Sunday, June 03, 2007

What's Your Wadsworth?

The NY/NJ Jets and Coach Mangenius are continuing their delight in the improbable, the rhymedable, the miraculous. Consider 2006 NFL Comeback Player of the Year Chad Pennington, whose never "strong" arm recovered from two rotator cuff surgeries to lead the Jets to the playoffs.

Already documented is the arrival in the Jets camp of two world-class heavyweight freestyle wrestlers. And now Andre Wadsworth is trying out for the Jets (remember him? Florida State stud, drafted by the Red Hole [AZ Cardinals]. He had knees like Jiffy Pop, apparently). Wadsworth is looking to make a comeback after seven years and thirteen knee operations.

The #3 pick in the draft at DE from Florida State, Andre Wadsworth played in 36 games during his 3 year NFL career with the Red Hole. That's playing 75% of each season. In 36 games (always playing hurt) he racked 119 tackles, eight sacks, three fumble recoveries and one INT -- off "Thunder" Dan Marino. Over slightly more than two seasons, that isn't impressive by itself.

I would be thinking, like you: big deal, he's in competition with 32 youngsters and hasn't played a down of football since Clinton was president. He won't make the team and this is just more filler from Badcock looking for legitimate reasons to titillate the Ministry of Information (Big BM = Big Brother Mother) with images of coketits.

But Andre Wadsworth seems pretty cool. I hope he makes the team. Read his words, quoted from this article.

What has the medical community sworn on Wadsworth's knees? They all said he'd never play again. Wadsworth: "Every doctor said it. I mean, every doctor."

Why would a successful businessman (Wadsworth owns six BMW, Porsche and VW car dealerships in Florida) want to subject himself to the hamburger mill of the NFL ... with their average lifespan a full 17 years below the national male average?

"I love football. Why do people think it's crazy to do this? I know in life you can be a businessman or whatever you want to do after football. You can do it until you die. But in football, you can't do it until you die ... The itch has never left. It's just like a cast, an itch in your cast that you can't scratch. That's what I have. I couldn't scratch it because I was hurt."

Wadsworth was a walk-on at Florida State and became a starter after his first year. He dominated the college ranks and was the unanimously acknowledged best defensive player in the 1998 draft. Is he tenacious? "In life, you can't take no for an answer. Call me stubborn or not, but that's the way I live my life."

Wadsworth is moving to LB for the first time. His position means that he'll have to be faster and more mobile than ever before (Jiffy Pop, anyone?) but for the first time the former lineman has a view of the field, in his two-point stance.

This has all been pretty standard stuff. Besides loving the Jets (everyone needs a fave team in the other conference), why do I want Wadsworth to perpetrate one of the greatest comebacks of all time?

"I take it one day at a time. It's a lot of stuff to absorb. It's like drinking out of a fire hydrant since I've been here, and I'm learning to open my mouth bigger."

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