A lot of activities since my last posting, some good and some very solemn….
First and foremost I want to acknowledge the passing of one of my old Giants teammates Johnny Perkins. Johnny was a wide receiver drafted in the 2nd round of the 1977 NFL draft out of Abilene Christian University. Johnny was a solid player who played until 1983. That time period was one that many Giant or football fans don’t or in general choose not to remember very well because the team went on to win a Super Bowl in 1987. Perkins helped the team during that era when the team was looking for consistancy and an identity. He passed in April as a result of complications from a surgical procedure. I consider any player I’ve played with on any level, as one of my guys and Johnny Perkins was definitely “one of my guys”. I attended his service in Granbury Texas to offer my condolences to his widow Debbie and the rest of his family. Others in attendance were former Giant players Emory Moorhead, Ernest Gray and Byron Williams along with former Abilene Christian running backs Wilbert Montgomery and Cle Montgomery. Rest in Peace JP….
Thanks to all who still send their support and words of encouragement to my son Donald who continues to make excellent progress in regard to his bout with severe Aplastic Anemia. Don is completely off of all medication and has resumed living a “normal” life. He continues to carry his supply of hand sanitizer and carefully inspects any food or drink he consumes. He has completed his first year in the Medical Master’s Program at Hampton University in Virginia. I am trying to convince him to write a book on his journey. Most who know about Donald only know about his bout with AA but most don’t know of his athletic career while in college. In his senior year alone his basketball and football teams went winless. As a proud young man it was humbling but somewhat embarrassing for him to go through those experiences. In both instances I told him that he would learn so much from each situation that he would carry with him for the rest of his life. Little did we realize that so soon out of college he would have to rely on one those lessons of dealing with adversity so soon. Donald’s story is one that I think many young people (and old heads) can draw inspiration from. I’m going to continue to nudge him to put pen to paper. In the meantime Donald and I will continue to do what we can to help bring an increased awareness of Aplastic Anemia to the public and seek a cure for the condition.
This past year has been interesting in that I’ve been mentoring the football team/athletes at Central High School in Newark, NJ. My long-time charity of choice MANetc, Inc. adopted Central to make a difference with for the next two years. The school was an ideal choice for me personally because it is in that area of Newark that my mother lived in and I often visited when I was much younger man. With all of the negatives associated with Newark (murders, gangs, etc…) it makes my heart feel good to be able to connect with so many young men who have so much potential and help guide them in a positive direction. I truly feel that if I can help save one young man from the streets and prison then my visits and time spent with them would be well worth it and not in vain. As a boy growing up there were many people who said something that stuck with me to help me make the proper choices to get down the road of life.
Thanks to all who participated in the second Harry Carson/School Foundation Golf Challenge sponsored by Honda of South Carolina. Thanks to Pro Football Hall of Famers David “Deacon” Jones, Ted Hendricks and Lawrence Taylor who was able to join my other “Crunch Bunch” linebacker mates Brian Kelley and Brad VanPelt in Florence, SC to support my cause. Thanks also go out to former NFL stars Donnell Woolford, L.C. Greenwood, Jim Stuckey, Keith Williams, Dwayne Harper, Willie Scott, Mike Friede, Mike Rozier, Ervin Parker and my guy Donnie Shell. Special thanks to Jeremiah Trotter and his wife Tammy, Coach Bobby Cremins, Dave Henderson of the Oakland A’s and my college coach and mentor Willie Jeffries and his wife Mary. Thanks to all who gave their time to make the event even better than the one last year.