Former Bears defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan insisted he did not call the late Dave Duerson a derogatory word for African Americans in their first chat at Halas Hall.
In an interview from November, published on the website Deadspin.com, Duerson outlined to author Rob Trucks his first visit with Ryan after he was drafted by the Bears.
"He knew I'd gone to Notre Dame, and he asked me if I was one of those doctors or lawyers. I said, "Yes, sir,' " Duerson said. "He said, "Well, you won't be here too long, because I don't like smart [derogatory word for African Americans]."
Reached on his cell phone Thursday morning, Ryan said, "That's bull.
"I can't believe he said that about me, because I was a great fan of his. He played great football. He was a great player. He started for us as a rookie. I don't know why he would say that. That sounds terrible."
According to Trucks, Duerson said Ryan constantly reminded him he wasn't the coordinator's draft pick.
"That he did not want me there or something to that effect: "You won't be here too long because I'm trying my best to get you out of here." That kind of thing," Duerson said. "And so it was a very lonely feeling in that regard. It was not motivational at all. The guy simply hated my guts, without question."
Duerson added that Ryan expressed regret over his comment and treatment of him.
"He came as close to apologizing to me as he could a couple years ago when we saw each other at one of these card-signing events in Chicago. Of course, I would always go right up to him and extend my hand and say, "Hello," and I did, and this time he said, "Dave ..." He never called me Dave," Duerson recalled. "He would call me 22, or he would belt out my nickname. My nickname is "Double D," so he would call me "W D" or something like that. The closest he would come to calling me by my name was when he'd say, "W D." And then, two years ago, he said, "Dave." And he said, "This time can I have a hug?" And that was his way of saying, "I'm sorry."
Asked about his reaction to Duerson's death last Thursday, Ryan said, "It was a shock, because I saw him at the reunion, and he looked great."