Ex-repo man ready to seize punting job Redskins rookie Bunn primed for pressure

August 07, 1993|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

CARLISLE, Pa. -- Don't expect rookie punter Ed Bunn to get rattled Monday night when he makes his preseason debut for the Washington Redskins.

It'll be simple compared to his last job: repossessing cars.

He paid his way through junior college in Southern California as a repo man while surviving stab wounds and gunshots.

"I don't think there's anything that can happen on the football field that I haven't been prepared for repoing cars. It's 30 seconds of pure pressure and then it's over with. Punting is two or three seconds of pressure and then it's over with," he said.

Bunn has taken a long road to RFK Stadium that started when he was growing up in Alexandria, Va., rooting for the Redskins.

He left the Washington area at age 19. "I wasn't a very good person," Bunn said. "I just didn't care a lot about other people."

He was recruited out of high school as a punter, but the colleges passed when they looked at his grades. "I did a lot of goofing off in high school," he said.

Bunn said his mother left home when he was 10 years old and he hasn't spoken to her since, and his father, a lawyer, was a strict disciplinarian.

"I was rebellious," he said, although he now has a good relationship with his father.

Bunn's first stop was at UCLA as a walk-on, but he still wasn't ready to buckle down in the classroom.

"I was still into partying. Southern California is a different world. You've got the sun, the surf, the women. It's amazing," he said.

It wasn't long before Bunn was working construction, but he finally decided to change his lifestyle.

"I woke up one day and realized my life was turning into a brick wall," he said. "I wasn't going anywhere. I put my head in my hands and said, 'Kid, what are you doing with your life?' "

That's when he decided to enroll in junior college. He needed money to support himself so he decided to take a job repossessing cars.

"It's the perfect job for a person paying his way through college. You can set your own hours and work at night. If you have a good week or a couple of days, you can take the next couple of days off," he said.

It was all commission work at the rate of $100 a car.

Bunn concedes it's not a job for everyone. "It takes a certain mentality," he said, "A certain amount of guts."

It took persistence simply to get hired because at 21, he was considered too young for the job. He caught on quickly -- to the point where he could take a car in 30 seconds.

There are, of course, some occupational hazards: two broken wrists, a broken ankle, four stab wounds and several shots fired at him.

"When they stick a gun in your neck, you know you've got a fighting chance. When they come out shooting, that's when you're in trouble. But when they put a gun to your neck, they don't want to shoot. When they realize you're not stealing it, they say, 'Oh, man, let me get my wallet [out of the car].' When you hear shots, you start worrying," he said.

Bunn said he thinks he has been shot at about 20 times (but never was hit). His tow truck once had 15 holes in it, he said.

He shrugs that off by saying, "The papers always misquote me on this. It didn't happen at one time. There were probably six or seven months in there."

Bunn adds, though, in a matter-of-fact voice, that a bullet once hit the driver's door and, "went across my lap and out the passenger door."

Bunn also survived a run-in with the police when a car he repossessed was reported stolen before he got a chance to make his report.

"They'd put a gun on my neck, put me on the ground, cuff me, strap me with straps around my ankles and then I'm screaming, 'Look at my paperwork, look at my paperwork.' They'd say, 'Oh, man, go about your business.' I never got a sorry," he said.

Bunn admits there were times he wondered whether it was worth it, but added, "What else could I do, go to work for McDonald's?"

He sometimes even showed up for football practice with a repossessed car on his tow truck.

"I got chased into the locker room a couple of times," he said.

Bunn did well enough in the classroom and on the field to get a scholarship to Texas-El Paso.

"One of my favorite authors was Edgar Allen Poe because he was a little off. He could have been a repo man," he said.

Drafted on the third round, Bunn is favored to beat out veteran Kelly Goodburn for the punting job, but he's not taking anything for granted as he prepares for his debut against the Browns.

"I'm not saying, 'I'm the man,' no matter how bad or well I do. I have to perform," he said.

It still sounds easier than repoing cars.

NOTES: With nearly 20,000 tickets still available, the Monday night game between the Redskins and the Cleveland Browns will be blacked out on Channel 7 in Washington and on Channel 13 in Baltimore. It can't be shown in Baltimore because the city is within 75 miles of Washington. Channel 7 will air a one-hour pre-game show at 7 p.m., but can't show the game.

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