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Where are they now?

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Concudan, Apr 15, 2007.

  1. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Natrone Means:
    PERSONAL: Natrone was a Parade All-America selection in addition to being named the conference and county player of the year following his senior campaign at Central Cabarrus HS in Concord, NC where he lettered as a tailback, linebacker and cornerback. He compiled 3,583 yards rushing and 55 touchdowns over his final two seasons, generating 2,023 yards and 33 touchdowns his senior year alone. He also lettered twice in basketball. Even before joining the Panthers, Natrone nurtured a presence in the area, conducting a one-day football camp for the past three summers. Hosted at Central Cabarrus HS during its first two years of existence, Natrone conducted his camp with Charlotte native and Oakland Raiders offensive tackle Mo Collins in 1999. The event, held for 300 high school students from both Central Cabarrus and West Charlotte high schools, also gave coaches from other schools an opportunity to invite 10 students to attend as well. Natrone hosted his inaugural celebrity golf outing
    at Chapel Hill in 2000. Born Natrone Jermaine Means in Harrisburg, NC, Natrone has two daughters, Taylor (9/12/96) and Kiya (10/12/99). He and his wife, Shonda, reside in Concord. Even before returning to his roots in the Carolinas, Natrone played an active role in the community conducting football camps in the area during the past three offseasons.
     
  2. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    SALISBURY, N.C. – Natrone Means made his living running straight at – and sometimes over – tacklers. Yet the big, bruising NFL back seemed to be doing his best to sidestep the next step in a life built on football.
    After injuries ended his playing days, Means dabbled in real estate. He played golf. He started a youth football association. But he just couldn't get away from the pull of the sport he had played since he was 7.
    Finally, he succumbed and became a coach.
    "It almost seems like I was kind of running away from coaching," he said.

    Means, who helped the San Diego Chargers reach the Super Bowl, is in his first season coaching running backs at Livingstone, a Division II school with about 1,000 students approximately 40 miles from Charlotte. The packed stadiums and cozy player lounges of his playing days have given way to a small practice field lined by a chain-link fence on a residential street.

    In some ways, Means has come home. He is coaching just a few miles from where he starred in high school almost 20 years ago.

    "We can't all be businessmen. We can't all be Donald Trump. And we can't all come up with that invention that's going to change the world," Means said. "But football is what I know."

    The 33-year-old Means spent eight seasons in the NFL, playing with San Diego and Jacksonville before ending his career with a brief stop at Carolina in 2000. His best season was 1994, when the 5-foot-10, 245-pound back ran for 1,350 yards and 12 touchdowns while leading the Chargers to the Super Bowl in his second year.

    He entered the NFL in 1993 as a second-round draft pick out of North Carolina after skipping his senior season. In three college seasons, he ran for 3,074 yards.

    Livingstone's interim head coach, Robert Massey, knew Means from when they both played for Jacksonville in 1996. Massey talked with Means about joining him when he landed a college job. That happened when Ben Coates, a former NFL tight end, left for the Cleveland Browns' staff.

    "He's a big name, not only for publicity but for recruiting," Massey said. "And he's a hell of a coach. He has a good football mind. Knowing that he's a former pro athlete, the kids will be very attentive and will work hard for him."

    Means said he answers most of his players' questions about his days as a pro – "I don't think they're ready for those off-the-field stories," he added, shaking his head – and knows those experiences give him credibility as he masters the finer points of college coaching.

    The NFL left its mark on Means. His walk is sometimes stiff – a remnant of knee injuries – and at a recent practice he sported a dark blue pullover with a Chargers logo. Even if his players are too young to remember the days when he was the "Natrone Bomb," they see his pro experience as a badge of accomplishment.

    "When you're a young athlete growing up, everybody's dream is to play in the NFL," said Tyrome Baisden, a junior transfer tailback. "To be coached by a coach that's been in the NFL who can give you the experience that he has, I feel that's an edge for me at this level."

    Massey recalled watching a freshman take instruction from Means.

    "He's like a kid in a candy store and a deer in headlights," Massey said. "He's amazed that Natrone Means is his coach."

    Means is already talking like a coach, saying he gets frustrated if a player doesn't give enough effort or repeatedly makes the same mistakes. But he doesn't yell much. He barely raises his voice and talks with players in the low-key style he appreciated from his coaches.

    "I'm a slow roller," Means said. "I wasn't the kind of guy that needed to be yelled at and screamed at to get my job done."

    "I don't want a kid to be so worried about me jumping on him that he blows an assignment or fumbles the ball," he added. "They know that if something's going on out there, they can come over and talk to me and we'll get it figured out."

    For the past four years, Means and former NFL cornerback Jimmy Hitchcock, a North Carolina teammate and childhood friend from Concord, ran a Pop Warner youth football association. It was one of several post-football ventures for Means, who also spent time buying foreclosed properties and renovating them for sale.

    "I really enjoyed the youth football and being out there with the kids, but there's only so much you can actually get done out of youth football," Means said. "After the real estate stuff, I was like, 'This is not what I want to do full time.' You can only get so much enjoyment out of buying a house and fixing it up. Now, if we can patchwork a team together, that will definitely give me a better feeling."
     
  3. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Stan Humphries

    Humphries was known as a gutsy quarterback that played with great determination despite injury. He played with a separated left shoulder in the 1992 AFC Wildcard Playoffs in which the Chargers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 17-0 but lost to the Miami Dolphins 31-0 in the AFC Divisional Playoffs the following week.

    In 1994, he led the Chargers through an impressive series of victories through the NFL Playoffs that started with the Chargers defeating the Miami Dolphins (led by Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino) 22-21 in the divisional playoffs, and was followed by what would become one of pro football's all-time great upsets as the Chargers succeeded in holding off a last-minute rally by the Pittsburgh Steelers to win the AFC championship 17-13 at Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Stadium. The Chargers would then advance to Super Bowl XXIX for the first time in franchise history, losing to the San Francisco 49ers 49-26.

    Humphries did not have the greatest athleticism, but his heart and leadership were admired by many San Diego Chargers fans. He was inducted into the San Diego Charger Hall of Fame in 2002. He is currently a commentator for college football. He is also an assistant coach for the Ouachita Christian School (OCS) Girls' basketball team. He was the offensive coordinator for the OCS Football team from 2003-2006
     
  4. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    When Bobby Keasler was hired as the Indians' football coach in December, 1998, it caused quite a stir on the Monroe campus. When Stan Humphries was named ULM's quarterbacks coach a few weeks later, it caused almost as much excitement.


    Humphries was a name that had meant a great deal to Indian fans for more than a decade. He had quarterbacked ULM to the NCAA I-AA national championship in 1987 and had distinguished himself in an NFL career that included guiding the San Diego Chargers to a Super Bowl appearance in 1995. Keasler, who had been an assistant coach during Humphries' playing days at ULM, hoped the ex-quarterback could help bring some of the magic back.


    "Stan got us to the promised land in 1987," Keasler said. "He's good for the program because he's been through it here and known success."


    In 2001, Humphries is entrusted with trying to help get the Indians to the promised land once again -- a conference championship. This spring, Humphries was elevated to offensive coordinator and immediately began putting his touch on the ULM offense. That meant junking the spread offense, and replacing it with a one-back set.


    “We’re trying to be able to run the football better and protect the quarterback better by using a tight end to pass protect,” Humphries said. “We want to give people a lot more looks as far as scheme and formations-wise. Also, we want to become a more physical and tougher football team and I think we accomplished that in the spring.”


    Keasler likes what he has seen of his new offensive coordinator so far.


    “Stan has a lot of fresh ideas and it was obvious this spring that our players really grasped onto his ideas,” Keasler said. “He’s no longer taking the snap under center like he used to, but he’s leading our offense a different way.”


    Humphries did not take a direct path to what was then NLU. A native of Shreveport, a city that produced pro quarterbacks like Terry Bradshaw and Joe Ferguson, Humphries earned All-America honors at Southwood High School after passing for nearly 3,500 yards and 34 touchdowns in two seasons. Heavily recruited, he signed with LSU.


    However, Humphries transferred to ULM prior to the 1986 season and immediately brought firepower to the Indian offense. In 1986, he guided the Indians to a second place finish in the Southland Conference, passing for 1,773 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior.


    That was just a prelude to what Humphries would do in 1987. As a senior, he passed for 2,622 yards and 18 touchdowns to earn All-America honors and Louisiana Player of the Year. But what Humphries did for his team in big games is what is best remembered. In four playoff games, he threw for 1,397 yards (349.3 yards per game) and 11 touchdowns. In a second round playoff win over Eastern Kentucky he completed 33-of-51 passes for a then school-record 486 yards which included 372 yards of total offense in the second half as the Indians won 33-32.


    In the National Championship game, Humphries completed 26-of-43 passes for 436 yards in guiding ULM to its 43-42 win over Marshall in Pocatello, Idaho.


    In two years, Humphries had amassed 4,395 passing yards and 29 touchdowns at ULM, numbers that still rank fourth all-time. Currently, his marks of 300-yard games (six) and 250-yard passing games (13), continue to stand as school records.


    That standout career led to Humphries being drafted in the sixth round by the Washington Redskins in 1988. What followed was a 10-year NFL career that included 81 starts in 88 games; 1,431-of-2,516 passing (56.9 percent), for over 17,000 yards and 89 touchdowns. And he continued to show the ability to make his teammates better, guiding his teams to a 50-31 (61.7) record during his starts and quarterbacking the Chargers to two Western Division titles (1992, 1994) and one AFC Championship (1995).


    Humphries was out of football for a year when he agreed to coach for the first time at his alma mater. It's a decision that he has enjoyed.


    Humphries was inducted into the ULM Hall of Fame in 1994 and in 1995 became one of only two players to have their ULM numbers retired.


    The 36-year-old Humphries is married to the former Connie Penny and they have two daughters, Brooke (11) and Chelsea (8).
     
  5. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    SAN DIEGO CHARGERS 1994 ROSTER

    11-5 FIRST Place AFC West

    09/04 W 37-34 at Denver
    09/11 W 27-10 Cincinnati
    09/18 W 24-10 at Seattle
    09/25 W 26-24 at LA Raiders
    10/09 W 20-6 Kansas City
    10/16 W 36-22 at New Orleans
    10/23 L 15-20 Denver
    10/30 W 35-15 Seattle
    11/06 L 9-10 at Atlanta
    11/13 W 14-13 at Kansas City
    11/20 L 17-23 at New England
    11/27 W 31-17 LA Rams
    12/05 L 17-24 LA Raiders
    12/11 L 15-38 San Francisco
    12/18 W 21-6 at NY Jets
    12/24 W 37-34 Pittsburgh
     
  6. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    92-94 Barnes Johnnie WR 85
    91-94 Bieniemy Eric RB 32
    94-now Binn David TE 50
    93-95 Brock Stan T 67
    93-99 Bush Lewis LB 58
    90-00 Carney John K 3
    91-94 Carrington Darren S 29
    93-96 Castle Eric FS 44
    94-96 Clark Willie CB 31
    93-97 Cocozzo Joe G 68
    94-96 Coleman Andre WR-KR 83
    94-95 Culver Rodney RB 22/35
    94-97 Davis Isaac G 73
    94-96 Davis Reuben DT 93
    94-95 Gibson Dennis ILB 57
    94-95 Gilbert Gale QB 13
    93-96 Gordon Darrien CB 21
    94 Griggs David OLB 92
    89-96 Hall Courtney C 53
    90-95 Harmon Ronnie RB 33
    94-98 Harper Dwayne CB 28
    94-02 Harrison Rodney S 37
    90-94 Hendrickson Steve LB-TE 34
    92-97 Humphries Stan QB 12
    91-95 Jefferson Shawn WR 80
    93-03 Johnson Raylee DE 99
    93-94 Jonassen Eric T 74
    90-94 Kidd John P 10
    94-95 Laing Aaron TE 84
    92-97 Lee Shawn DT 98
    94-97 Martin Tony WR 81
    92-96 May Deems TE 88
    93-95,98-99 Means Natrone RB 20
    93-94 Milinichik Joe G 71
    93-94 Miller Doug LB 54
    87-90,94 Miller Les DT 69/75
    92-96,98 Mims Chris DE 94
    94-97 Mitchell Shannon TE 89
    86,88-95 O'Neal Leslie DE 91
    94-03 Parker Vaughn T 70
    94-01 Parrella John DT 97
    92-97 Pupunu Alfred TE-HB 86
    91-94 Richard Stanley FS 24
    90-02 Seau Junior LB 55
    93-95 Seay Mark WR 82
    91-96 Swayne Harry T 72
    94 Thomas Cornell DE [90]/79
    92-94 Vanhorse Sean CB 25
    94 Wagner Bryan P 9
    92-94 White Reggie DT [90]
    92-94 Whitley Curtis C-G 64
    86-7,92-4 Winter Blaise DT 96
    91-95 Young Duane TE 87
    94 Young Lonnie SS/CB 43
     
  7. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Team makeup:
    34 returned from 1993
    6 Drafted
    1 Trade
    7 Free Agents
    5 Unrestricted Free Agents
    1 Waivers
    54 Total
     
  8. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Alfred Pupunu

    Alfred Sione Pupunu (born October 16, 1969 in Tonga) was a tight end who played 9 seasons in the National Football League from 1992 to 2000. He played for the San Diego Chargers (1992-1997, 1999), Kansas City Chiefs (1997), New York Giants (1998) and Detroit Lions (2000). Pupunu made a championship appearance with the Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX with the Chargers in the 1994 season, and helped them get there by scoring a touchdown in the AFC title game.

    Though Pupunu only scored five career touchdowns (three regular season, two postseason), he performed a unique celebration after each, in which he mimicked Twisting off the top of a pineapple and drinking the juice.

    Pupunu finished his career with 102 receptions for 1,000 yards and 3 touchdowns in 103 games.
     
  9. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Five to be Inducted in Weber State Hall of Fame

    Kurt Black, Stan Mayhew, Alfred Pupunu, Don Spainhower and Dick Williams Join Illustrious Group



    Complete Release

    OGDEN, UTAH - The 17th Annual Weber State University Athletic Hall of Fame banquet is set for FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2005 at the Ogden Marriott Hotel (247 24th Street). All Wildcat fans and boosters are invited to attend the dinner and ceremony.

    Cost is just $25.00 per person. Those wishing to attend are asked to RSVP to the WSU Wildcat Club by Wednesday, February 16 by calling (801) 626-6576. A social at 6:00 p.m. will begin the evening's activities, followed by dinner at 7:00 p.m. and the induction ceremony at 8:00 p.m. All five inductees will be honored during halftime of the men's basketball game on Saturday, February 26 vs. Idaho State at 7:00 p.m.

    This year's inductees include KURT BLACK (Men's Cross Country / Track); STAN MAYHEW (Men's Basketball); ALFRED PUPUNU (Football), DON SPAINHOWER (Sports Information Director) and DICK WILLIAMS (WSU Athlete and Baseball Coach).

    "The Weber State University athletic program has a rich and storied tradition of excellence. These five honored recipients are certainly reflective of that great tradition and are most deserving of this outstanding recognition," said William J. Weidner, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics at Weber State. "They are, and always will be, cherished members of the Wildcat family and we look forward to celebrating their accomplishments and return to Weber State University."
     
  10. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    ALFRED PUPUNU

    Football

    (1990 - 91)

    Even though he played for two seasons, Alfred Pupunu established himself as one of the all-time great tight ends in Weber State and Big Sky Conference history.

    A native of Salt Lake City, Pupunu graduated from South High and spent two seasons at Dixie JC before coming to Weber State where he was recruited by and played under head coach Dave Arslanian.

    His junior season in 1990, Pupunu caught just eight passes for 87 yards, playing behind starting tight end, Trevor Shaw.

    In 1991, Shaw was moved to an inside receiver's spot, opening the tight end spot for Pupunu. With quarterback Jamie Martin at the helm, Pupunu became his favorite target, catching a team and Big Sky Conference high 93 passes for 1,204 yards and 12 touchdowns, helping the Wildcats to an 8-4 record and a berth in the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs. His 8.5 receptions per game led NCAA Division I-AA that season as well.

    He left Weber State with 101 catches for 1,291 yards and 12 touchdowns. His 93 receptions is still a WSU single season best and is the third best in Big Sky history. His 1,204 yards is second all-time single season best at Weber State. He shares the record for Most Receptions in a Game with 15 vs. Idaho State. His 200 receiving yards vs. Idaho is the 10th best receiving yards game in WSU history.

    For his efforts, Pupunu was named First Team Division 1-AA All-American by the Associated Press, The Sports Network and the Walter Camp Foundation.

    He was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1992, but ended up signing with the San Diego Chargers. He played 10 seasons in the NFL with San Diego (1992-97, 1998 and 1999); the New York Giants (1997 and 1998) and ended his career with the Detroit Lions (1999-2000). Pupunu started for the San Diego Chargers in the 1995 Super Bowl vs. the San Francisco 49ers.

    Upon his retirement from the NFL in 2002, he completed his bachelor's degree in Criminology from the University of Utah. He has served as an assistant coach at Alta High School for the past three seasons and is presently mentoring youth at the Decker Lake Correctional Facility in Salt Lake City. This past November, he was inducted into the Utah Sports Hall of Fame.

    He and his wife, Mindi, reside in Draper, Utah. They are the parents of two daughters Miley (7) and Brynnli (3) and a son, Kade (5). They are expecting another girl this June.
     
  11. BFISA

    BFISA Well-Known Member

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    This would be the skejool :icon_eek: :yes: :icon_shrug: :icon_huh:
     
  12. cranberry

    cranberry BoltTalker

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    oh I remember them well, maybe because of going to SB
    The Touchdown in Pittsburgh by Stan was for life.

    thank you Concudan for looking back
     
  13. Thread_Killer

    Thread_Killer Well-Known Member

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    Man, Natrone Means had the longest 8-year career in history. Doesn't it seem like he played much longer than that? Can't believe he's only 33.

    Weird, LT is already going into his 7th year, and he's not even close to slowing down.
     
  14. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    I didnt even remember we brought him back after Jacksonville. Seems we had him durring his hey day.
     
  15. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    I plan to continue to look for news on Chargers of yor.

    Feel free to post anything you find!:tup:
     
  16. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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  17. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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  18. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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  19. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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  20. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Mazzetti Scored First Points in USFL History
    Courtesy of the Midland Loan Website

    At Midland Loan Services, Kansas City, Mo., Tim Mazzetti, executive vice president, once kicked the Atlanta Falcons into the playoffs and almost to the NFC championship—if not for Staubach and the Dallas Cowboys.

    But Mazzetti, who gained reknown as the former bartender at Smokey Joe’s in Philadelphia who became an overnight sensation as the Falcons kicker in 1978, made a last-second field goal against the Washington Redskins to give the Falcons their first playoff berth in team history.

    “The crowd went nuts,” Mazzetti said. “They invaded the field, tore down the goal posts and lifted me up on their shoulders. It eventually made national television. It was unbelievable.”

    Mazzetti, a graduate from the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania, also scored the first points of the newly formed United States Football League (USFL), where his career ended. By 1986, Mazzetti was working for Joe Canizaro, then owner of the New Orleans USFL franchise, the New Orleans Breakers. Canizaro was also a large developer in the New Orleans area who hired Mazzetti to lease properties.

    “It was a great education, because I really learned to understand real estate—especially commercial real estate,” Mazzetti said. That education included surviving through the savings and loan crisis in the late 1980s and eventually landing at Midland Loan Services during the early days of the Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities (CMBS) market.

    Mazzetti’s NFL career ended in 1981, about the same time that Drew Gissinger, now managing director and president of Balboa Insurance Group, Calabasas, Calif., began playing center and offensive tackle for the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers, then known as “Air Coryell” (named after head coach Don Coryell), had a potent offense guided by quarterback Dan Fouts. In 1981, the Chargers made it to the AFC Championship game but lost to the Cincinnati Bengals in a bitter cold game in which the on-field temperature dropped as low as 21 degrees below zero.











    A. J. SMITH

    A. J. SMITH, Assistant General Manager -Director of Pro Personnel. His 17th NFL Season, 3rd with Chargers (1st as Asst. G.M.)

    The San Diego Chargers filled a key position in the team's player personnel department when General Manager John Butler named A.J. Smith the team's assistant general manager and director of pro personnel on January 18, 2001.

    Smith spent the past 14 seasons working for the Buffalo Bills. He originally joined the Bills as an area scout in 1987 and was named assistant director of collegiate scouting in 1989. In 1993, Smith was elevated to director of pro personnel.

    Smith's duties with the Chargers include advance scouting of opponents, monitoring NFL transactions, evaluating pro talent, handling tryouts, free agent contracts and assisting Butler.

    This is Smith's second stint with San Diego. Before joining the Bills, he served as the Chargers pro personnel director from 1985-86. Smith also held scouting positions with the USFL's Chicago Blitz (1982-83) and Pittsburgh Maulers (1984). He began his NFL career in 1977 as an unpaid, volunteer, part-time scout for the New York Giants under the direction of Jim Trimble. From there he moved on to become a part-time scout for the New England Patriots (1978-80) and Houston Oilers (1981).

    Smith made his start in football as an assistant coach at Cranston West High School in Cranston, Rhode Island from 1971-76. He was the head coach of the Rhode Island Kings of the Eastern Football League in 1976 and an assistant coach at the University of Rhode Island in 1978.

    Albert John Smith was born February 28, 1949. He is a graduate of Bishop Hendricken High School in Warwick, Rhode Island. He earned a degree in health and physical education from Kentucky Wesleyan College in 1971.

    Smith played semi-pro football as a wide receiver with the Attleboro (Mass.) Kings of the Eastern Football League from 1972-74 and had a tryout with the Washington Redskins in 1974. Smith was inducted into the Minor/Semi-Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990. He also taught health and physical education in the Providence (R.I.) junior high school system from 1971-85.

    Smith and his wife, Susan, have two children, daughter, Andrea (Sept. 3, 1982) and son, Kyle (Oct. 15, 1984).
     
  21. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Where Are They Now? Johnny Rodgers

    It's hard to believe now, but Nebraska wasn't always considered one of the best programs in college football.


    Former Husker Johnny Rodgers poses with his 1972 Heisman Trophy.
    Before the national championships, before the Heisman Trophies, the Cornhuskers were just another good team in the Big Eight. Sure, they started to achieve prominence with the arrival of legendary coach Bob Devaney in 1962, but it wasn't until the early 1970s that Nebraska became the one-of-a-kind football power it is today.

    1972 Heisman winner and two-time All-American Johnny Rodgers had a lot to do with that.

    A native of Omaha, Neb., Rodgers dreamed of playing for USC. However, his grades were not good enough for him to earn a scholarship there. On the prodding of Devaney and assistant coach Tom Osborne, Rodgers instead settled on his home state's university and came to Lincoln in 1969.

    In Rodgers' sophomore season, the Huskers rampaged through the Big Eight and Orange Bowl game to win their first national championship. The next year, Devaney's squad started its title defense with 10 straight wins. Then came the game that defined Nebraska's season. The date: Nov. 25, Thanksgiving Day.

    The annual Nebraska-Oklahoma contest was always an eagerly anticipated event. In 1971, the hype was greater than ever. At stake were the Big Eight title, an Orange Bowl bid and a shot at the national championship. The Huskers were No. 1 and had the nation's top-ranked defense, while the Sooners were No. 2 and the nation's top-ranked offense. Both teams were undefeated.

    "We realized whoever won that game probably would win the national championship, so it wasn't like just another football game," said Rodgers, who played wingback. "We were mentally and physically preparing ourselves for an all-out, gladiator-type war."

    The game more than lived up to its billing.

    Rodgers opened the scoring less than four minutes into the game with a circuitous, 72-yard punt return. The run was nothing new for Rodgers, a special-teams man extraordinaire who averaged 16.6 yards on punt returns and 30.4 yards on kickoff returns in 1971.

    The two teams battled back and forth for the rest of the game. Nebraska finally came out on top after I-back Jeff Kinney scored on a 1-yard run with 1:38 left in the game. After their 35-31 victory, the 'Huskers trampled Hawaii and then Alabama in the Orange Bowl to take home their second straight national championship.

    Following two undefeated seasons, Nebraska's 9-2-1 record in 1972 was a letdown for the team. However, Rodgers' sensational all-around performance (942 yards receiving, 308 yards rushing, and 802 yards off of punts and kickoffs) won him the Heisman. Nebraska defensive guard Rich Glover placed third, completing the best teammate finish since Army's Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard went 1-2 in 1945.

    The San Diego Chargers selected Rodgers in the first round of the 1973 draft, but he rebuffed the NFL to join the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.

    "I had always dreamed of having $100,000, and San Diego didn't offer me anything close to that," he said. "So I went to Montreal, and they offered me what I was looking for right out of the gate."

    Rodgers played four seasons in the CFL, winning Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player and All-Pro honors, along with a Grey Cup. He had the personal glory but still longed to prove himself in the United States. In 1977, the 5-foot-10, 180-pounder got into tip-top condition and finally became a Charger.

    "I did all I could do in the CFL," he said. "So I came back to try because I wanted to see just how good I could be."

    Unfortunately, the NFL did not work out for Rodgers. He pulled both hamstrings in the first year and saw limited action. The next year, he suffered a horrendous knee injury when a teammate stepped on his foot during practice. The injury put an end to his football career. Only after several years of operations and rehabilitation did the knee return to normal.

    Following his pro career, Rodgers pursued a number of business ventures. First he started "Tuned in San Diego," a successful magazine that provided cable listings for the San Diego area. He later sold the magazine and went back to Omaha in 1989.

    In 1992, the former Heisman winner returned to Nebraska to complete his undergraduate education. However, rather than continuing the degree he started working on in 1969, he started from scratch. Over the next four years, he picked up degrees in advertising and broadcasting.

    Today, Rodgers has two businesses: Jetware Inc., which manufactures bedding products with the Husker logo, and Champion Productions, a sports marketing company. He also works with his alma mater to encourage other athletes to come back to school and complete their education.

    Six years ago, Rodgers and his wife were married in the Heisman Room at the Downtown Athletic Club. The couple lives in Omaha with their daughter, Jewel. Rodgers also has another two sons and two daughters.

    With so much on his plate, his glory days are becoming a distant memory for Rodgers. However, he will always remember playing in the 1971 Thanksgiving Day game -- one of the greatest college football games ever.

    "I don't really think it became the Game of the Century until afterwards," he said. "Then, over the last 10, 20, 30 years, there's really never been another matchup where teams were so evenly matched and played so tightly and played so well."
     
  22. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Where are they now? Jim Laslavic

    He might not be as famous as some of the other linebackers who have played at Penn State, but Jim Laslavic has been as successful.

    A 1969 graduate of Etna High School, which is now part of the Shaler Area School District, Laslavic played three seasons at Penn State and was a junior on the '71 team that went 11-1 and defeated Texas, 30-6, in the Cotton Bowl. He was a third-round draft choice of the Detroit Lions in '73 and played five seasons there before being traded to the San Diego Chargers. He was with them four seasons and finished his career with the Green Bay Packers. While in San Diego, Laslavic decided to get into broadcasting and has been the sports director at an NBC television station in San Diego since '89. He also is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and has had bit parts in two movies. Laslavic, 51, is married to the former Susan Andrews, whom he met in typing class at Etna High. They have two children, Hayley, 16, and James, 14.

    Q: Do you expect this to be a busy week with the Super Bowl in town?

    A: It's always nice when the circus comes to town. I've covered Super Bowls in Atlanta. Tampa Bay and New Orleans, and I think having it here in San Diego will be good because things won't be so spread out. All the things that are going on with the game will be close together, so it won't be too bad that way.

    Q: Is broadcasting something you always wanted to do?

    A: I was a business major at Penn State, but you know how when you are in high school and you sit in math class and daydream? Well, the two things I used to daydream about was playing pro football and being on TV. When I was playing for Detroit, I worked in the off-season selling nuts and bolts. But I wanted to get into journalism, so I went and took some postgraduate courses and worked some internships in the off-season to get experience. I even did some writing for the L.A. Times' San Diego edition.

    Q: Does being a former player help you in your job?

    A: It gives me some insight into what an athlete might be thinking, but I've still got a job to do. The thing I try to be is fair, and I tell players if they have a problem with something I've said about them or something they heard that I said to call me and we'll talk about it. When I was playing, I always thought the reporters or broadcasters who showed up in the locker room the next day after making a critical statement did it the right way.

    Q: Ever had a player mad at you?

    A: I used to do the color on the radio for the Chargers' games, and the team was having quarterback difficulties the one season, and I said something about Stan Humphries not being the answer to the problem and that he shouldn't be back with the team. Stan got mad at me for what I said, but guess what? That was his last year with the Chargers. He didn't talk to me for years after that.

    Q: How did you end up at Penn State?

    A: Well, we were 0-8-1 my senior year at Etna, and I scored one point in the game we tied, so it wasn't because I led the team to a championship. My older brother, Joe, had been an outstanding player and went to California (Pa.) State and was pretty good there. Coaches knew about him and looked at me because I was his brother.

    Q: Did having an older brother help make you tougher?

    A: I was always trailing around after my brother and his friends. They used to beat on me, so I had to be tougher to survive.

    Q: Were you always a linebacker?

    A: In high school I played a lot of positions. I played quarterback and defensive tackle in one game. Can you imagine Tommy Maddox throwing an interception and then just walking across the line and getting into a four-point stance? I wasn't sure about going to Penn State because they had so many good players, but Bob Phillips, one of Joe's [Paterno] assistants, talked to me about how the defensive system there worked and how I could fit in at a lot of different spots on the defense. He's the one who convinced me that I'd fit in there.

    Q: Did Penn State, with its linebacker legacy, help you make it in the pros?

    A: No question about it. What they do at Penn State is give you a blueprint to be the best player you can be. It's up to you to follow that blueprint and work at it, which everybody doesn't do. Because of the position I played, I had to go to practice early and work on coming out of a three-point stance because I would be down on the line, and then I'd have to stay after and work on my drops into pass coverage. But I was fortunate to have good coaching at Penn State.

    Q: You played with some very good teams in the NFL, right?

    A: When I was with the Lions we had some good teams. Unfortunately, we just couldn't get past Minnesota in the division. We played them 10 times when I was there and lost nine of those games. Then I was traded to San Diego and we made the playoffs three out of the four years I was here and went to the AFC championship game twice.

    Q: Are you disappointed you never got to play in the Super Bowl.

    A: It's disappointing only because we had some very good teams and some great players in Dan Fouts and Kellen Winslow and Fred Dean and Charlie Joiner, and a tremendous coach in Don Coryell. It would have been nice if they would have gotten a chance in that spotlight.
     
  23. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Where are they now?

    Sonny Sixkiller
    Ashland High School, 1969

    By TIM TROWER
    Mail Tribune
    Sonny Sixkiller long ago made the move from the small stage to the big stage.

    He hasn’t gone back.

    "I’ve been a lucky guy," says the former Ashland High standout who became a college icon at Washington, dabbled in pro football and movies and is now the color analyst for Husky football games. "I’ve had a lot of great experiences."

    But he hasn’t forgotten his home.

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    "I love living in Seattle," he says, "but I also loved my time growing up in Southern Oregon. When I meet people and tell them I’m from Oregon, I always let them know I’m from Southern Oregon, not that Portland area."

    Sixkiller and his wife of 30 years, Denise, live in Seattle, where they raised three sons: Casey, a Dartmouth graduate and an aide to Washington senator Patty Murray; Jesse, a government major at Dartmouth; and Tyson, a sophomore at Washington.

    For the past decade, Sixkiller has been a color analyst for FSN Northwest on Washington games, a role he brings a unique insight to because he quarterbacked the Huskies from 1970-72. He also co-authored a recent book, "Sonny Sixkiller’s Tales from the Husky Sidelines."

    Little did he know, while growing up in Ashland, he’d be a TV regular and author.

    Sixkiller’s family moved from Oklahoma to the Rogue Valley when he was 1, and although he was a Cherokee Native American growing up in an area with relatively few minorities, there was nothing unusual in his upbringing. He went to school, hung out with friends and played sports.

    His father and two siblings still live in the Rogue Valley.

    "The biggest thing I remember is just having time to work out with friends and having the luxury of having parents who would let me go out and play ball all the time and just enjoy being a kid," says Sixkiller, citing few opportunities to do things in a small community.

    He also relished having coaches who understood his talents, his mental fortitude and had him well-prepared as he moved on to college.

    Even though Ashland had trouble matching up with the likes of Medford and Roseburg, Sixkiller was all-Southern Oregon Conference and second-team all-state. Among his highlights was a game at Grants Pass.

    "It was ‘Be Kind to Mel Ingram Night’ because he was retiring," says Sixkiller. "But we sent him out on a bad note. We kicked their butts."

    He also recalls playing on a wet field in Medford against Fred Spiegelberg’s team.

    "It hadn’t rained for a couple of days," he says, "and we were wondering why we kept slipping and sliding in the mud. They always seemed to have a way to get it done."

    Being a star athlete in Ashland didn’t necessarily prepare Sixkiller for the attention he would attract at Washington. As a sophomore, he took the reins in 1970 of a team that had gone 1-9 the year before and directed seasons of 6-4, 8-3 and 8-3. He led the nation in total passing in 1970, completing 186 of 362 for 2,303 yards and 15 touchdowns. A year later, he was on the covers of Sports Illustrated — one of only two UW players so featured — and Boys Life.

    He also became a lightning rod for the media, as much for his heritage, it seemed, as his talent. At a time when political correctness hadn’t evolved, racist terms and descriptions were rampant, to the point where team captains wrote to the Seattle media imploring them to stop focusing on race. Further, Sixkiller, two years removed from high school, was besieged by Indian groups seeking support on matters such as fishing rights and tax issues.

    "To go from not realizing what it’s all about in high school," says Sixkiller, "to college and understanding the national impact that you have, it’s beyond belief."

    He persevered, ending his career as the Huskies’ greatest passer. His 5,496 yards in an era of the wishbone offense still ranks fifth all-time.

    Sixkiller wasn’t drafted into the NFL and his pro career was short-lived. He tried to latch on with the Los Angeles Rams, but they kept draftee Ron Jaworski and veterans John Hadl and James Harris.

    "I knew the writing was on the wall," says Sixkiller.

    In 1974, he spent time with Toronto of the Canadian Football League, then in the World Football League with Philadelphia and Hawaii.

    Sixkiller’s movie and TV credits are short but memorable. Burt Reynolds, who is one-eighth Cherokee, visited a UW practice in Sixkiller’s sophomore year. Two years later, when the latter didn’t stick with the Rams, Reynolds invited him to Georgia for a part in his football movie, "The Longest Yard." Sixkiller played a halfback on the inmate team that took on the guards. He spent 10 weeks in shooting.

    "When you’re inside the prison shooting action, seeing the prison population day in and day out, it made you really glad you’re on the outside," says Sixkiller. "The conditions in Georgia were tough, but it was a tremendous experience."

    Later, it was TV. While driving by Diamond Head in Honolulu with his parents, they happened upon a "Hawaii Five-O" shoot. Just seeing it thrilled his mother to no end; she no doubt was beside herself when he got a role as a boat captain.

    Sixkiller’s football career ended when, invited to compete as Dan Fouts’ backup with the San Diego Chargers in 1976, he was unable to try out because of an injured rotator cuff. He entered the business world, then landed the TV job for Husky games.

    He’s had opportunities in other markets but wasn’t interested.

    "I’m happy doing what I’m doing," says Sixkiller, "especially when we had all the kids doing sports. I was lucky; I never missed a lot of them."
     
  24. VAN DE MAN CHARGER FAN

    VAN DE MAN CHARGER FAN BoltTalker

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    Natrone Means was recently making an appearance at Tidewater Sports. I forgot about it until the day after. :icon_evil:
     
  25. Ride The Lightning

    Ride The Lightning Join the Dark Side, we have cookies.

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    :mad:STAND HUMPHRIES:mad:

    :lol:
     
  26. nickelbolt

    nickelbolt Fuggedaboutit

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    I know this is supposed to be for former Chargers, but did anyone catch this bit?
    "Wadsworth comeback would be miraculous"

    Had the Chargers not traded up to take fat *** POS in that draft, Wadsworth very well may have been a Bolt.

    :icon_eek:
     
  27. Thumper

    Thumper WHS

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    I was at several of those games after we brought him back. He had some good games, but most of his best was when we had him the first time. I was at one game though right before we had the World Series at the Q (Pads v. Yanks) and Natrone had a huge day, but he tore up the field. They were talking about it during the World Series about how much work they had to do to get the field ready for baseball.
     
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