A Tribute to Senior NFL Players for Black History Month 2010
Certainly a great wide receiver ought to know a good quarterback. Well, Warren Wells, former wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders and Detroit Lions, had his say on the potential of JaMarcus Russell. Wells was coached by John Rauch and John Madden.
Wells who resides in a Texas town was available for a taped interview on February 26, 2010 for a Black History edition of a Bleacher Report article.
Wells looked great. He still has the build of a professional athlete, both lean and muscular for his 67 years.
He walks straight and he thinks deeply about his future. Calm and contained, Wells gave a slight smile when he was presented with two books about the history of the Raiders. Wells is mentioned in both books.
Wells handled the book entitled, Football's Blackest Hole by Craig Parker. The other book he browsed through was The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly written by Steven Travers.
When asked about Jim Otto, he remembers him as a good man and as one of the team captains. Jim was "well-likable" by everybody on the team, says Wells.
What made you so good was a question to Wells.
He said he had good hands and he ran his routes right. "Yes, I loved to practice," said Wells.
"The other wide receivers on the team with me were Fred Biletnikoff, Eldridge Dickey and Rod Sherman who went to USC.
Wells and Dickey were on one side, and Biletnikoff and Sherman were on the other side, he told me.
I told Wells, "I heard that Dickey was a quarterback."
He answered, "Yeah, a quarterback in college."
"Was Dickey a good wide receiver," I asked Wells.
He answered, "Yeah, he was good."
"I caught more passes in '69 and '70," Wells recalled.
"Concentration was my greatest quality," Wells said.
Wells was a very disciplined player during practice and on the playing field.
Birds were chirping in the background, giving a musical and soothing tone to the interview. Wells is a man who has mellowed. He has always been kind to me since our college days.
This aspiring historian and sports writer thoroughly enjoyed the interview. I smiled and showed appreciation to Wells since Texas Southern University gave us a fine education and we walked the campus with other outstanding NFL players like Homer Jones, Winston Hill, W. K. Hicks, and later, Ernie Holmes.
And, I chuckled several times because Wells does have a sense of humor.
I could not end the interview without asking Wells about Russell. He responded, "I think the Raiders need a quarterback."
"This boy, JaMarcus Russell, he's a good quarterback but he is lacking in a lot of areas."
"Do you think he could be a good quarterback for 2010?" I asked.
"I suggest that he just works on throwing his passes a little softer....He throws them too hard to me. He has a strong arm."
"He is a good quarterback."
"And, I think the Raiders are expecting a lot out of him. So, they are going to give him a chance to prove himself."
I asked, "Will you be watching the games in 2010?"
"Yes," Wells replied. I added, "Me, too."
I smiled and said to him with respect and humility, "Will you discuss the games with me in 2010 so that I can get even better as a sports writer?"
He smiled and answered, "Yes."
So, not only have I drawn inspiration from one of the Oakland Raiders' premiere wide receivers in the history of the franchise who played under two celebrated coaches, John Rauch and John Madden, he has promised me he is going to coach me as a sports writer in 2010.
So, watch out for more powerful accounts of the games, and of the history of the great men in the past, but also expect more informed perspectives on the young men coming into the NFL who aspire to make their mark in NFL history.
Thank you, Mr. Warren Wells for the interview on the last weekday of Black History Month. We honor and respect your contributions to NFL history and for your stellar performance on the playing field.
We also respect your belief system and the portion of your favorite words of wisdom in Psalm 1 which says;
"Blessed is a man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly...but his delight is in the law of the Lord...."
Wells is a loving father and grandfather.
I shared my favorite scripture with Wells:
"Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away, behold all things are become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17
I added these words of wisdom before I packed my bags and walked to my car to travel home:
"Let the Scriptures answer: "As far as the east is from the west so far hath he removed our transgressions from us" (Ps. 103:12). "I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions" (Isa. 43:25). "Thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back" (Isa. 38:17). "Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more" (Heb. 10:17).
The birds seemed to chirp louder on Friday, Feb. 26. The sense of resolve and restoration seem more amplified. We have great expections and anticipation in Russell's career, and for ourselves as we reflect on the past, present and future.
The sound of the chirping birds as a background to this interview is a symbol of our sweet resolve.
Thanks to Pastor M. L. Lewis for his advice and counsel.