Crossman chooses a life of farming over football
William ‘Sparky’ Crossman claims he “eats, sleeps and thinks” agriculture, but to look at him, one understands he also realizes the importance of looking and being fit, well groomed and dressed for an important upcoming meeting at Doubletree Hotel in the Richmond area.
Sparky is a fifth generation farmer having been born to his father’s farm in the now Dulles Airport area then an ex-horse farm near Middleburg, VA. Taxes, commercial and suburban growth had Sparky searching for a favorable area and Westmoreland County fit the bill.
Sparky works his 1,000 acre corn, wheat, barley fields and in addition, small soybeans for the Japanese market, but almost got derailed around 1970 when the Washington Redskins came calling.
Sparky was a quarterback in organized football and played basketball for a championship team, so when Redskin lawyer Harry Sells put a word in for Sparky at a Redskin free-agent tryout, his position of a defensive half-back saw a field of 64 entrants dwindle to just four after head coach George Allen cut the rest.
At this point, Sparky was invited to Carlisle, PA to attend Redskin camp and had an interest from the Miami Dolphins and the Cleveland Browns, however, his father needed help with a large crop and as Sparky puts it, “farming is in my blood” not the Redskins.