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November 17, 2012

Rob Ryan will have picture of legendary coach Joe Gilliam Sr. on his play sheet for Browns game

Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will have a photo of legendary Tennessee State coach Joe Gilliam Sr. on his play sheet for Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns.

Gilliam, 89, died earlier this week. 

The connection with Ryan goes back to 1989 when he was breaking into coaching and Gilliam gave him a job at Tennesse State. Ryan coached there five years, his first two on offense as running backs coach before coaching linebackers and the defensive line his last three years. 

"It was a great expererience cause you had to do every thing," Ryan said. "It was a great place to leanr how to coach football."

Ryan said Gilliam was one of the toughest and hardest working coaches he has ever worked for,including his dad, Buddy Ryan, and Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

"He was tough," Ryan said of Gilliam. "He was a hard driven guy. He made my dad look like a pussy cat."

In his time as a coach at TSU, Joe Gilliam Sr. helped develop 144 players who had professional football careers with the National Football League, including NFL Hall of Famer Richard Dent and former Dallas Cowboys legend Ed 'Too Tall' Jones.

His son, Joe Gilliam Jr., nicknamed "Jefferson Street Joe," played at TSU and later for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

-- Clarence Hill

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