By Anthony Armstrong
People often ask if I miss playing ball. My answer is always the same. “Playing, yes. The business side of it, not so much.” One of the biggest things I do miss is the camaraderie inside the locker room…and the crazy situations that can play out there.
My first “real” NFL locker room was with the Dolphins in ‘08. The team had big names, big personalities, and plenty of roster moves. Guys would come in for two weeks and then be let go for another Band-Aid until the problem was fixed.
Of all the guys at the Dolphins facility, one guy stood above everyone else — Jason Taylor. JT came back to South Florida after a stint in DC. He was welcomed by the fans, coaching staff, and everyone at Dolphins HQ. He had a legendary career and was sponsored by Jordan.
Quick sidebar, I’ve only owned two pairs of J’s in my whole life and one of those was fake. I didn’t realize it until I sent a pic to a friend when the Gamma Blues made their return and he was asking why Mike was doing a layup, but that’s neither here nor there.
Jason was sponsored by Jordan and occasionally got large shipments from the brand. He would go through and choose what he wanted from the package and then put the rest in the middle of the room for a first-come-first-served free-for-all of what was left.
I had heard rumblings about this happening but sure as hell wasn’t prepared for what was about to go down. JT would stroll in with two giant boxes of gear, plop them down and walk off. It was like Black Friday shopping with flat-screen TVs on sale for $50. Just about every practice squad player would rush the pile of apparel and grab what they could. Mind you, JT is 6’6 245 lbs rocking a size 14 or 15 shoes.
Obviously, I dove in. Being the Old Navy wearing new guy, I was trying to make a come up. Shoes were immediately off the list since I didn’t have enough socks to fill his shoes, and I didn’t want to look like Bozo. Double-XL tracksuits weren’t gonna do the job either, but I had to get something. I ended up settling for a too damn big sweatshirt that I never ended up wearing, since Florida is hot, and I was just swimming in the thing. Sucker was as big as a comforter on me.
Needless to say, that was my first and last time jumping into the mix for some gear. If he had gotten something for the little dudes then I would have been in business.
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