Monday, October 22, 2012

Luther Blue, Joe Bellino, Jon Condo, Harrison Smith

I have received a few more returns recently.

The first was from Luther Blue who was a receiver for the Detroit Lions when I was growing up.  His best season with the Lions was 1978 when he was a starting wide receiver.  He had 31 receptions for 350 yards.  I am surprised that he wasn't used more as a kick returner as he was an excellent one for the Iowa State Cyclones.  He had a great career for the Cyclones and was inducted into their Hall of Fame.

Joe Bellino was another return.  He was a Heisman Trophy winner for Navy.  He was an excellent all around football player as well as a great baseball player.  He served in the Navy/Naval Reserves for 28 years.  His favorite memory is watching his son score his first touchdown in a high school football game.  I asked him if he regretted choosing professional football over baseball and he said no, but he does think he could have been a pro baseball player.  His favorite part of playing with the Patriots was that some of his best friends today are his ex-Patriots teammates. 

Jon Condo of the Oakland Raiders signed my helmet photo.  He is the excellent long snapper for the Oakland Raiders and has been to the Pro Bowl.  I would not want that job.  You are on the spot every time that you step onto the field.  You saw the impact of his absence earlier this season when he was injured.  He answered my character question with hard work because it builds mental toughness.

The final return is from Harrison Smith.  He is a rookie for the Minnesota Vikings after an excellent career at Notre Dame.  He has stepped right in and is the starter at safety.  He actually returned an interception for a touchdown yesterday.  I hope he continues his success.  He said his favorite Notre Dame memory is beating USC in 2010.  I asked him about starting his first game and he said it was nerve racking but also fun.  The hardest part of the NFL so far for him is that everyone's very good every week.  He answered my character question with loyalty.

I will post pictures soon.

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