BILLINGS – Former Montana Grizzly and New York Jet Rocky Klever is among nine players who will be inducted as the Montana Football Hall of Fame’s third class Saturday night in Billings.
“There are so many good guys, coaches and players that go through Montana, whether it’s Bobcats or Grizzlies or Carroll College,” said Klever before a VIP event Friday afternoon. “It’s a really good football state, and it’s a fun state.”
Klever spoke with MTN’s Scott Breen, who mistakenly thought the former NFL player had developed an East Coast accent during his time with the Jets. Turns out, he wasn’t the first one to make the mistake.
“I grew up with a speech impediment. I couldn’t say my R’s,” said Klever. “So ever since I was little, people ask me ‘Are you from Boston?’ No I’m not from Boston. Ever since I came back (to Montana), people ask, “Are you from (New) Jersey?’ No I’m not from Jersey.
“I grew up in Oregon, moved to Alaska, came here, but everywhere I went people say I have an accent.”
Besides the dialect questions, Klever says his time with the Jets was one of the best stretches of his life.
“It was cool, plus Guy Bingham was there ahead of me,” Klever said. “The first time I went out to training camp we drove the whole way together because he wanted to get his car out there. He took care of me. Back then, the vets didn’t really talk to the rookies, and back then, they would call guys Rook, and they still called Bing Rook because he’s got that baby face.
“So he just introduced me and everybody kind of took care of me. When we first went out there, he said, ‘The first time we go out for Happy Hour in between training camp practices, just buy everybody a beer, like take care of the tab.’ And it was like $40. It killed me to spend $40 on these guys for beer, but ever since then, I never had to buy another tab the whole time. They took care of me.”
Both the banquet and VIP gathering will be held at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center. Saturday’s induction ceremony gets underway at 5:00 p.m.