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first_img D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ Comments   Share   What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke July 4th heralded the beginning of woes for me; it meant Iwould be going to camp within days. I had to make the teamevery year I played and making the team meant playing inevery practice at game tempo. Training camp was not agame; it was brutal, especially my rookie year. On the Fourth of July in 1985 I remember going to watchfireworks with my family at the high school football fieldI had played so many games on. My mind was a million milesaway from my family, Orchard Park, New York and ournation’s Declaration of Independence. Every smile wasforged, every eww and ahh sounded more like moans andevery explosion was an omen of doom, a metaphor for whatwas about to happen to me, my family and my career. I was leaving the next day for St. Louis, Missouri andtraining camp in Charleston, Illinois. I had been draftedby the Cardinals in the fourth round that April and had noidea how I was going to support my family if the NFL wasnot what King and Creator had planned for me. I went home, picked up the phone and called my olderbrother Craig, seeking advice like I had so many timesbefore. Craig had been in the league for five years,playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers, starting as a rookie.I knew if there was anybody that would be able to passalong some words of wisdom on the eve of such anundertaking, it would be my hero. The Fourth of July is upon us. This time of yearfills me with an uneasiness that’s hard to describe. Ilove this country and enjoy the festivities of the Fourthlike all true Americans, but while fire fills the nightskies over our country and gunpowder drifts across ourland, my heart begins to palpitate, my chest gets heavyand the hair on the back of my neck tingles: Football iscoming.Our nation’s birthday has always been the harbinger offootball and future events for me and my family. There wasa period of my life where I didn’t look forward to thefireworks, picnics, parades, barbecues, concerts in thepark and such other Fourth of July fare. And it hadeverything to do with playing in the National FootballLeague. More specifically, it had everything to do withplaying in the National Football League when I knew Ishouldn’t be playing in the National Football League. Top Stories center_img Though the years have passed and technology mocks thissentence, I can still hear his solemn words through ourtelephone — holding the receiver in my right-hand andwrapping the cord around my fingers with my left.“Ronnie,” he said, “shut your mouth, respect everyone…andpick a fight with the toughest guy on the team.”That may have been the best advice I ever received when itcomes to playing football. I made the team that year anddid indeed have a career. But because of that night andevery other Fourth of July since, fireworks have alwaysbeen synonymous with football. Recently, 27 years after that fateful phone conversationwith Craig, I had the honor of saying the same thing tothe Arizona Cardinals rookies — with one alteration. Itold them to shut their mouths, respect everybody…and be apro — which means fighting anything or anybody that keepsyou from doing your job to the best of your God-givenability. And I told them to be prepared to do it everyday. I altered what my brother Craig told me because if theytried that here in Arizona they were going to get theirface kicked in. Adrian Wilson don’t play…But I wonder how many of these young men will heed thosewords? I wonder if they feel the same beating in theirchest as I did back in 1985? I wonder how Flagstaff willgo for them? I wonder how many of them will have careersin the NFL? I wonder if a future hall of fame player wassitting in that room? Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away And of course, I wonder what Michael Floyd, JamellFleming, Bobby Massie and company might have planned forthe Fourth? The Cardinals need their rookies — thesethree rookies in particular — to contribute the wayPatrick Peterson, Sam Acho and David Carter contributedlast year. After all, the fireworks are here, football is near andit’s time for them to make their own declaration. Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocationlast_img

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