One of the dirtiest players in recent memory is now in charge of discipline in the NFL.
He will be levying fines on players for late hits, unnecessary contact and all of the things that made him beloved in Philadelphia, and hated everywhere else.
It helps to have friends in power. For Runyan, it was ex-teammate, NFL executive vice president of football operations and former Eagles cornerback Troy Vincent.
“I had stayed in contact with Troy,” Runyan told Domowitch. “Troy’s big on the player engagement and educational kind of stuff.
“One day, he asked me if I’d be interested in this position.”
The offer came on the heels of Runyan quitting his former job. He had served in the House of Representatives for the third district of New Jersey for two terms. Runyan decided not to run again after 2015 to spend more time with his family. He was also not satisfied with the lack of teamwork in Washington.
During the offseason he has been able to work out of an office 10 minutes from his New Jersey home.
Runyan has been critical about NFL rule changes in the past. In one quote from 2010 he said “it’s turning into a basketball game out there.”
Those opinions have not softened over time. However, he understands he has an objective job to do and has no problem doing it.
“These two books here,” Runyan said to Domowitch, pointing to the NFL rule book and a copy of the CBA. “I’m basically just implementing those two documents. That’s how I look at it.”
The rules aren’t always that cut and dry, and it will be interesting to see Runyan’s rulings when he has to navigate shades of gray. Because when he played, there was no navigating, just full speed ahead.