By DJ Moore
Every day I would walk onto the practice field 30 to 45 minutes early. Arriving early gave me the freedom of being able to do things I would not normally do, like kicking field goals. I really enjoyed that. Each day I saw this older man, with a sleeve on his leg, who seemed like he could barely walk. He would walk beside me to practice. At the time, I was a hard-headed rookie struggling on the field, and was looking for someone to talk with about my situation. Day after day, we walked out to the indoor practice facility together, and the more I saw him, the more I opened up to him. I assumed he was an equipment guy or something, so I spoke very candidly about my situation. I would explain how the coaches were not giving me a chance and the usual complaints you’d give about coaches when you are riding the bench. I didn’t think too much about my conversations with him.
Fast-forward to the next season. As a team, we were struggling on defense. Someone decided we needed a change at play-caller for defense. Rod Marinelli was named defensive coordinator. I was familiar with his name but was not familiar with Coach Marinelli’s appearance. I was watching TV as they were talking about Rod Marinelli and of course they showed a picture of him. I laughed because that’s my guy — who I walked to the bubble with and talked with every day. Then a sense of embarrassment washed over me. I had been talking shit about the coaches to one of the coaches — not just any coach, one of the best. I don’t know why it didn’t dawn on me, but day after day he listened to me. He typically responded in a very positive way. No matter my complaint, he was always ended the conversation with “Keep working.”
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