For Ahmad Rashad, Emmy Award-winning sportscaster, the days of hard-hitting, helmet splitting action for the NFL may be over, but he still remains a titan in the world of sports. Yet, underneath this tough exterior, he exudes as much enduring repose and faithfulness as his Yellow Lab, Muttley. Rashad named Muttley after a dog his father rescued from the pound. “The dog’s name was Muttley, so I named my dog Muttley. I think of my father every time,” Rashad says, pointing to his Golden Lab lying serenely on the couch next to him. “He’s usually not allowed on the couch, so I think he’s a little confused. He’s just not allowed on the couch at home,” Rashad chuckles.
In choosing a dog, there was no competition for Muttley in Rashad’s eyes. “[Labs] are such wonderful dogs with children. They’re nice calm dogs. Well, I guess not all Labs are calm dogs, but Muttley’s calm. He’s never eaten a shoe; he’s never chewed a wall, any of that kind of stuff, so I just like these dogs,” Rashad says. “Old Yeller was a Yellow Lab.”
Muttley enjoys going to work with Rashad, joining him in the NBA TV studio as he shoots Inside Stuff and NBA on NBC. But it’s not all work and no play. The two are partial to the Florida beaches and polo fields, where Muttley takes unremitting pleasure in staying fit by “running like crazy up and down,” Rashad nods as he affectionately pats Muttley on the head. “He has the life of luxury.”
For Rashad, Muttley deserves such indulgence and cosseting. He considers the Lab as his “constant calming influence,” a necessary trait in the entertainment world. Nevertheless, Muttley is always ready to play. This keeps this pup in optimal shape, and Rashad often engages Muttley in a healthy game of football catch and return.
When asked which football position Muttley would play, Rashad didn’t think he would be a football player at all. “He’s just out of the realm of all that.” But if he had to be? “He’d be a wide receiver because he can run and catch and he’s very fast and tireless, so he would be … like me.”
Before establishing himself as a distinguished TV personality, Rashad was a wide receiver for the St. Louis Cardinals between 1972-73, the Buffalo Bills from 1974-76, the Seattle Seahawks in 1976; and most notably, the Minnesota Vikings between 1976-82, earning four Pro Bowl selections from 1978 to 1981.
There is no doubt that Muttley is Rashad’s most constant and adored companion. When given the choice between playing catch with close buddy Michael Jordan or Muttley, Rashad, without fumbling, hands-down chose Muttley.