For those of you who are reading my blog for the first time; I am a longtime supporter and fan of all thing sports and athletics. As a former High School coach on of my philosophy is “keeping the body in shape is just as important as keeping the mind sharp”. I am a loyal fan of the teams that I like to follow. Heck I’ll take even take it a step further; if the team playing any sporting event comes from out of the great state of Georgia, yep you guessed it, I’m rooting for the home state’s team. The Falcons, The Hawks, The Braves, The Thrasher (when they were in state) and last but definitely not least the reigning 2018 MLS Champions Atlanta United FC. Perhaps the reason that I love the teams from my state so much is because it seems that no matter how talented our teams are (championship seasons included); we always seem to be fighting from the position of the underdog. The one exception being High School Football. Shout out to the GHSA; the finest high school sports governing body in all the United State of America. The great state of Georgia has produced some of the finest athletes who were coached by some of the most knowledgeable and well-respected coaches. And while I will not write about the accolades in this post, as it would take to much time and research (I must go to the gym before all the newbies show up with the New Year’s health resolutions), there is one athlete that I would like to make mention. That athlete is Charlie Ward.
Some may ask; Charlie who? Well I’ll tell you. Think Mike Vick before there was the “Mike Vick” experience. Think Lamar Jackson before there was a “Lamar Jackson”. Think of any of your dual threat quarterbacks with blazing speed and add any other intangible; then you may have an idea of who Charlie Ward was. Not only is he a Heisman Trophy Award winning quarterback, he also showcased his talent on the hardwood court for the Florida State Seminoles (don’t ask me how we let him get out of state). Oh, did I forget to mention that he was also drafted by a Major League Baseball even though he did not pitch one inning in college. In short order; he was the truth. So why don’t we hear about him the NFL. Well that’s an answer that is tied up in speculations as well as maybe and ifs. Some say that he was too small in stature; even though he was about 6’2”. Others say that even though he had a more than stellar collegiate career, he was more than likely a 3-5 round draft pick. My have things changed. Whatever the reason for his decision to not enter the NFL draft; the decision proved to be the correct decision. Ward played a decade in the NBA, after being selected in the 1st round by the New York Knicks. So how does this tie in Kyler Murray.
I watched this year’s College Playoffs. One game in particular that garnered as much excitement as any of the other game was the game between the high flying offense of the Oklahoma Sooners versus the vaunted Nick Saban coached Alabama Crimson Tide. I watched the as…well let’s not conjure up bad memories for my potential and current Sooner fans. To make a long story short, this was a collegiate defense with some NFL talent. Now imagine for a second the duress Kyler Murray would have been under facing 11 NFL athletes. Am I suggesting that he would not be able to handle the pressure if he indeeds goes through with his current decision to enter the NFL; I would be foolish to bet against Kyler Murray. He has proven his mettle in the game of football and has earned the most prestigious award in College Football; the Heisman Trophy. Which is my point. Unless there is fully guaranteed money that matches or exceeds his current MLB contract; think Charlie Ward. Wait that’s right the NFL does not do guaranteed contracts. Think Leonard Fournette. Kyler Murray you have proven that you have what it takes to do play this game on one of the biggest stages. We enjoyed your thrills and your highlights but now it is time to think longevity and prosperity. An example has been set before you. Thank Charlie Ward.