From Pee-Wee football all the way up through to the NFL, there are a few truths which never, ever change.
Defense wins championships, speed kills, you run to set up the pass, etc. The list goes on and on.
But the one that holds the most truth and cannot be disputed is the fact that games are won and lost in the trenches, whether that's offense or defense.
This is a philosophy that Andy Reid has subscribed to during his time with the Philadelphia Eagles. Five years into his tenure, he may have found the most talented lineman not only on his team, but in the entire National Football League.
Unfortunately for Andrews and the Eagles, his career has been on extreme or another. In his rookie season, Andrews saw action in only one game. Then over the next three years he has been sent to the Pro Bowl twice and selected to an AP All-Pro team once.
Unfortunately his 2008 season was spent rehabbing a back injury and fighting through depression and caused Andrews to miss all but two games.
Andrews is a fascinating case, and a man with whom I'd love to sit down and chat.
(Brilliant segue, huh?)
1. I had been a lineman all through peewees and into college. I even wore 73 in high school because I admired the way you played the game. That being said, was the number 73 special to you in any way, or just a number?
2. If I'm not being too personal, what triggered the problems with depression and how are you coping with that now?
3. In addition to the depression, you went through some back pain last year. Is the back healed up and ready to go for '09?
4. It has come out recently that you have never watched an NFL game from beginning to end, except a game in which you played. Is that true, and if so, why is that?
5. How do you react to the rumors earlier this offseason that you were being shopped by the Philadelphia Eagles?
6. A lot of people in and out of Philadelphia question whether or not you really want to be playing football. Is that true, and why do you believe they feel that way about you?
7. Which position would you rather play, guard or tackle, left or right?
8. This offseason the Eagles went out and traded for your former college roommate at Arkansas in Jason Peters, and signed your brother Stacy. How will that, if at all, improve your game and frame of mind?
9. Even with the questions surrounding you, you're still considered one of the best linemen in the league, yet you're not being paid like one. At what point will that 10-year, $35 million deal need to be reworked in order to keep you happy?
10. Are you the best lineman in the NFL today?
11. We all know what your expectations for the Eagles are: Super Bowl. That also seems to be the expectation of many writers and league insiders. My question is how does the team achieve that goal and live up to those kinds of lofty expectations?
12. What is it like knowing that you're protecting arguably the best quarterback and running back in the history of this storied franchise?
13. There are a lot of opinions being thrown around today about steroids. Whether it's football or baseball, the discussion is everywhere. What's your take on the issue of steroids, or rather "performance-enhancing substances?"
14. What do you expect from yourself this upcoming season?
15. Who did you idolize as a child, and who do you try and emulate now that you're playing professionally?
16. If you could face one defensive player, past or present, alive or deceased, who would it be and why?
17. What is your relationship like with Andy Reid?
18. What is the largest obstacle you've ever had to overcome, whether it be in football or simply life in general?
19. Five years after your career is over, do you expect to get the call from Canton?
20. When your career is over, Hall of Fame or not, how do you want people to look back and remember Shawn Andrews?
Shawn Andrews is "a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma," to quote the great Winston Churchill.
He has the talent to be the best lineman in the entire NFL, but the opportunities to destroy his NFL career if he cannot get a grasp on the mental toughness that goes along with playing in this league.
The answers to these 20 questions could help Philly know which one he'll choose right here and now.
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