My 2010 foray into the basement of the late Browns coach Bud Carson has reaped artifacts for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
A tour of Carson's waterfront home in Sarasota, Fla. for a Beacon Journal story with Carson's wife Linda revealed playbooks filling the drawers of Carson's office and spilling over into the basement. When I looked at one of Carson's more-cherished books, I remarked to Linda Carson that it belonged in the Canton shrine. I contacted the Hall of Fame on her behalf a few weeks later.
The Hall of Fame was thrilled with her willingness to contribute, especially since John Madden has been leading a search for some of the league's most treasured playbooks, which would be preserved in the Hall's new research center. A senior reporter for WWSB ABC 7 in Sarasota, Linda Carson shipped six or seven of the playbooks most meaningful to Bud, who died of emphysema in 2005.
Joe Horrigan, vice president of communications for the Hall of Fame, said playbooks from Carson's days with the Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers were included. Carson was coordinator of Pittsburgh's Steel Curtain defense that won three Super Bowls in the 1970s. While the playbooks won't be available for viewing by the general public, the hall's archives are open by appointment, usually for scholarly studies.
Phase I of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's renovation is on schedule for a late June opening. This fall or in spring, 2013, the hall will also kick off its 5,000-square foot traveling exhibit, likely going into museums for a run of about three months.