If they didn’t come, they had reached a level of understanding. Stephanie refers to this as “perspective,” which for her means choosing not to have children, preferring to help other young people instead.

“I have a lot of context to compare myself to in the sense that I see some kids in such difficult situations,” she said. “I know my story is nothing compared to the lives they live or the challenges that lie ahead. It gives me a lot of perspective – it shaped how I see the world.”

With this foundation, a sense arose of understanding what had happened on that early September morning nearly 42 years ago.

“I don’t think any of us think we’ve had a great life in terms of what we’ve been through,” Brad said. “I think we’ve all lived the life, the life our parents raised us to live.”