Every year there is that one kid.
You know, the kid your team drafts in a mid-to-late round, non-BCS school, lackluster measurables. He’s the kid that, when his name is called you let out a “Who?”
But you immediately, almost innately, become a fan. He’s the Rocky amongst all the first round Apollo Creeds. He’s the guy who seemingly has no business being on the field with the rest of these world-class athletes.
But he has one thing going for him that many others don’t.
He loves the game.
He doesn’t just like the money and fame (who wouldn’t?). Scoring touchdowns or getting a sack is great, but it’s not what drives him. He simply will do anything the coach asks, without a hint of bruised pride or inferiority complex, to be part of helping the team win.
Rookie pranks? He laughs at himself and enjoys the good-natured initiation.
Carry the veteran’s equipment from the practice field? “Yes sir,” that’s the respect he has and the respect he wants to earn.
He learns his position, along with one or two others. He works on all special teams and he finds ways to make himself available for any assignment.
And that’s why we love him. He has the attitude we all hope we would have if ever put in the position of playing in the NFL.
Last year it was Tony Moeaki. Talent? Yes. But those knees were made of glass we were told. He’ll never hold up in the NFL. Great kid, great character but, alas, his body won’t make it out of training camp. Wasted pick.
Yeah, that worked out pretty well and Tony is already a fan favorite who bears great resemblance to another young TE named Tony we had a few years ago.
Others who have fit the bill? Boomer Grigsby, Jared Allen, Scott Fujita, all fit in varying ways. Danan Hughes is perhaps the poster boy and still one of my favorite Chiefs. Don’t forget Todd McNair.
This year that guy is Shane Bannon out of Yale. (No relation to Race Bannon but come on, he looks like he could be the cartoon commando’s son).
Just watch this: http://goo.gl/09bHZ
The kid just wants to be around the game. He loves the game, not what it gives him.
I think he will make the roster and see the field. Not because he’s the best player out there but because he is us (minus the Ivy League degree). He realizes this is a dream too precious to throw away on a bad attitude. He’s playing with house money and he knows it can be gone in a heartbeat if he doesn’t seize this hot streak.
We all love an underdog. And it can’t hurt to have his attitude in our locker room. I hope his locker is right next to some of the early round guys, if just to remind them it’s about attitude and character as much as talent.