Posts Tagged ‘San Diego’

Why oh why do we have to read another tragic tale of another former NFL player who is now six feet under ?

This time it is former San Diego Charger safety Terrence Kiel. Dead at the age of 27 is not a fair return on any man.

To be fair Kiel did not set the NFL world alight, but in the four seasons  (2003-2006) he did play for the AFC team he averaged over 50 tackles and grabbed a total of four interceptions.
Stats however matter not when his family are standing over his coffin, wondering what on earth that they are doing there.
Keil was shot at in 2003 (when an NFL rookie) and then arrested by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) in 2006 for possessing and shipping a prescription cough syrup mixture, pleading guilty in 2007.
He was promptly cut by the Chargers in 2007 too and served extensive community service.
Early reports from San Diego Police say that Kiel died on Friday 4 July 2008 at the wheel of his car, hitting a wall on the way home from a party.
This was clearly one troubled individual, who if we take a worse case scenario, could have been driving a car which may have killed passengers in his care (if there were any), and also caused more severe damage with his car to others.
We need to wait for an investigation to find out why the crash happened, but people will already be making their own theories. 
The world of the NFL is highly pressurised, with players desperate to gain the edge, to impress their team, and to earn the most money they can in what can be an extremely short window of opportunity.
You don’t for instance go to university and then professionally train as a lawyer only to know that your career could be over from as early as aged 23.
Fingers will inevitably be pointed at the NFL Players Union, the Chargers and those people that are there to support former NFL athletes. Could this tragedy have been avoided? Could Keil have ever been able to play in the NFL again?
Was there any possibility the Chargers could have stuck with him after his conviction? Above all it’s a sad day – this is a man who if his life path had taken a few different turns would have likely been playing in the San Diego Chargers backfield in October this year at Wembley Stadium.
I for one hope that NFL teams that cut players take a serious look at the support networks that are on offer. These are young men who have dreamed of being NFL superstars from likely aged 5 or 6.
To get there and still feel the pressure is expected, but to be dead at aged 27 is not.
Feel free to give your thoughts on this blog……
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I have to admit the rookie the San Diego Chargers drafted that I am most looking forward to seeing at Wembley in October is so far unsigned fullback Jacob Hester, as he is the man who will be asked to sacrifice his own neck in order to block for LaDanian Tomlinson – still judged by many including www.nfl.com as the number one fantasy football player. Let’s be honest LT II would not have been the mega-stud he has been without some solid offensive line play and the human rhinocerous former Bolt fullback Lorenzo Neal (see pic).

This post was triggered by the news yesterday, 2 July 2008, that the Chargers signed two late round picks from the 2008 NFL Draft, running back Marcus Thomas and tackle Corey Clarke.

When I went to Florida on holiday last November I went to see the University of Central Florida beat the University of Texax El-Paso Miners 36-20 – home to Thomas,  a 6ft, 215, back who ran for for 1,166 yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior at Texas-El Paso. Maybe I was a curse  that steamy Saturday on the at BrightHouse Network Stadium in November as Thomas ran for a devastating -1 (yes minus one) yard on 9 carries – averaging -0.1 yards a carry – hardly someone to have Ladanian turning his back in a hurry. The Chargers selected Thomas in the fifth round with the 166th overall selection.

If I was the Chargers GM (don’t we all want to be an NFL GM – dream job or what) I would focus some energy into getting Hester signed. No this particular Hester will not be returning punts 95 yards for a score every other week like his Windy City namesake, but in a world where establishing a quality running game is key to success having a no-neck fullback acting as a silent but deadly weapon, brushing away linebackers like a janitor sweeping away Autumn leaves, is the difference between mediocrity and and NFL playoff aristocracy.

I’m not sure how badly LT is missing Lorenzo Neal, but I know if I had a block of granite in front of me every play, I am one happy and confidfent dude. With a rookie now paving my way against the likes of Derek Johnson, Kirk Morrison, Gary Brackett and Jonathan Vilma (at Wembey !!!) I’m not sure I am going to be as relaxed.

What memories do you have of your favourite fullbacks ? And do you think LT will miss Lorenzo Neal ? I would love to hear your thoughts ………….