thanks for posting this! I was hoping for some sort of recap coverage (probably more interested in this overall than I was in the spring-whatever-that-was).
Go Blue Bowl: In Photos
Marlin Jackson [all photos by Upchurch until the end]
Eric shot the inaugural Go Blue Bowl, a charity event for Marlin Jackson's foundation, to which we led a proud assist. I gave him crap in Dear Diary for not posting his photos, but they were just not on Flickr. So here's the ones you might be interested in.
At left is Marlin's partner Earl, who runs one of the schools that will be picking up and hosting Marlin's programs in town. Even among all these football players Earl is a singularly impressive guy for the work he's done in education and his singular focus on making sure kids get good ones.
I wasn't sure it would be appropriate to post pics of the kids but we figured the "coaches" (ie former players) would be of interest. Lots of them showed up, and a lot of that is thanks to…
my friend and Go Blue Then and Now founder Brandon Williams, better known as "B-Will." His organization brings the charities of former players together so they can all help each other. If you're wondering why the list of players we tend to know begins with a lot of 2000-2003 defensive backs, well, that's because B-Will played with some really really good ones, like…
Marlin, and, between them, Zia Combs, who opened up about his career-ending injury and what it was like to have to start over from that when football was the thing he spent his whole life focused on. And…
Marcus Ray—okay Marcus pre-dates all of these guys but he has been one of the most active in supporting this. Ray's team came out in a well-organized spread formation and started kicking butt; afterward he knew the name of every one of his players. To the right of him is the coach of the championship team, Ernest Shazor, who is HUGE, and goofy, and was out there when a kid lobbed a duck over the middle and for a second there Ernest went from big goofy guy to a defensive back in a stance that made me fear a kid was about to get liquefied. Also big in person:
Cato June: who's pictured here arm in arm with Jason Avant. I just didn't get around to talking to Cato this time, but I owe him an apology since a few weeks earlier we were half-way to organizing an event before we both realized I was organizing a thing in Indianapolis and he lives in D.C. Not my best moment. So now I also owe the D.C. alumni association a call. As you should know and I should have remembered, he's a successful high school coach, so his team was another that played like they'd had years to practice their stuff rather than an hour.
The award for guy who most looks and sounds like a football coach goes to…
Andy Mignery. He sounds exactly as awesome in real life as on the radio. It is very hard not to ask him to recite epic quotes/movie trailers.
Right of course is Jason Avant. After the game the kids all went inside and the players gave speeches, and the two above had the most impressive. Also those hands. Those hands are ridiculous. They have to be since he was the only guy who could ever catch something from…
John Navarre, who was in fact chucking bullets, though Avant said Henne threw harder. Unfortunately we didn't get a chance to compare his arm strength with the guy on the right, whose apparent coldness probably led Jason Whitlock to write a columnb about leadership. Gardner couldn't stick around long, and Navarre had to take off early as well. That's him saying goodbye to…
…Michael Schofield (on the top-left) and Jordan Kovacs (on the bottom-left). The two are together at right. Both incredibly nice guys. I asked Kovacs, after his experience on our liveblog, which was crazier: you people, or an NFL locker room. He had to think about it.
Back row from left: Ernest Shazor, Zia Combs, Marlin Jackson, Earl, Jason Avant. Front row: B-Will.
Eric didn't get photos of everyone. Here's Avant talking with Jeremy Gallon from my phone:
Gallon's another guy I didn't get to talk to much, since he was surrounded by kids the whole time. It was Mignery who pointed out to me, when it was obvious that Gallon was the guy the kids were most impressed with, that they probably don't remember most of these other players, but Gallon is a star from their football memories.
Thank you to all of our readers who sponsored or supported this in some way. Next year I think we're going to do it in Newsterbaan.
For the first several pictures I thought they were passing around a hat to wear for their photo ops. LOL - it wasn't until I scrolled further that I saw that most of them had them.
Sounds like a wonderful event. It's great to see these guys come back for a good cause. The Michigan Difference!
I would like to know where I can get one of those hats.
Marlin brought them.