Draft Day 2013

Great draft for quarterbacks, wide receivers, running backs and defensive lineman. The NFL and the draft is becoming a event to watch.

The NFL Draft is a life changing moment for many young men both financially and the realization of their dreams.

Don’t ever think for a moment that one of these young men didn’t work their tails off for this very day. In many cases a player has a dream but, realistically speaking, is never sure it will be realized until the moment comes when his name is called. At that instant he will quickly reflect on all the work it took to be selected by a NFL team. There are so many unknown factors that a college player faces to get to this point, did he play up to his potential, did he develop physically and mentally. Did he escape injury during his college career. And in today’s NFL world, the players character will be the deciding factor for a team to select one player over another. Now with the scouting combine playing such a significant role on a players future, it is difficult for a player to slip under the radar and be judged primarily by his college statistics or the success of his team. He will be put under the microscope and will be tested ever way possible, mentally and physically in a very unique setting. Hundreds of sets of eyes watching your every move, how you communicate, your strength, your speed, your quickness, your physical build, how you run, throw, catch or defend. At this interview, one bad day can cost you, literally, millions of dollars even a career in the NFL. The best part of this process though, even a player from a small school can become a household name overnight. I am confident that no other sport scrutinizes it’s potential employees like the NFL.

So at the draft, watch the emotions of the players, they will tell you about their dreams coming true and what this moment means to them.

Good luck to your team.

This is for my dad who passed away recently at the age of 93. For it was dad who gave me the talent and support to eventually play in the NFL, thanks Dad!

The Outdoor Quarterback

Back To Football?

So, I keep hearing that we are now back to football.  From where I am sitting I am not sure it ever went away.  There was more conversation and discussion about the NFL this off season than in any off season in recent history.  Something was in the news morning noon and night.  The NFL very seldom gets that much attention in a normal year, do you think that maybe that was the plan all along?

First they had the draft and if I am not mistaken they are now playing preseason football games, on schedule, and for the first time since I can remember every first round draft choice was signed and in camp before the preseason games began, pretty damn suspicious.

So who won, I am not sure but I can tell you who lost, the retired players!  We are still getting information from the Players Association about our new benefits, of which I still have questions, as do many of my former teammates.  The major issue that the retired players wanted addressed was medical benefits, not more retirement money.  Many of the former players are not insurable due to preexisting conditions (injuries) directly related to their football careers.   Many of the retired players are at or beyond the retirement age of 65, and because of their current physical conditions, are just hanging on.

The reason the NFL is so popular today is because of the great players from the past.  Lifetime medical coverage should be made available to those players who are unable to receive any medical insurance now.  Don’t get me wrong, more money in our retirement plan would be nice too!  I am all for helping out those players who made the game what it is today.

Off my soap box!

September is just around the corner and that means the archery elk season is almost upon us.  For me that also means I am getting in shape to take on the mountains in northern New Mexico.  It is one of my favorite times of the year.  Everything will still be green and the elk are beginning to break up.  The herd bulls are establishing their territory and selecting his harem!

Normally I don’t head out west until the second or third week of September right in the middle of the rut (boys chasing girls).  This year I want to try and get a heard bull to take on the challenge of another bull violating his area- that would be me!  My plan is to sound like the new stud on the block, get one of them fired up to come in withing bow range (60 yards or closer) to defend his status as the Heard Bull!

I will keep you posted on the outcome.

The Outdoor Quarterback

Mid Summer, Now What

We are just weeks away from NFL teams going to training camp, which means it is hot and humid, at least it is here in the mid-west!  And from what I hear, it is going to be that way at most training camp sites.  This is about the time you are going to hear about contract negotiations.  Here in Kansas City we haven’t signed a single draft choice, but the time is near for those announcements to start taking place.  This will be one of the most difficult years to sign players because of the pending hold out or strike for the 2011 season.  There will be no collective barging agreement in place after this year.  I have a feeling that will make the agents look for more guaranteed money and up front signing bonuses.  We will know that answer as  soon as contracts begin to get signed.

It has been my opinion that it is critical to get your draft choices signed and in camp as soon as possible.  Even missing one or two days is a huge set back for the young players.  The transition from college to the NFL is must greater than the transition from high school to college.  The game is so much faster and everyone you face was either an All-American in college or he is a All-Pro.  The needs for most teams are revealed in the draft.  Which would translate into, we need you at your position and on the field from day one.  It never fails, most of your high draft selections don’t get signed until after camp begins.  That is a tremendous mistake for both parties, the player and the team.  If you are going to compete for a championship in the NFL, everyone needs to be on the same page, starting the first day of training camp.  It will be interesting to see how quickly we start hearing about draft choices being signed.  Keep a watch out for signing announcements.

For those of you who love top water action, this is the prime time.  All the bugs are hatched and are on the top of the water, easy prey for the fish.  I love fishing this time of the year, early morning and late afternoon.

If you have the ambition to learn to fly fish, there is no better time to learn.  Get with someone who can give you the basics on fly fishing and then get to the nearest farm pond so you can practice your casting and retrieving techniques.  The best part about this is you will catch top water feeding fish while learning how to master your fundamentals.  A little reward will always keep you coming back.  I know this, you will be one step ahead of your fishing partners or buddies.  Ladies, you will love this type of fishing.

The OutdoorQuartberback

Farm Ponds and Training Camp

First I want to thank all of you for your comments regarding my blog.  They have been incredible and have been a motivating factor for me to continue putting information out there that seems to be interesting to most all of you.  I wasn’t much of a English student in high school or college.  Early on I eliminated English teacher from my list of potential career opportunities.  Many of my teachers and professors would be shocked at your comments regarding my writing style.  Thanks again for logging on.

Now for these early days of summer and my favorite kind of fishing, farm ponds.  They come in many different sizes, from a  one acre pond to a 50 acre pond (small lake).  What I like most about fishing them is that I know the fish are there, it’s just how many laps around pond before you start catching them.

Recently I took a trip down to Oklahoma to see my dad and visit with my sister and brother in-law.  My brother in-law is now retired and he has access to several great ponds and loves to fish.  Our first morning we fished on a 18 acre pond and in 3 hours we caught and released 42 fish, yes we kept count, he is charting each summers catch.  It really is a good idea, you can collect some pretty good data about the pond.  Time of the year, water temperature, outside air temperature, wind direction and the type of lure and tackle used.  I think it helps plan your next trip to that pond so you can maximize your opportunity.  That evening we went to a 50 acre sand pit that had some pretty deep water, for a farm pond, 35 feet.  The third fish I caught was a 7.2 pound black bass (large mouth).  No question it was exciting.  That fish pulled our little two man bass boat around in circles several times before we landed him.

Red Shad 7 inch plastic worm was the magic bait.  I love to worm fish, it is what I have the most confidence in and I really believe that has a lot to do with being successful in fishing.  I know a lot of very good and successful pro fishermen who throw nothing but crank baits and swear there is nothing better.  As far as I am concerned it takes a little bit touch and feel to become a good worm fishermen, that includes you ladies as well.  That little tap you feel on the rod and then seeing the line move across the water,  it is awesome.  There is just something about it that is challenging to me.   I just have a hard time forcing myself to pound the water with a crank bait over and over and over!  The other great aspect about fishing farm ponds, when the fish start hitting top water, you can pretty much count on them doing it all around the pond and there isn’t anything more exciting, even us serious plastic worm fishermen would admit to that.

The farm ponds are absolutely the best place to get the young kids excited about fishing, for the mere fact they will catch fish, blue gill, catfish, crappie or bass.  A little success on the farm ponds will get most kids really excited about fishing and the outdoors, so take one if you can.  I promise, you will get as much fun out of it as they will.

NFL training camps are just around the corner.  Most of you are hearing about the mini camps or OTA’s going on around the league.  Being a player in the NFL today is a full time job.  I can remember my rookie year we had no off season training sessions (organized) and only one mini camp before going to training camp.  When I was playing our training camps lasted almost two months before we played our first preseason game.  In those days we played 6 preseason games, so add another 6 weeks to training camp and we were there over 3 months.  Most guys came in out of shape and played their way into shape by the time the season started.  Today there is so much competition at each position that you can’t afford to be in anything but incredible condition.  They have what are called OTA’s (off season training activities), which are supervised workouts with the coaching staff.  They also have unsupervised, all volunteer (ha) work outs that begin shortly after the Super Bowl.  Today’s NFL player only has two weeks of training camp before they start playing preseason games so they have to be ready to play from day one.  The off season programs the players are involved with today are essential for both the players and the organization.  Because of the limited time in camp the team doesn’ have a great deal of time to evaluate the players who are marginal and competing for a job.  Obviously it doesn’t give the players much time to impress the coaching staff either.  The big difference between the players of today compared to the players during my years is that these guys are being evaluated year round.

You are going to start hearing a lot about contracts and the signing of all the draft choices and un-drafted free agents.  It is a critical time for both management and the unsigned players.

My next blog I will talk about the consequences, from both sides, of not signing your top draft selections.

As always I look forward to hearing your comments.

The Outdoor Quarterback!

NFL Draft Wrap Up

The 2010 NFL draft is now history and we saw some interesting developments take place.  Three of the first four players selected came from the University of Oklahoma.  Five of the first six players selected came from the Big Twelve.  It says a lot about the Big Twelve and the Oklahoma Sooners.

As a former Chief, I was most interested in the fifth selection Safety Eric Berry from the University of Tennessee.  After some off season free agent signings of two veteran offensive linemen, Case Wiegmann and Ryan Lilja I felt confident that the Chiefs would be taking a serious look at Eric Berry.  According to most NFL insiders, Eric was rated as the best player in the draft.  There is no question that the Chiefs needed help in the secondary,  specifically the safety position.  We also added a couple other players to the secondary with defensive back and kick returner Javier Arenas from Alabama and Kendrick Lewis, safety from Ole Miss.  I believe we added some depth to our offensive line by selecting Jon Asamoah, offensive tackle from Illinois as well as tight end Tony Moeaki from Iowa.  One other addition to the Chiefs defensive line was Cameron Sheffield from Troy, a guy who can play the end position in the 3-4 denfense.  The one player that has really peaked my interest was our second round pick, Dexter McCluster, running back slash receiver slash kick returner from the University of Mississippi.  In other words a play maker.  Something the Chiefs needed to add to their offense.  Recently I had the opportunity to meet all the draftees and rookie free agents at a dinner during the rookie mini camp.  I was extremely impressed with all of them on many fronts.  They were excited about becoming part of the Chiefs family.  They understood the opportunity in front of them and the effort and commitment is was going to take to make this team.  What was impressive about the Chiefs draft choices, 6 out of the 7 drafted players, were captains of their college teams.  That says a lot about their leadership skills and their character.  These young men will be good for the locker room, believe it or not that is critical for team chemistry.  Over all I feel like the Chiefs upgraded the team and they are better right now, before playing a down, than they were last season.  The light is starting to look a little brighter at the end of the tunnel.

To me the surprise pick in the first round of the draft was Tim Tebow.  Debatably, the best college football player ever, but as a former quarterback, I feel he has a lot to overcome to become a starter, at that position, in the NFL.  What I know of the young man, he will leave no stone unturned to prove everyone wrong.  Love the attitude!

Next blog I will talk the Spring time fishing.

The Outdoorquarterback.

Turkeys & Tics and the NFL Draft

The spring turkey season is now here, in some states, and the woods are sounding off with the gobble of the toms and the yelp of the hens.  It really is one the best times of the year to be in the woods.  There is nothing like the thundering sound of an adult gobbler early in the morning.  It is also when the tics are attaching themselves to everything they come in contact with.  My boyscout motto, be prepared, wear tight fitting clothing under your hunting clothes.  Make sure the tight fitting clothes are snug around the ankles, wrist, waist and neck.  Better to be a little warm then to be picking tics to all hours of the night.  I have found out the hard way that once you are in bed, those little devils will move from you to your wife, that is really a bad thing!!  There are some sprays out in the market than you can use to spray on your clothes to help ward off the tics as well.  Even if you are not turkey hunt and are just out and about near or around the woods, watch out for those critters, limes disease is not laughing matter.  At least check yourself every time you have been around a woody area.

The NFL Draft is just around the corner.  This has become such a huge television event that Network Television and the NFL are going to do it during prime time television.  I must admit it is entertaining to watch.  I will be at Arrowhead Stadium with other former Chiefs Players and current Chiefs Players signing things and watching who the Chiefs will select.  It is always a bit of a mystery.  We have many needs, offensive linemen, inside linebackers, safety and a burner wide receiver.  Then there is always the chance the Chiefs could trade their 5th pick for additional draft picks.  This years draft may be the best ever for offensive linemen.  There will be some quality linemen taken late in the first round and in the second.  I would be interested to hear what you think your favorite teams need are.

Don’t forget to check for tics and the get ready for the NFL draft, Thursday night April 22nd.

The Outdoor Quarterback !

January, What to Do!

Depending on where you live, January is the month when most outdoor activities slow down with a few exceptions, ice fishing, snowmobiling, late season goose and duck hunting, and in a few states, the last few days of deer hunting.  For all of you football enthusiast, the NFL Playoffs are in full swing!  If your team is still in, congratulations and good for you.  Our beloved Chiefs didn’t make it!!  Things are looking up, the Chiefs just announce the hiring of Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel, to former offensive and defensive coordinators for the New England Patriots.  Hopefully they will help jump start both the offense and the defense.  I personally believe it is a very good move, they both had tremendous successes with the Patriots and bring a wealth of playoff history.  When reorganizing a team I feel it is critical to have both coaches and players in place who have had playoff experience.  How can you coach about winning in the playoffs if you haven’t been there!  Making the playoffs is the first step in winning the Super Bowl and that is every teams objective.  Now we have coaches in place who have successfully accomplished both.  For the teams still alive in the playoffs, Dallas and their defense look hard to beat.  Being from the AFC, I still like the Charges, who I was originally drafted by, and the Colts.  You can’t rule out the play of Patton Manning.  Back to the outdoors!  This is the time to get all of your fall hunting, camping and fishing gear cleaned up.  Cleaning your firearms before putting them away is extremely important.    The obvious, make sure they are unloaded before working on them and putting them up.  This is a good time to take off all that old fishing line and tune up the reels.  Make sure all of your camping gear is dry before putting them in storage, mold can develop quickly and cause a lot of damage to your equipment.  For you Turkey hunters, this is a great time to work on your calls.  Some seasons are just a few months away!  Normally I can drive everyone out of the house with some yelps and cackles!

NFL Draft

Two of the most exciting days in a college football players life, the NFL Player Draft, has come and gone.  Some players walk away from these two days financially set for life, if they manage their mony wisely.  Some college players walk away scratching their heads wondering how in the world I could have gone undrafted.  Most of those players were both high school and college stars.  Several of them were All-Americans and have very seldom faced a more deflating moment in their athletic careers.  Many of the of these undrafted players will get an opportunity as a free agent and there has been many free agents who have become All-Pro and NFL Hall of Famers.  This is the time that the true character of these players comes out.  Most of them will have a chip on their shoulders and the mind set to prove to the rest of the NFL, that they all made a mistake by not drafting them.  Watch out for those players because they are motivated and dagerous.

Now there are those player who were drafted in the first round who have been blessed with natural size, speed and talent and a few, which happens every year, will be a bust or don’t live up to everyones expectations.  In most instances it more of a character issue than it is their playing ability.  They take their position for granted, they become lazy and now that they are financially fixed, become less motivated.  Watch for those players as well, you will hear about them early on.  Then there are those high draft picks who exceed everyone expectations and is because of their character and their desier to prove to the team that drafted them that they made the right choice.  You will hear about them early on and often.

My old team the Kansas City Chiefs, I believe did a workmans type job.  No big hoopla, just players who should fit the new scheem.  They appear to be sound players who will compete well for their positions.  The question always is, how quickly can they make the transition from college to the NFL.  Only time will tell, but I feel good about what the Chiefs did.

The Outdoor Quarterback

Kansas City Chiefs add new Quarterback

The Chiefs made a bold move in making a trade for Matt Cassell from the New England Patriots.  This move adds a proven starter to the stable of young quarterbacks.  It is my opinion that there will be very strong competition at this position.  Tyler Thigpen proved last year that he can play in the NFL.  Brodie Croyle may have the best arm of all the quarterbacks but must remain healthy to prove he can be durable in the NFL