Tim Spencer

Tim Spencer joined ex-USFLer Gary Anderson with the Chargers in '85

Chicago Blitz, Arizona Wranglers, Memphis Showboats

“I’d say it’s doubtful he’ll get a shot in the NFL after the last incident,” says Spencer regretfully when talking about Ohio State's former star Maurice Clarett. “It’s a shame because he’s a talented young man that needs some direction. I just wish he would have trusted the right people that could have helped him."

Ohio State is a football factory for players headed to the NFL, but running back Tim Spencer went to the USFL because George Allen and the Chicago Blitz made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

“I felt comfortable with coach Allen, I knew a little about his history,” says Spencer from Halas Hall in Chicago in 2006, where he was the running backs coach for the Chicago Bears.  “I knew where I would go in the NFL, and the money I was going to get from the USFL was better and guaranteed. It was a no-brainer.”

While Pittsburgh quarterback Dan Marino was the first player selected in the USFL, Spencer became the first player to sign with the new league.

“They [USFL] were trying to get something started, so they had to make it more enticing for players like me out of college,” says Spencer, as he reflects back almost 24 years ago.

Spencer was one of the smaller guys in the USFL, but when he arrived in San Diego, he was one of the bigger backs when compared to the 5-foot 6 inch Lionel James and the lean 180-pound Gary Anderson.

“I went from being a halfback in the USFL to being the fullback with the Chargers,” says Spencer. “All of sudden I’m the biggest guy. I looked around and it was easy to see I was going to play fullback.”

“When you think of a football player you think of Tim Spencer,” says Fouts, who led the NFL in passing yards from 1979 through 1982. “He’s so smart and selfless; he would take the role that was available to him because of the offense we played. He brought toughness – that Ohio State ‘thing.’  I wish the league folded sooner so I could have played with him earlier.”

Spencer reflects on what coach George Allen meant to him