Mr. Sports 9-24
My recent visit to Nashville to cover the Tennessee Titans game against the Dallas Cowboys was certainly fulfilling from the standpoint I caught up with the Cowboy’s Rolando McClain and have written two feature articles (one of which is located in this week’s edition) on the former Madison resident. Having some quality time with McClain was my intent by traveling to the Music City. On that sunny, pleasant Sunday afternoon, the Cowboys, behind the stellar, team-leading play of McClain, defeated the Titans.
While sitting in seat No. 20 among the second-row seating of the press box at LP Field, I was fortunate to sit next to a scout from the Cowboys. I will leave his name out of this conversation as he told me many interesting gems of the Cowboys and McClain. This scout played at Tennessee and explained his job with the Cowboys was to search out playing talent among the junior and seniors in college football. He analyzes all of the talent pool and then passes his information along to the player personnel and coaching staff of the Cowboys.
According to this scout, McClain has been a difference maker for the Cowboys. Team owner Jerry Jones went out on a limb to contact McClain after the former Oakland Raider first-round draft pick out of Alabama went through an array of personal troubles and actually twice retired from the NFL. You can read more about McClain’s phone call from Jones in my McClain feature, but the fact is, Jones reached out to the 25-year old McClain with very little consequences should McClain not work out of his personal funk and make the team. Jones was a betting man that his phone call to McClain would be worth it. So far, it has, as McClain is the team leading tackler and is starting in the middle of the Dallas defense.
Listening to his unnamed scout, he told me how McClain has this certain aurora about him where players gravitate towards him. Maybe it’s his wide smile, maybe it’s his still youthful ways about him or maybe just the fact he has tremendous talent that is just busting to get out on the football field. McClain has become something of a leader for the Cowboys’ defense, though listening to Cowboy’s owner Jerry Jones McClain doesn’t want the publicity of that quality. According to the scout, McClain is very smart and knows the ins and outs of football, probably because of his natural talent, which grew upon his playing at Decatur High and refined while playing for Nick Saban at Alabama. Jones told me McClain is a natural-born football player. The scout echoed that statement and said when McClain first made his way to the Cowboy’s practice facility, he knew he was a “rookie” with the team, but possessed experienced knowledge and physical talent
beyond any rookie the team has seen.
With all of this said, let’s hope McClain keeps on the right track in life, clears up any personal demons he may have and plays for a long time in the NFL. After all, in my feature article on the 6-foot-4, 240-pound athlete, you find out his life is on the right track, thanks to God, Saban and Jones.
Jordan Matthews In NFL
At Madison Academy High, Jordan Matthews had 181 receptions in his four years of play. In college, while attending Vanderbilt, he pulled in 262 passes. Now in his first year with the NFL, he has caught only 11 passes, which seems like nothing compared to his former levels of play, but last Sunday’s game may have been the break out performance for the former Mustangs’ receiver.
Matthews had eight catches for only 59-yards, but two of those came in the end zone for touchdowns as Matthews helped lead the Philadelphia Eagles to a 37-34 win over the Washington Redskins. Eagles’ head coach Chip Kelly said, “We have weapons at every spot, so we used Jordan after their (Redskins) defense covered up certain areas. If you shut down the run, we’ll take shots at the passing game. Jordan is a big time receiver.”
“I’ve kind of been sneaky the first two games of the season, so they (Redskins) forgot about me with all of the other guys out there, so Nick (Foles) was able to find me and put the ball in the perfect place up high in the back of the end zone,” said Matthews after the game. “I couldn’t ask for a better position on those throws.”
Spending some time earlier this year with Matthews while he worked out with Andy McCloy at Body Creations Athletic Enhancement in Madison, he told me we wears a portion of the bible verse (Matthew 17-20) on his wrist band that reads, ‘Jesus tells them to turn mountains.’ “My faith allows me to move mountains. I feel I can accomplish anything,” Matthews told me. Through three games in his rookie season in the NFL, the 6-foot-3, 212-pound former Mustang is moving his mountain, which are the defenses of opposing teams.
Key games in the SEC this weekend should prove to be key matchups to determine eventual opponents in the post-season SEC Championship Game. Here’s the lineup for this week.
Tennessee-Georgia (11:00 a.m.-ESPN), Vanderbilt-Kentucky (11:00 a.m.-SEC), Arkansas-Texas A&M (2:30 p.m.-Channel 19), Louisiana Tech-Auburn (3:00 p.m.-SEC), Missouri-South Carolina (6:00 p.m.-ESPN), Memphis-Ole Miss (6:30 p.m.-FSN) and New Mexico State-LSU (6:30 p.m.-SEC).-Bob-