Tuesday, March 25th, 2008...
As another season passes by, finding another hero like Walter Payton seems hopeless; almost like trying to find fire under the ocean. There is too much greed and selfishness in the league today to find a hero like Walter Payton. There is no player in the league today that is loved by everybody, even his rivals and their most die hard fans.
If a player died today, would he be remember eight years after his death just as much as he was when he was alive? Probably not. Scratch that...NO.
So here is a letter written to all the potential heroes (LT, Manning, Merriman, etc..) of our nation.
Dear Potential Heroes,
To be a hero in this nation there are certain requirements that must be filled:
1) Absolute dominance: to be a hero in the first place you have to draw attention to yourself. So being a force on the field is the automatic given for being a hero. There are a couple of players out there that come to mind: Ladanian Tomlinson, Peyton Manning.
2) Humble: knowing you are good, but playing as if you are an undrafted rookie fighting for a spot on the practice squad. Staying humble even though your right to brag would disgust most people. Sorry Kellen Winslow, you may make linebackers think twice about letting you slide down the field, but you’re not what we’re looking for.
3) Commitment: having the ability to complain about your present contract, or how bad your teammates are, or complaining about another team period, but you don’t. It is all held in because you made a commitment to your team. Sorry, Chad Johnson, but not playing because you aren’t happy doesn’t send a very good message to the youth of this nation. Ladanian Tomlinson, you may win the rushing title every year but hearing you complain about the Patriots makes my ears hurt… and I hate the Patriots. Oh and not playing in the AFC Championship game didn’t send out a good message. Walter Payton played with a broken rib. I’m sorry, you bruised your knee?
4) Off field loyalty: commitments off the field are just as important as the game. Reaching out to the kids on a daily basis by signing all the autographs you have time for, talking with fans of your own free will, and helping out multiple charities are a must for a hero. That is where all candidates are lost; no player talks with or come down to a personal level with fans and children anymore. When was the last time you saw a great player spend his afternoon in the mall signing autographs for… enjoyment?
5) Dedication: a bone breaking work ethic—running, lifting, even eating right. A player that has dedicated his life for the next play and the next opportunity to prove himself, even though he is already proven. But at the same time the equal amount of dedication off the field.
6) Love: playing for the love of the game, because that’s what makes this game so fun to watch. This category can cross off most players: goodbye Lance Briggs, goodbye Bernard Berrian, and goodbye Asante Samuel money is what really motivates you three.
I greatly appreciate everyone for attempting to be a hero, but as the saying goes, “maybe next year.”
Herm Edwards, head coach, of the Kansas City Chiefs is the kind of man the NFL needs. He makes it clear to his players that he will have no nonsense because he wants his players to all set positive role models for kids. He understands that through football he can change the world for the better— one player, to one kid at a time.