Friday, May 30, 2008

Man of the Year: Dustin Fox

By Jake Simpson
May 30, 2008

An athlete is often defined by his performance in the big moments, his ability to be at his best when the pressure is on.

This year, no one came up bigger than Dustin Fox. Literally and figuratively.

The heavyweight wrestler and Northwestern's Big Man On Campus brought home the school's only individual national championship in 2007-08. Fox anchored the Wildcats in their battles against Big Ten and national opponents, won the conference and NCAA championships, and beat Ohio State's J.D. Bergman three times in three months. On the way, he compiled a 29-1 record and charmed the NU campus with his shaggy blond locks and his mild-mannered attitude away from the mat.

No victory was more impressive - or primal - than the senior's epic defeat of Bergman in the national championship match. Bergman opened up cuts on Fox's forehead, and the match was repeatedly stopped as trainers frantically tried to stop the bleeding. And it actually got worse before it got better; the Ohio State senior headbutted Fox in the nose midway through the first overtime.

But NU's lovable Goliath never quit, pressuring Bergman until the Buckeye made a mistake. When he did, Fox pounced, grabbing Bergman by the leg and hurling him to the ground to earn his first national title in his last collegiate match.

"It's a dream come true," Fox said afterwards. "My nose is probably broken, my face is all beat up, but I did it." I achieved all my goals.

Fox had been faced with high expectations all season from the national wrestling media and a Cats' squad looking for someone to replaced Jake Herbert. The top-ranked heavyweight in the country going into the season, Fox lived up to the hype, winning his first 19 matches before an upset loss to Wisconsin's Kyle Massey.

The loss only galvanized the heavyweight - Fox would not lose again. In his rematch with Massey in the Big Ten tournament semifinals, Fox destroyed the Badger heavyweight 12-4 before outlasting Bergman for his first conference title. Then came the NCAAs, where NU's biggest star went out on top.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Dawson Honored by Former Browns Kicker, Pro Football Writers' Association

Marty Gitlin

May 22, 2008

The Browns placekicker was recognized by Browns Backers earlier this week, but the biggest award may have been the words of a great Browns placekicker from the past...

Browns placekicker Phil Dawson was holding court with the media Monday evening before the Akron Browns Backers Banquet at Tangier’s restaurant.

Suddenly, a man with outstretched arm approached Dawson. It was Don Cockroft, who booted for Browns teams from another generation. They shook hands, and then Cockroft, one of the last of the old-style straight-ahead kickers, congratulated Dawson on his 2007 season.

Cockroft was particularly impressed with Dawson’s two field goals, including a 49-yarder, in windy, Arctic conditions in an 8-0 victory over Buffalo at Cleveland Browns Stadium last December. One could recognize that Dawson was honored by Cockroft’s praise.

It wouldn’t be the first time Dawson was honored on this night. Moments later he received the “Good Guy” Award from the Cleveland chapter of the Pro Football Writer’s Association.

Dawson expressed greater appreciation that the accolade had nothing to do with his on-field performance because it placed a positive spotlight on himself as a man rather than as a player.

“When the dust settles on your career,” he said, “I don’t know if you’re remembered as much for what you did as how you went about doing it.”

Dawson, who has played with the Browns since they returned to Cleveland in 1999 and has scored at least 100 points in four of the last six years, told the media that the team’s success in 2007 rejuvenated his career.

Dawson and quarterback Derek Anderson, who won the 2007 Most Valuable Player award from the PFWA, were among several Browns representatives honored Monday night. The 2007 Legends Inductees were defensive lineman Bill Glass (1962-68), Cockroft (1968-80) and running back Kevin Mack (1985-93).

Cockroft, who has crafted a book about the 1980 “Kardiac Kids” season in which the Browns finished 11-5 and lost a heartbreaker to Oakland in the first round of the playoffs, spoke touchingly about that experience.

“We had a chemistry that year unlike anything we’d ever known,” Cockroft told the assembled audience.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wahle Looking to Provide an Immediate Impact

By Mike Kahn

May 19, 2008

With the rain trickling down on the chilly May afternoon, there was nothing unusual about the first minicamp, as the staff and surrounding media began assessing the 2008 version of the Seahawks.

There was an immediate attention-grabber.

Former NFL and University of Washington quarterback Hugh Millen, now an NFL analyst, was immediately taken by the newest member of the offensive line and began a mini-rant reminiscent of a scout perusing talent at the annual Combine.

“Look at his calves and how he turns and runs when he gets up from his stance,” Millen said. “You just don’t see guards that big who are that agile and fast. You can see why he was in the Pro Bowl.”

He was talking about Mike Wahle, of course, the Seahawks offseason free agent signing to play left guard. A product of the Naval Academy and a second round supplemental draft choice of the Green Bay Packers in 1998, Wahle is far more than just your every day 6-6, 305-pound acquisition. He is unmistakably a skilled athlete who went to the Pro Bowl in both 2005 and 2006 for the Carolina Panthers, and is the raw, athletic character of a personality that raises everybody else’s game.

Wahle was drafted by the Packers in Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren’s last season there, which also coincided with the drafting of quarterback Matt Hasselbeck in the sixth round. So both men are familiar with him, although Hasselbeck far more than Holmgren. Holmgren does, however, compare him to the skills and personalities of former Seahawks linemen Steve Hutchinson and Robbie Tobeck.

“We needed a player like Mike in my opinion,” Holmgren said. “He is a veteran. He has been successful. We know that he is a good football player. He brings an attitude. He is smart. He gets along well with the guys. He brings a certain toughness to that group and he is vocal. You lose Tobeck who would never shut up and then you lose some of the other guys who were a little more vocal, you need somebody to come and kind of be like that.”

Oh, he brings the mouth all right. Ask him about Hasselbeck, and he’ll cock his head, get a wry little smile, and say, “Oh, I don’t know if we’ve got enough time for that. But I will tell you what it was like when he showed up for training camp in his first car. It was a red Volkswagen with a flower on it. Here were are at an NFL camp with a parking lot filled with black SUVs that had big rims, and up drives the rookie quarterback in his red Beetle. Everybody really got a laugh out of that and to this day he still claims he rented the car out to other guys.

“But seriously, Matt’s a great guy and we became really good friends and had a great rookie year together.”

Hasselbeck jokingly bristled at the notion it was a rose on his car, but obviously has lucid and great memories of his three seasons with Wahle and the Packers until being traded to the Seahawks in 2001. He also remembers how athletic Wahle was while learning the trade of an NFL offensive lineman.

“First of all, it wasn’t a rose,” Hasselbeck chuckled. “It was like a ‘Peace dude,’ kind of flower, with psychedelic purple lights and everybody was giving me a hard time, including Wahle. But we drove around in that car every day. There were four of us – Mike, (Penn State linebacker) Jim Nelson and (New Mexico safety) Scott McGarrahan – and we did everything together. McGarrahan was actually the only one who played. We drove to practice every day dressed out in our football gear in my Beetle and they even did a newspaper article on us. It cost like $7.50 to fill it up with gas. The O-linemen would joke about us, even picked up my car and hid it one day.

“Wahle had to go up against Reggie White in practice every day, so he learned the hard way. He was a great run blocker, but really had no experience as a pass blocker. He worked hard to get bigger and he just kept getting better. We’re really lucky to get him. He’s exactly what we needed … really, I can’t believe Carolina just let him go. That’s craziness. What were they thinking? He’s just a great fit. A really smart guy, exactly the kind of guy we needed on our offensive line.”

Wahle left the Packers as a free agent after the 2004 season and spent three years with the Panthers, and it was really a no-brainer coming to the Pacific Northwest. He was born in Portland, and his father went to Bellevue High School, so the connection is strong with family just a punt away from the Seahawks headquarters in Kirkland. He grew up in the San Diego area as a three-sport athlete.

He laughed when a skeptical look greeted his contention that he was an All-Southern California point guard in basketball, to go along with his scary 92 mile-an-hour fastball as a pitcher in baseball. He played quarterback for three years, then was moved to tight end his senior year and was having a great year … for awhile.

“Hey, no doubt I was that guy,” Wahle said. “I was just half-an-assist away from averaging a triple-double in basketball. Football wasn’t great though. I was on my way to being all-county at tight end when our quarterback got hurt. The coaching staff thought because I was big, could run and was a pitcher that I was the guy that should be the quarterback. But I couldn’t throw a football and was terrible quarterback.”

He still knew football was his sport and considered himself fortunate to get recruited by the Naval Academy so he went there to play basketball and football. His basketball was about to end, though, and neither did he last at tight end.

It was time for a reality check on his future in sports.

“I was playing point guard, but I wasn’t that athletic for the position, and didn’t have that good of a jump shot,” Wahle said. “I could make some things happen but not enough, so the basketball coach told me I had to choose. I chose football. They recruited me as a tight end, but when I went to boot camp, I was eating like one peanut butter and jelly sandwich a meal. So when I got to football training camp, my weight had dropped from 235 to 205. They had made moved into this double-wing offense where there’s no tight end. So they looked at me at 205 said, ‘What the hell can we do with this kid at that size? He can’t really do anything.’ They tried me as a wide receiver my first year. I was really the scout team tight end, but my official title was wide receiver.

“By the end of the season, I got my weight back up to about 245 – eating pizzas and hoagies every night, and lifting like crazy during the day. I walked into the locker room for spring ball, knee braces were in my locker and that was it. I was an offensive lineman for good. It’s been all downhill from there.”

He loved playing at Green Bay, but he also wanted to experience the NFL landscape when he made the decision to sign with Carolina in 2005, made the Pro Bowl as an alternate that first year and was voted in the next season – as well as being named All-Pro. Now 31, the Panthers were in cost-cutting mode, so they let him go and he wanted to find a spot to finish his career with a chance to win it all.

That opened the door for the Seahawks in search of a veteran for the offensive line. Seahawks pro personnel director Will Lewis was in Green Bay when was Wahle was drafted, so he jumped right on a guy he’s watched develop for 10 years.

“When you talk about him athletically, there are all these things he can do as far as pulling, trapping – running screens and draws,” Lewis said. “He’s very intense, a communicator and team leader. He’s a real positive in the locker room. He’s been physical and pretty durable … all those things played into why we wanted. Even in college, you would have said, ‘Wow, this guy is a great athlete.’ His body control, movement and overall athleticism have always been exceptional.”

The package is exactly the infusion the line needed after a tough 2007 season. They hired highly-regarded Mike Solari to take over the line, and he immediately became part of the process to woo Wahle on board.

“It’s his work ethic and his toughness that stand out,” Solari said. “He’s a professional, comes to work every day with the same attitude. His athleticism is important, obviously, but with the way he prepares in the weight room and that leadership he brings with it that you have to love. The profile of the Seattle Seahawks offensive line is strong, big and physical offensive linemen – and yet they can move in space. That’s how Mike fits it. We needed to add that quality in a veteran. That’s so important for young guys to see how he goes about his business.”

So now his business is with the Seahawks. With family in the area and his old buddy Hasselbeck calling signals, he’s hoping this is the place where he can finish a grand career with a Super Bowl ring. It was no accident that he targeted the Seahawks in the same manner they went after him, not only for the love of the Pacific Northwest, but playing for Solari and winning.

Now it’s just a matter of making it all work.

“The expectations here are high and that’s the way I want it,” Wahle said. “The tempo is extremely fast with Coach Holmgren, and Coach Solari got a lot of things done in a very short period of time. Absolutely my job is to come in here and help the running game. They go out and bring in a guy like me and Coach Solari in and the expectations are going to be higher. That has a lot to do with why I wanted to come here.

“I look at this team as one that has a chance to do some great things in January and maybe February. The running game does need to improve a little bit, but when you watch film from last year, it’s a little thing here or there. It’s not necessarily the guys. With a little more experience under their belt and coach Solari here, I think we can do some great things.”

And maybe even jump into a red Beetle and lead the championship parade.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Clark’s Contract Sets the Bar


May 18, 2008

He may not admit it, but tight end Kellen Winslow really wanted a new contract after he saw Dallas Clark sign a six-year, $42 million deal with Indianapolis. The tight end receives $27 million in the first three years and the average salary in the deal can be close to $7 million annually - making him the highest-paid player at that position. It also has about $20 million guaranteed. Clark has never made a Pro Bowl and he caught 58 passes (11 for TDs) last season. Winslow believes he's a better player than Clark, and deserves to be paid like it.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Wahle dominates for Seahawks

By Danny O'Neil

May 9, 2008

Guard Brick Wahle brings grit to Hawks

KIRKLAND — Mike Wahle didn't play much for coach Mike Holmgren 10 years ago.

Not on Sundays, anyway.

Wahle was a rookie with Green Bay in 1998, playing only one game after he was drafted from a service academy known for producing officers, not offensive linemen.

He mostly just practiced that first season in Green Bay, but he made an impression. It is one Wahle has reinforced during a 10-year NFL career.

When he was released by Carolina in February, his old coach came calling to plug him in at left guard, the position that was Seattle's sore spot for two years running (or more accurately, in the two years Seattle has struggled to run).

"We needed a player like Mike," Holmgren said.

Someone who's strong and savvy and plays with a snarl.

Wahle's arrival in the NFL constitutes proof of his white-knuckle toughness. He lost 30 pounds in the eight weeks of boot camp before he got to the Naval Academy and then rebuilt himself into an NFL prospect in just three seasons. He has a shaved head and a personality as strong as his 6-foot-6, 304-pound frame, and prompted at least one comparison to a certain lineman who has been so conspicuous in his absence from the Seahawks these past two years.

"He's the closest thing to Hutch we've had in a long time," said longtime Seahawk Chris Gray, Seattle's backup guard and center.

Two years have passed since Steve Hutchinson left for Minnesota, and still the position remains defined by the man who used to play it in Seattle. The Pro Bowl player with the thick neck and short temper is inevitably going to be the yardstick Wahle will be measured by.

Short-yardage situations haven't been the only shortcomings for Seattle these past two seasons. The Seahawks have missed a personality up front, too, because three years ago the offensive line was this team's nerve center. Hutchinson provided a mile-wide streak of orneriness. Robbie Tobeck served as its sense of humor.

"You lose Tobeck, who would never shut up," Holmgren said, "and then you lose some of the other guys who were a little more vocal. You need somebody to come and kind of be like that."

Holmgren's hope is Wahle will be that somebody, a faith based on the toughness that put Wahle into the NFL in the first place.

Coming out of high school in California, Wahle had one school offering a Division I-A opportunity. That was Navy, which included boot camp as part of its package deal. It cost Wahle 30 pounds partly because a member of his training cadre was not particularly fond of football players. He decided Wahle didn't need to eat anything more than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at every meal.

Combine that with a training regimen that began with an 8-mile run before breakfast, and Wahle ended up a stick figure.

"Going through boot camp is something that everybody should have to do once," Wahle said. "Honestly. It's one of those things. It's certainly not a choice I would personally like to make, but it's a great experience."

The exit wasn't as grueling, but it wasn't easy, either. Wahle left after his junior season, excused from his service commitment after reaching what he described as a financial settlement with the Navy. He wrote a pretty big check.

So Wahle left the academy and was granted entry into the NFL's supplemental draft. There's no television coverage, no build up. Teams don't call out picks in order. Rather, they're asked to submit a bid, indicating which round they would choose a certain player available in the draft. The lowest bid gets that player with the team that chooses him sacrificing a pick in that round in the subsequent year's draft.

When Wahle awoke the day of the supplemental draft in 1998, he didn't even know what time it began.

"I think I woke up at like 7:30," he said. "I was eating breakfast and they called me. It was a pretty good deal."

He was picked by the Packers with a second-round designation, chosen in Holmgren's final season as Packers coach. Wahle played one game that first season under Holmgren. He hardly saw the sideline, in fact. He and Matt Hasselbeck were two of four players who were usually waived the Friday before the game and re-signed afterward.

But Holmgren saw something in Wahle that season. A toughness that has carried him to a long career and a trait the Seahawks feel they've been missing on the front line these past two seasons.

"He brings an attitude," Holmgren said.

"If you look at our offensive line, those five guys are all a little different," Hasselbeck said, "and he definitely brings something to the team that we didn't have before."

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Pro Bowl guard Mike Wahle a good fit for Seahawks

Pro Bowl guard may finally be one to fill Hutch void

May 7, 2008


KIRKLAND -- As Julius Jones was heading toward the left side of the line, Mike Wahle suddenly appeared from seemingly nowhere to take out the linebacker and spring Jones up the field for a nice gain.

When Wahle turned to head back to the huddle, he was greeted by line coach Mike Solari, who gave the veteran guard an atta-boy hand slap.

That, in one blur of a block, is the exact reason the Seahawks signed Wahle in February after the Carolina Panthers released him.

At 304 pounds, the 6-foot-6 Wahle is not a mauler who uses his bulk to bully defensive linemen. His game is one of movement and quick strikes.

While he is not Steve Hutchinson -- but then, who is? -- Wahle appears to be the player who can finally fill the voluminous void created when the Seahawks let the All-Pro left guard get away in the free agency after the 2005 season.

"Bringing in a guy like Wahle, that's the closest thing we've had to Hutch in a long time," guard/center Chris Gray said. "It's a great addition for our offense."

Wahle doesn't care to discuss why he's no longer with the Panthers, the team that signed him in free agency in 2005 after he had spent seven seasons with the Green Bay Packers. Despite playing in two Pro Bowls (2005-06), he was unceremoniously cut.

But sources say his release was strictly to create space under the salary cap, and that some in the Panthers' organization were against the move.

Wahle just offers a whatever shrug.

"I'm just happy to be here," he said. "It couldn't have worked out better. With everything that was going on in Carolina, I'm thrilled to be out of there and I'm thrilled to be here."

The feeling is mutual. Club president Tim Ruskell and vice president of player personnel Ruston Webster had given Solari a list of guards who might be available. But all concerned quickly settled on Wahle as the preferred choice.

"We knew he was the guy that fit," Solari said. "It was a no-brainer."

Wahle quickly resurfaced in Seattle for several reasons.

First, Mike Holmgren was the coach in Green Bay when the Packers drafted Wahle in the second round of the 1998 supplemental draft.

"We needed Mike, or a player like Mike," Holmgren said. "He's a veteran. He's been successful. You know he's a good football player. He brings an attitude. He's smart."

But Wahle brings more than past ties to a coach who is in his final season with the Seahawks. His style and athletic ability fit the way Solari likes his linemen to play.

"We want athletic linemen who can pull and move in space," Solari said. "That helps you with different blocking schemes and gives you more variation.

"Mike is athletic and can move in space."

Offered offensive coordinator Gil Haskell: "Wahle is excellent; a great acquisition. You'd like to have about five of those guys."

That's a lot of expectations to step into.

"There's always pressure to perform," Wahle said. "Especially when you come in and one of the things they're looking to do in the offseason is fix the running game.

"But it comes with the territory. I'm a good player. I have confidence in myself. I've been asked to do that every place I've been, and been successful at it. It's just another challenge."

Tauscher, Kampman to lead Packers in 2008

May 5, 2008

Leadership-by-committee in store for Pack

Not surprisingly, the void Aaron Rodgers is being asked to fill at the QB position following the retirement of Packers legend Brett Favre is a red-hot topic in Green Bay and beyond. At the same time, the Packers’ void in leadership without Favre — as well as fellow retiree and longtime long-snapper Rob Davis, whose strength in the locker room was his greatest quality — hasn’t been discussed nearly as much.

It’s important to note that Davis is still likely to provide plenty of valuable leadership in his new role as the Packers’ director of player development. But clearly, new on-the-field leaders are needed.

According to team insiders, there are probably three veteran starters for sure — WR Donald Driver, ORT Mark Tauscher and DLE Aaron Kampman — who can be counted on to take on greater leadership roles.

Said one team insider: “Driver is a seventh-round pick who came from nowhere. He’s as tough as they come and is very community-oriented. Tauscher is also tough as nails, having overcome a torn ACL. He’s not afraid to speak his mind, and he’s constantly in the weight room. Kampman is another guy who came from dirt. He doesn’t dodge the media and is very religious, which should appeal to that particular sector of the team.”

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Colts draft all-around talent in TE Tom Santi

By Matt Adams

May 6, 2008

Some call it Tight End U.

No, it’s not a Hanes commercial.

It’s the University of Virginia, where head coach Al Groh has made it his mission to turn tight ends into more than guys who can block and catch the occasional ball over the middle.

One of Groh’s latest achievements: Tom Santi, the senior tight end chosen in the sixth round by the Indianapolis Colts. Part of a three-man rotation, Santi was a star in the Cavaliers’ tight end-based offense. He broke out last season, reeling in 36 passes for 418 yards and three touchdowns. The yardage and TD totals weren’t just the best among his fellow tight end teammates; they were team highs.

If you play tight end at Virginia, you must be an accomplished blocker. That’s something Santi brings to the table, something that perhaps makes him more valuable all-around than Jacob Tamme, drafted two rounds earlier. While Santi lined up at wide receiver on occasion at Virginia, he won’t stretch the field or wow you with his speed and athleticism like Tamme.

Instead, what you’ll get from Santi is a hard-nosed player who’s bright (he finished with a 3.35 GPA and was an ACC Academic All-American Selection), has tremendous size (6′4″, 248) and seems willing to do just about anything. During his freshman year, Virginia’s fullback went down with an injury. Santi played fullback for several games. He didn’t carry the ball, but contributed as a blocker and pass receiver. That means he’ll be a flexible guy for the Colts who can shift into H-back when needed and (I hope) give the team a boost in short-yardage and goaline situations.

As an example, Santi admitted last year that an injury to Virginia’s top wide receiver would likely mean an adjustment for him, a role he embraced.

“My role will change a little bit,” Santi said. “We’re also going to have some young guys to step up. We’ve got some young receivers coming in - and they’ve had a chance to run some seven-on-seven. But that will be something that’s really determined during camp to see who’s going to step up and pick up some of the slack.”

Furthermore, Santi seems happy to be with the Colts, where he’ll likely take on a decidedly Ben Utecht-like role. After being picked, he seemed overjoyed to land in Indy:

“This is such an amazing opportunity. To have the chance to play for such an elite and classy organization is an absolute dream.”

Of course, there are a few things about Santi that should be alarming to Colts fans. For example, he has (and admits to as much in his NFL Draft Q&A) the song “Toxic” by Britney Spears on his iPod. He also says the movie The Sixth Sense made him sleep for a month with his lights on.

BONUS FACT: Won the James Tatum Award in 2007. The award is given annually to the top student-athlete among the nation’s football players.

EYE-POPPING COLLEGE STAT: Caught five passes for 128 yards against Minnesota in the 2005 Music City Bowl. To make it even sweeter, Santi hails from Nashville, Tennessee, where the game was played. His Cavaliers won, 34-31.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Hall of Fame Honors John Cooper

May 02, 2008

Doug Lesmerises

Columbus- When John Cooper was fired as Ohio State's football coach after the 2000 season, he thought about searching for another job, wanting to win seven more games to reach 200 for his career. Then his younger brother had this approximate take on reaching 200 wins - "Big stinking deal."

So Cooper ended his coaching career, choosing to spend his time with his wife, Helen, his kids and his grandkids. On Thursday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, Cooper finally received his big stinking deal, as he celebrated his election to the College Football Hall of Fame.

"Life is great right now for John Cooper," he said of joining the 15-member class of 2008, beaming as his wife sat by his side.

Cooper, 70, finished with a career record of 193-83-6 at Tulsa, Arizona State and Ohio State and became the 178th coach and sixth OSU coach in the Hall, joining Woody Hayes, Earle Bruce, Howard Jones, Francis Schmidt and John Wilce.

"Here you've got everything it takes to be successful," Cooper said, motioning toward current OSU football coach Jim Tressel, standing off to his side. "Some time that guy right here will be in the Hall of Fame."

Cooper's teams finished in the top 25 in 12 of his 13 years at Ohio State, as he went 111-43-4, a record that included his 2-10-1 mark against Michigan.

Also elected to the Hall of Fame are quarterback Troy Aikman, tailback Billy Cannon and former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz.

The other 11 players chosen by the National Football Foundation's selection committee are Virginia offensive tackle Jim Dombrowski; Northwestern linebacker Pat Fitzgerald; Florida linebacker Wilber Marshall; Washington State running back Ruben Mayes; Arizona State guard Randall McDaniel; Syracuse quarterback Don McPherson; Wyoming tight end Jay Novacek; Texas Tech split end Dave Parks; Florida State nose guard Ron Simmons; Oklahoma State running back Thurman Thomas, and Army quarterback Arnold Tucker.

John Cooper elected to College Football Hall of Fame

The 15 members of the 2008 class of the College Football Hall of Fame have been announced as:

Troy Aikman, UCLA

Billy Cannon, LSU

Jim Dombrowski, Virginia

Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern

Wilber Marshall, Florida

Reuben Mayes, Washington State

Randall McDaniel, Arizona State

Don McPherson, Syracuse

Jay Novacek, Wyoming

Dave Parks, Texas Tech

Ron Simmons, Florida State

Thurman Thomas, Oklahoma State

Arnold Tucker, Army

John Cooper, Tulsa/Arizona State/Ohio State (coach)

Lou Holtz, William & Mary/North Carolina State/Arkansas/Minnesota/Notre Dame/South Carolina (coach)

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Whitner one of NFL's toughest players

Marc Heintzman

April 30, 2008

At the strong safety position, Donte Whitner is quietly becoming one of the league’s toughest players. His hardnosed, physical play kept the Bills in most games last season. He has exceptional coverage skills, and with an improved run defense up front, look for Whitner to be much more active in defensive backfield. There was even talk last year of moving him to free safety to make better use of his playmaking abilities.

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