Tim Irwin was a second-year right tackle from Tennessee trying to replace Hall of Famer Ron Yary in the Vikings lineup. Wade Wilson was a second-year quarterback from East Texas State trying not to get cut. Linebacker Robin Sendlein and guard Terry Tausch, both from Texas, were backups to established standouts.
“What we had in common for a couple of months in 1982 is that we were on strike and none of us had any money,’’ Irwin said. “We were living in the Shadow Green apartments in Eden Prairie. For entertainment, we would buy a case of beer, put it on the shore of this little lake, and throw hooks in the water.
“Never caught anything, but we told tales and finished off the beer.’’
On Wednesday, Tausch died suddenly at 61 while doing yardwork at his home in suburban Dallas. A year ago, on Feb. 1, 2019, Wilson died at age 60 from diabetes complications, also in suburban Dallas.
Irwin, now a juvenile court judge in Knoxville, Tenn., said: “Wade was my roommate for 11 years. Terry was my left arm on the line for a long time. We lost another teammate, Chris [Doleman], recently … losing good men at these ages is tough.’’
Irwin was pleased to have missed one escapade with the Texas Longhorns — a hunt that produced a deer for Tausch and Sendlein.
“They brought the deer back to the apartment building, pulled it up the side with a rope, and cleaned it in Sendlein’s bathtub,’’ Irwin said.
Tausch, a second-round draft choice in 1982, spent two years waiting for Wes Hamilton to vacate right guard. He took over in 1984 and started 70 games next to Irwin. A broken ankle caused him to miss out on the strong finish to the 1987 season.
In 1988, all-time great Randall McDaniel came in as a rookie left guard. Hall of Famer Gary Zimmerman was the left tackle, Kirk Lowdermilk was the center, and Tausch and Irwin were the reliable right side on a superb offensive line.
Tausch was replaced by Todd Kalis after the season. He signed with San Francisco for 1989 and collected a Super Bowl ring.
“He wasn’t an All-Pro, but he was a good player,’’ Irwin said. “There were some guys he liked to play against, and some he didn’t, just like the rest of us, but I can guarantee this:
“Terry Tausch never backed down from anybody, never gave it anything but his best effort.’’
Irwin laughed to himself and said:
“You know Burnsie [Jerry Burns], he was an offensive genius, but he would get rolling and tangle up his words. One day we’re watching film, and Burnsie sputters to our line coach, Johnny Michels, ‘What is that big guy doing there?’
“Johnny says, ‘Which big guy?’ And Burnsie says, ‘Terry, Terry … Terry, er, LaTouche?’
“I called him LaTouche for about the next three years.’’