Violent Footballer Returns for Coaches Funeral

Roosevelt Wagner was were he said he would never return and as he sat in his Infiniti on a cold day in front of the Spartan Stadium, he was unsure if he had it in him to go inside. It was a town he said never he would see in the future, it was the stadium where his dreams created him into an angry man, and this was a homecoming that saw him returning to see a coach who had said to him not to ever return.

That coach was George Perles, and now he had died. Perles, who was a former coach for Michigan State, passed away on the 18th of January passed, as a result, a long-term battle with Parkinson’s disease. The stadium was the location of a gathering of friends, former player’s family to celebrate his life. Wagner was one of those who players under during his last tenure as a coach, (1998-1990) and he was also the player who the coach thought was trying to kill him, Wagner was once quoted by the Detroit News in 1984 that, “I was gonna kidnap him and take him and shoot him somewhere in all them woods in Mason,”

However, this was denied by Wagner but resulted in Perles taking out a restraining order as a precaution against the footballer, and it saw Wagner keeping his distance. Yet, here he was, back where it all started and he had a wife trying to make sense of it. There was no doubt the two had a troubled relationship.

Wagner recalls his wife saying “Why the hell are you going back to East Lansing? They don’t want you there.” As he pictured all the people inside who loved Perles, his heart pounded. No one knew Wagner planned on coming and he thought, many if he just turned around, no would know he was there.

The restraining order

George Perles had wanted Wagner out of his life and had paid Wagner $6,000 to do just that in the fall of 94. That was when two police officers left Lansing to visit Wagner in Ravenna, Ohio, to hand him the restraining order. Perles was later to have said in The Ride of a Lifetime”, his autobiography that he was not in fear of the threat stating; “What was I going to do, look around corners for the rest of my life?” While Wagner continues to deny he said them, it was enough to have Perles wife worried and it is history that will never die, even if Perles has.