Monday, April 15, 2019

What Marshal Yanda's shoes say about Iowa's football program

Mark Emmert, Hawk Central Published 5:33 p.m. CT April 12, 2019 | Updated 5:36 p.m. CT April 12, 2019

Iowa strength coach Chris Doyle welcomes back former Hawkeyes in the NFL on a daily basis in the offseason. Chad Leistikow, Hawk Central

IOWA CITY, Ia. — An 8-year-old pair of red and grey Nikes is as emblematic of the Iowa football program as any of the trophies you’ll find at the Hansen Performance Center.
The well-worn shoes belong to Marshal Yanda, a 34-year-old star guard for the Baltimore Ravens. The former Hawkeye has made it to seven Pro Bowls. The shoes were a gift from his first, in 2011. They sit in his locker here year-round. He wears them every time he works out alongside the current crop of Iowa players, which is all the time in the offseason.
Yanda signed a contract extension Thursday to play through the 2020 season. He is a millionaire who could certainly afford some new kicks.
So why does he wear the same old shoes?
Longtime strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle has asked Yanda the same question. He relayed the answer to reporters Friday.
“He said it’s because it’s a reminder of that first Pro Bowl, what it took,” Doyle said of Yanda, who told him: “’It reminds me of what I did to achieve that level of success and what I need to continue to do on a daily basis to play at the highest level.’”
Doyle said Yanda is the kind of role model the Hawkeyes need. He doesn’t come into the training center with his own workout regimen in mind. He does exactly the same things that the players 12-15 years younger than him are doing.

Baltimore Ravens guard Marshal Yanda has made seven Pro Bowls, but still spends his offseasons grinding through workouts with the Iowa Hawkeyes. His shoes are in the building year-round, Iowa strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle explained Friday. (Photo: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

And he’s not alone. Doyle said as many as 15 former Hawkeyes currently playing in the NFL were in the building at one time this winter.
Iowa built a locker room just for its alumni, something Doyle believes is unique. Those include tight end George Kittle, cornerbacks Josh Jackson and Desmond King, linebacker Ben Niemann and, of course, Yanda.
“They believe that the training that we’re doing will help them retain their jobs,” Doyle said.
“It’s absolutely awesome to have those guys come back, be around our current players and to have an opportunity to work with some of the best guys that have ever played here. I think that’s one of the special things about Iowa football is the stability of it, the family of it. And we cater to them.”
The catering doesn’t include new shoes apparently. But for Yanda, that’s the point.

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