ANSWER GUY: WHO'S "THE TURK?"
Escorting the shadow of doubt out the door of probability.
Bob Ryan, vice president, NFL Films: The Turk is the guy who delivers the news that you will no longer be a member of the team. Nice work. But who is he? Ernie Accorsi, general manager, New York Giants: The Turk can be anybody: a scout, an equipment manager, the player personnel director. Versatile fellow. Whoever it is, he has to be a crusty person, someone with a slightly sadistic side. I'm not saying The Turk doesn't have feelings deep down. He just can't show them. Poor guy. When you hear, The coach wants to see you. Bring your playbook, you know The Turk is coming. Yipe! We go to their room first thing in the morning, that way we can get them out of there fast. Dead man waking! When I was GM of the Colts, we had this guy Greg Fields who locked himself in his room and said he wasn't leaving. Dignity to the last. But why Turk? Lamar Thomas, former wide receiver, Miami Dolphins: I used to think it was named after the quarterbacks coach my rookie year in Tampa, Turk Schonert. I always walked in the other direction when I saw him coming. Smart move. Saleem Choudhry, researcher, Pro Football Hall of Fame: Like lots of things in football, it just evolved over time. But there is a 1987 article from Pro Football Weekly that says Rams linebacker Don Paul came up with it in the 50s. The coach would have someone wake up a player in the middle of the night to bring him down to his office, so Paul came up with the phrase, The Turk strikes at night. Spooky. Bob Ryan, NFL Films: One school of thought says it comes from the Ottoman Empire, when the Turks had the most beheadings in history. More than the French? Incroyable! Gustav Bayerle, professor emeritus, Central Eurasian Studies, Indiana University: I didn't know that was a football expression, but I can see why it is. Do tell. The word Turk once meant something horrible. In the first period of the Ottoman Empire [Ed.s note: late 13th century], the Turks were the scourges of Europe. They raided, they looted and they murdered. Their main goal was to kidnap children, the most valuable property on the slave market. People thought, if I don't behave, the Turk will come and take me. Not without a fight!
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