Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Tell the Kid to Be a Lineman

OK, your 14-year-old son likes to play football.

He’s going to be a big kid. He’s fairly athletic and he’s got some speed.

You’re 5-11 and weigh 200. Your wife is 5-8 and pretty well put together herself.

Because your wife is tall and was a two-sport athlete in high school, your son is projected to be 6-4 and, with weight training, about 230 when he quits growing. Everybody knows the kid will get his size from his mother.

The kid keeps telling you he wants to be a running back or a fullback when he gets to high school. If not one of those two positions, he’d shoot for being a tight end. Obviously, he wants to stay in a “glamour” position.

“Forget it,” you tell him over pork chops, baked potatoes and salad with blue cheese dressing at the dinner table. “I want you to be an offensive lineman.”

The kid leaves the table and goes to his room, where he turns on Sports Center. There, he hears the announcer say that rookie Robert Gallery of Iowa is going to make between a guaranteed $18 and $19 million to play for the Oakland Raiders.

“Maybe the old man was right,” the kid thinks. “Maybe I should be an offensive lineman.”

That little scenario was my way of telling you that all mommies and daddies out there should try to persuade their sons to be offensive tackles and not cowboys or bank presidents.

Use Robert Gallery as your example.

After all, the 6-7, 320-pounder from tiny Masonville, Ia., became a very rich man today. reported that Gallery’s representatives reached agreement in principle with the Raiders, the second player selected in the NFL draft.

Len Pasquarelli wrote that Gallery, who is expected to be the cornerstone of the Raiders’ efforts to rebuild an aging offensive line, will receive between a whopping $18 million and $19 million in guaranteed money.

Oakland starts its training camp Thursday in Napa Valley, Calif.., and Gallery wanted to be under contract by the time workouts began.

Gallery, who won the prestigious Outland Trophy at Iowa, is regarded as the best NFL tackle prospect in several years. He’s known as much for his strong character as for his football prowess.

And the word “character” has nothing to do with the shoulder-length hair and large loop earrings Gallery wears. Gallery, who turned 24 two days ago, is no long-haired freak.

This guy can play. And, with the kind of money he’s going to be making on NFL fields, he’ll never have to work a day in his life after his football career is finished.

Gallery is expected to challenge six-year veteran Barry Sims for the starting job at left offensive tackle after a 2003 season at Iowa that saw him become a consensus all-American.

As a Hawkeye, he participated in 3,230 snaps, had 359 knockdown blocks and 41 blocks that resulted in touchdowns.

Obviously, Gallery’s progress at Iowa is another feather in the cap of Hawkeye coach Kirk Ferentz, whose specialty is coaching offensive linemen. No wonder Ferentz’s name is constantly mentioned as a future NFL head coach.

Ferentz may be wondering, though, if the coaches will ever make as money as the players.

The answer? Probably not.


The Iowa-Arizona State football game Sept. 18 could wind up being on TV after all.
After information began circulating in the Iowa City Press-Citizen and elsewhere that there was no way the game could be on the tube, things began happening.

“Don’t bet on the Iowa vs. Arizona State game not being on TV,” a highly-placed TV executive from our state told me in an e-mail today. “There are lots of behind-the-scenes discussions going on. Something could happen, hopefully in the next two or three days.”

Let’s hope my friend is right. Iowa-Arizona State is too game a game to not be on TV.

Vol. 4, No. 246
July 28, 2004