Bright and early every morning, Ralph Cindrich takes to Twitter. Then he takes on the world.
“I’m at the stage where I don’t want to be anybody else,” Cindrich said of a social-media presence that is a frothy mug of Take No Prisoners chased by a shot of Scorched Earth.
“ONE more reason to put #Brady away: #DonaldTrump & #ChrisCarter.”
Nobody needs to know what that actually meant. Only that Cindrich meant it, just like he meant every word in his first book, “NFL Brawler: a player-turned-agent’s forty years in the bloody trenches of the National Football League.”
Buy it for the stories. You’ll make the money back on free drinks from friends who won’t believe the stories.
The story on Cindrich, 65, is that of a boy from Avella who became a big man in the world of wrestling, football and law. That boy also grew up to feud with Joe Paterno, nearly fight a Dallas Cowboys coach, take cases of beers to contract negotiations and — at the urging of “The Chief” — watch the back of Art Rooney II when Cindrich and the Steelers president ran on opposite sides of the courtroom.
A lot of former NFL players have written books. Cindrich was a Patriot, Oiler and Bronco.
Many former sports agents have written books. Cindrich’s business started with the likes of Mark May, Bill Fralic and Al Toon but eventually expanded to the point that he was tabbed “the undisputed free-agent champ” by USA Today.
But how many book authors are in four halls of fame (Western Pennsylvania, Italian-American Sports, Washington County and Avella High School), on a walk of fame and his university’s all-time football team (Pitt) and earned All-American status on the collegiate gridiron and wrestling mat?
If only to brag, Cindrich could have delivered a compelling book.
He wanted to brag.
“Pure ego,” Cindrich said of his reason for taking on the challenge of culling his tales for 249 pages.
“It was one of those things where I knew I had experiences that most fans dreamed about. I was an active participant.
“But I think of it as a love letter to my wife, family, football and life in the NFL.”
Over the course of about 30 minutes of entertaining conversation, Cindrich rarely was so politically correct that his earnestness on two subjects could not be mistaken. He is fiercely proud of his family and indebted to older brothers Ron and Bob.
“Standing near (Ron), where he had a red jersey with white stars because he was in the high-school all-star game; if he could do it, I knew I could play football,” Ralph Cindrich said.
“And Bob, who everybody probably knows as the United States district attorney, a federal judge, the head counsel for UPMC … but he was also all-state in wrestling. And, just like with Ron, I felt like I could do it if he could.”
It’s hard to imagine growing up in the Cindrich home without developing a fighting spirit. Cindrich described himself as a “roughneck,” albeit a cagey one — as the stories in his book, especially the ones about contract negotiations, reveal.
“I never liked being challenged much,” Cindrich said.
“I also never challenged people when I knew I might get my butt kicked.”
Having represented several former Steelers (including Hall-of-Fame center Dermontti Dawson and All-Pro linebacker James Farrior), Cindrich had runs in with everybody from late founder Art Rooney Sr. to former coach Bill Cowher to current director of football and business administration Omar Khan.
“I’m going to get slammed by Dan (Rooney) on that one,” Cindrich said.
He could have kept it to himself. He also could “be proper, say something differently when I need to…
“But a lot of times I don’t want to,” Cindrich said.
Not on Twitter. Not in a book. Not anywhere.
He may be an author, but he’s a brawler at heart.
Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.