Just returned from the Hall of Fame weekend in Canton. It’s been a year since my own induction so I was able to view the process from a different perspective. When I was elected in 2006 my focus was on making sure my family and friends were able to attend the event and have a great experience. The whole weekend was a blur that went by so quickly. With this year’s induction there was no pressure except to show up and support the new class of inductees. For years I watched the induction paying more attention to the “old-timers” or legends who would be introduced at the beginning of the ceremony. Those were the guys that intrigued me the most, those guys I watched as I was growing up. As I was introduced prior to this year’s event I realized that I am now one of the “old-timers”! Hahaha…! But to be introduced with Gale Sayers, Jim Brown, Bart Starr and the more than 80 Hall of Famers to attend the events over the weekend was indeed an honor. While I appreciate the on the field greatness of all of the players, I really appreciate getting to know the personalities and the greatness of these players and their families off the field even more now.
Most of you know that my son Donald was treated for a bone marrow disease called Aplastic Anemia. His last medical treatment was in early July 2006 at NIH in Bethesda, MD. He had a six month follow-up visit with his doctors in January of 2007 with another six month follow this week (7/10/2007). Aside from his bone marrow biopsy aspiration (the procedure took more than an hour to complete), I am extremely happy to let everyone know that Donald is doing incredibly well. His doctors at the National Institutes of Health are very pleased with his recovery. He is now due for his next follow-up in 1 year.
Donald is entering his second year of Graduate School in the Medical Master’s Program at Hampton University in Virginia. He hopes to attend medical school in the fall of 2008. For all of you in the Aplastic Anemia community being treated for the condition if you have an opportunity to be treated at NIH please jump on the opportunity, the hospital has wonderful doctors and a very professional and caring staff
Had the opportunity to speak before Congress on the disability issues of the retired players. The Congressmen/women were very receptive to the plight of the NFL Retirees. Some radio interviewers have asked why am I so “low keyed” on the issue? Well, while I feel very strongly about the issue, I refuse to get into name calling or personal attacks because the bigger picture is to help all of the players who are in dire need as oppose to giving the media something scandalous to write about. I was honored to have been invited to testify and also honored to be an advocate on behalf of all former players.
My golf game has always and still sucks……! But I continue to play in various golf tournaments to support causes. My motto when it comes to golf is “I humble myself for worthy causes!” I wish there was an over 50, two hand touch, half speed football league I could play in instead to raise money for great causes!
There are few things better than a nice 80 degree low humidity spring or summer day!
Spent 9 weeks on Grand Jury duty in my county, if any of you have an opportunity to do the same don’t pass it up! I know that one day of jury duty for 9 weeks might be a lot for some but I felt a sense of doing my civic duty and it was a great lesson in understanding law. The big question I asked myself from all of the cases I heard or handled was…. why do dumb people who commit crimes think they won’t get caught?
This time of the year so many people ask me how I think the Giants will do this year. The team still has a good core group of players in key positions on all three sides of the ball but the fate of this team rests squarely on the shoulders of Giants Quarterback Eli Manning. At some point in the development of every player he has to step up and take ownership of his position. The quarterback has to be the leader (The Man!) who steps up and carries his teammates on his shoulders not just with his arm but with his attitude. If Manning is not ready in this his fourth season he will probably never be ready. Don’t get me wrong…. I am a huge fan of #10 and I hope this is finally his breakout season!
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.