Phil Robertson passed on some buckskin in the hand to gain a birdcall in the bush

Before Duck Commander, Phil was a quarterback for Louisiana Tech from 1966-67. In fact, he started over Terry Bradshaw, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback. Bradshaw actually said Robertson could’ve made it to the NFL. 

However, Phil doesn’t regret his decision.

“I ran into my old buddy Bradshaw, for the first time since the locker room back at Louisiana Tech,” Phil said. “I ran into him at the LA airport. I said, ‘Bradshaw, you’ve done well, my man.’ And then he started telling me about how many injuries he received.” 


Phil had other ideas. He didn’t see a future in football, even though he received offers that would pay $60,000 a year (pretty good for the 60s).

“I thought, ‘And I’d miss duck season?” he said. “And I’d have large, violent…men chasing me trying to stomp me in the dirt?’ It just seemed like a lot of stress and not a lot of money.”

So he turned down a chance to be in the NFL and to make $60,000 a year. But the alternative, making duck calls, wasn’t nearly as lucrative or flashy.

For 25 years, Phil said he hung out in his broken-down shed hand-whittling duck calls out of cedar trees. He would then try to get those duck calls on store shelves.

“I’d drive up to these Walmarts and they’d run me out, ‘You think we’re gonna buy old duck calls off the street?’” Phil explained. “I said, ‘Hey man, Colonel Sanders started with one chicken and…that’s good chicken, man.”

He made $8,000 his first year. His wife, Kay, fed four boys on that salary. But now look at Phil. He’s a millionaire.

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