The LRSD To Begin Pilot Program with “African-American Athletes in Arkansas”

In the spring semester, Little Rock School District social studies classes will begin to implement my book into curricula.

I’m pleased to announce that Little Rock School District social studies teachers at the high school and middle school levels plan to incorporate lesson plans based off of African-American Athletes in Arkansas starting in January 2018. As an alum of the district (Jefferson, Pulaski Heights, Central), this means a lot to me. It is a significant first step in the public history mission that inspired me to write the book in the first place.

Below is one example of the four lesson plans which have been created off of the book. Here the credit goes to educator Dustin Seaton, and to Jason Endacott, who sent me to Seaton.

If you want me to send you this lesson plan as a separate file, or have any other questions, feel free to reach me at info@heritageofsports.com.

LESSON PLAN

Created by Dustin Seaton, GT Specialist, NWA ESC

 

  1. Descriptive Data

Teacher: __________________________ Date: _____________________________

Subject Area: _Civics/AR History Grade Level: _______7th-12th __________

Unit Title: _U.S. Constitution/Civics        Lesson Title: Challenging the 1st Amendment

 

  1. Standards, Goals, & Objectives (National Middle School Association Standards 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5)

Standards (list local, state, or national standards which will be met upon completion of this lesson): 

Lesson Goal(s):

  • Engage students in lively analysis and discussion of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution as it applies to freedom of speech and religion
  • Challenge students to understand another person’s point of view

Lesson Objective(s):

Civics

PD.3.C.1: Evaluate rights and responsibilities of citizens in the United States.

PD.4.C.3: Examine the amendments to the U.S. Constitution in order to determine how the roles of citizens and the federal and state governments have changed over time

(e.g., Bill of Rights, incorporation of states’ rights into government, interpretation, due process, voting rights)

PD.4.C.7: Construct arguments analyzing citizens’ rights protected by the U.S. Constitution and constitutional amendments using multiple sources

AR History (7/8th Grade)

H.7.AH.7-8.8: Analyze social, economic, and political effects of the Civil Rights Movement on various regions in Arkansas from multiple perspectives (e.g., integration, state legislation)

AR History (9-12th Grade)

Era5.5.AH.9-12.4: Analyze the social, economic, and political effects of the Civil Rights Movement in various regions of Arkansas using primary and secondary sources from multiple perspectives

(e.g., segregation; voting; integration of Fayetteville, Hoxie, and Little Rock School Districts; federal and state legislation)

Era6.6.AH.9-12.4: Analyze ways that Arkansans addressed a variety of public issues by using or challenging local, state, national, and international laws

African-American History (9-12)

IE.6.AAH.2: Examine the various influences of African Americans on social change using primary and secondary sources from multiple perspectives (e.g., migration, feminism, military, social organizations)

JU.7.AAH.2: Identify unresolved social, economic, and political challenges for African American men and women from 1970 to the present using a variety of sources representing multiple perspectives

  1. Background

Muhammad Ali’s story of a prizefighter and boxer are known largely for his success in the ring, but students should also know about his successful challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court. Prizefighting has been characterized as a true test of skill, courage, intelligence, and manhood while boxing champions have also become symbols of national and often racial superiority. On October 29, 1960, Cassius Clay fought in his first professional bout as a boxer and continued winning throughout the decade. He earned nicknames such as “Louisville Lip” and “Mighty Mouth” because of his outspokenness and personality both in and out of the boxing ring. By 1964, at the age of just twenty-two years old, he became the world heavyweight boxing champion by defeating the incumbent champion Sonny Liston. Clay soon joined the Nation of Islam, abandoned his “slave name,” and started to go by Muhammad Ali during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. His biggest fight then came from his stance against the federal government in 1966 when he refused to be drafted in the U.S. military to fight in the Vietnam War. Ali cited his religious beliefs and person conviction of being opposed to the U.S. involvement in war as his refusal to be drafted. He publicly stated, “Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from home and drop bombs and bullet on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?” He later added, “Man, I ain’t go no quarrel with them Viet Cong.” In April of 1967, he was arrested and found guilty of refusing to serve in the U.S. military. He was later suspended from boxing and stripped of his titles and license to box. Unable to practice his profession, Ali began touring the country and speaking at colleges/universities about Nation of Islam, civil rights, and other things of personal interest. Five years after his initial arrest, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned his in a landmark case Clay v. United States (1971) where a unanimous Supreme Court ruled the federal government had violated Ali’s “conscientious objector” exemption which was protected by the First Amendment. “For less than a week in March 1969, the world’s most famous former heavyweight champion toured the state of Arkansas” (pg. 127, Demirel)

Continue reading The LRSD To Begin Pilot Program with “African-American Athletes in Arkansas”

The Future of NFL National Anthem Protests & Powerful White Men

The silver lining in filtering dialogue about national anthem kneeling and raised fists through a white perspective.

In today’s episode of Slate’s Hang Up and Listen podcast, host Stefan Fatsis explained the difficulty which modern NFL players find themselves in:

“They’re being asked to figure out a bunch of things — where they stand on racial injustice, freedom of expression, the right to push back against the president, how they feel about the anthem and flag. It puts a lot of unfair pressure on them, and now the way they react is interpreted politically.

If kneeling and raised fists and hands on shoulders diminishes over the subsequent weeks, well, then, people will just say ‘Well the NFL won. These guys are backing down. The players are wrong’ and this… conversation about race and justice gets filtered by how white people think about it.”

The show’s guest, former NFL Films producer Jamil Smith, then points out there’s a silver lining in that.

It’s a good thing, he says, because it means that a conversation about these issues—and the persistent menace of white supremacy in the U.S.—has at least started. The key, Smith says, is to press the issue with powerful white males. It is a minority of such men, after all, who enable white supremacy to fester in the 21st century, after all. And often they will listen to other powerful white males (e.g. NFL owners) more readily than anybody else.

“I think it’s OK it press these guys about the realities that [NFL] teammates have to endure when they leave the locker room. Because when they take those uniforms off, they are big black dudes in big, nice vehicles getting targeted.

And, sorry, it’s not too much to ask those guys to step up, to have an opinion.

You don’t necessarily have to put a hand on a shoulder, to kneel or to speak out. You can say ‘I understand. This is inspiring me to learn more about this issue. I’m trying to become a more educated citizen and I encourage everyone who’s listening to do the same.’

You don’t have to become a freedom fighter—it’s welcome—but you just have to become a more educated citizen. You have to exercise critical thinking and given how smart these guys are—and I know, I’ve interviewed a bunch of them—they can handle that task.

 

Jimmy Johnson On Janis Joplin and Her (Apparent) Lack of Underwear

After a recent induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones can now expect to see his bust shown at that hall of fame’s headquarters in Akron, Ohio. Not so for Jimmy Johnson, the former head coach who with Jones led the Cowboys to two NFL championships in the mid 1990s.

While Johnson hasn’t yet been inducted into that particular hall of fame, he still has a bust on display — in the library of his hometown of Port Arthur, Texas. For more than 25 years now, that bust has stood near a bust of famed rock and roller Janis Joplin, who attended Port Arthur High School with Johnson. Joplin died in 1970 and didn’t leave anything regarding Johnson in her interviews. But Johnson has spoken about Joplin a few times.

“She wasn’t real fond of the jocks because we kind of teased her,” Johnson said in the 2016 SEC Network documentary “Before They Were Cowboys.”  I actually gave her a nickname, “Beat Weeds.” This was the late 1950s, and the “hippie movement” with which Joplin would become linked had not yet started.

Locally, the teenage Joplin was known as a talented painter and folk singer. Johnson, meanwhile, “could solve algebra problems at a glance and write term papers worthy of A’s the night before they were due,” Sports Illustrated’s Ed Hinton wrote in 1992. “He was a football lineman with the scars of childhood street ball showing through his burr haircut and was called Scar Head.”

“By a quirk in scheduling, Janis [class of 1960] and Jimmy [c/o 1961] once had to put up with each other in a history class for an entire school year, she seated behind him. He would tease the weirdo, “give her a hard time, irritate her,” he remembers; she would scoff at the jock and ignore him as best she could.”

“It was like oil and water mixing,” recalled Jim Maxfield, Johnson’s childhood friend, in “Before They Were Cowboys.” (Maxfield recalls the two actually sat side by side.) “Both of ’em knew that the other one was bright, and neither one of ’em could really get the upper hand. She would not invite him over for a glass of tea, I don’t think,” he added.

Was there any flirtatious edge to all this teasing? Johnson stiff-armed the notion with smile in the Sports Illustrated interview when his girlfriend brought up the fact that the Port Arthur library had a display case with Joplin’s panties in it. “Beat Weeds’ panties,” Jimmy scoffed. “She never wore any panties.*” And to raised eyebrows all around, he adds, “From what I understand.”

The two talented teenagers both left Texas to make their marks on the national stage. Johnson left for Arkansas, where he helped lead the Razorbacks to a national championship in 1964 and then embarked on a college coaching career  culminating in a national championship at Miami.

Joplin lingered in the Port Arthur area and Austin until early 1963, and then again in the mid 1960s, before breaking through in California.

 

* The chances that Janis Joplin never wore panties at all are pretty slim. Far slimmer, it’s safe to say, than the 500-to-1 odds of the Razorbacks winning the 2016 national college championship according to the latest betting lines

That Time Black Muslims Interviewed Chicago Bears Legend George Halas: Part 1

The integration of the NFL followed a jagged path, starting with a trickle in the 1920s, coming to a halt in much of the 1930s through mid 1940s and then slowing building in steam again. By 1963 every team had at least one black player. At that point, however, none of them played quarterback.

This was all the more surprising given not only were black quarterbacks excelling in traditionally black colleges, but they had also led major college programs like Michigan State, Minnesota and UCLA to national renown.

The question of why blacks in the early 1960s hadn’t yet gotten regular playing time at quarterback inspired a series of interviews which ran in Muhammad Speaks, then the name of the periodical produced by the Nation of Islam led by Elijah Muhammad. To tip off the series, a Muhammad Speaks writer spoke to George Halas, the longtime Chicago Bears founder/coach/owner and “O.G.” among NFL patriarchs.

Below is the first part of the interview, which originally published on January 31, 1963*:

“I don’t care what color a man is. I’m interested in winning games,” the Chicago Bears’ George Halas told Muhammad Speaks last week. Halas, whose 1962 Bears finished third in the National Football League western division with a record of nine wins and five losses, said: “I’ll use any man who can best play the position, regardless of his color.”

Whatever political complexities have entered the field to dilute this position on player use, the aging, active Halas would not say. However, so glaring is the discrimination against Negro quarterbacks and so important is this key position to the psyche and status of Negro players—it remains for galvanized fan pressures and a football “Jackie Robinson”** to break the barrier.

“Sandy Stephens (University of Minnesota’s All-American quarterback) was good, admitted Halas, known as “Papa Bear” throughout the sports world. “There’s no doubt in my mind Stephens could have made it. I would have used him myself if he could have beaten out Bill Wade.” (Wade is the first-string quarterback).

Below are my own notes:

*The Bears were then on the cusp of an 11-1 season in 1963, which would be the last NFL championship team Halas coached. Don’t look for glory to be reclaimed in 2017. Most prognosticators have Chicago finishing with a losing record that starts early on: the Bears are a 6.5 underdog to Atlanta in Week 1 according to football lines in major sportsbooks.

** Technically, the NFL’s first black quarterback was Fritz Pollard in the 1920s. He played, however, before an unofficial ban against blacks beginning in 1933. Coincidentally, Kenny Washington, a UCLA football teammate of Jackie Robinson himself, was the first black to play in the NFL post-ban. It had taken Washington seven years to break through in 1946 after not being picked in the 1939 draft, “even though Chicago Bears coach George Halas tried to convince NFL coaches to lift the ban on black players for the Bruin star,” according to this ucla.edu press release.

Here’s a teaser for the film made about Washington and three other pioneering Bruin teammates:

Read Part 2 here. Subscribe to be notified of future interesting historical/sports posts.

Dallas Super Bowlers vs. Houston Super Bowlers: Kickoff and Punt Return Edition

 

Here is a list of all-time Super Bowlers who attended a high schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston areas, broken down by position. Make sure to check out my upcoming piece in the Dallas Observer to see how each metro area’s all-time Super Bowlers stack up against each other.

DFW High School Super Bowlin’ Kickoff Returners

Super Bowl W/L SB Year Team Player Kick (Yds) Kick (Rt) Kick (Y/Rt) Kick (TD) City of High School Name of High School
XVIII (18) Loser 1984 Washington Redskins Alvin Garrett 100 5 20 0 Mineral Wells Mineral Wells
XXVIII (28) Winner 1994 Dallas Cowboys Kevin Williams 50 1 50 0 Dallas Franklin D. Roosevelt
XI (11) Winner 1977 Oakland Raiders Carl Garrett 47 2 23.5 0 Denton Fred Moore
XVII (17) Winner 1983 Washington Redskins Mike Nelms 44 2 22 0 Fort Worth O.D. Wyatt
XXX (30) Winner 1996 Dallas Cowboys Kevin Williams 24 2 12 0 Dallas Franklin D. Roosevelt
II (2) Winner 1968 Green Bay Packers Tommy Crutcher 7 1 7 0 McKinney McKinney
II (2) Winner 1968 Green Bay Packers Doug Hart 0 0 0 0 Fort Worth Handley
XXXVII (37) Winner 2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Karl Williams 0 0 0 0 Garland Garland

In the Super Bowl punt return category, three Dallas Super Bowlers are in the books. Mike Nelms stands atop this knoll with 52 yards on six returns. Next up is former Buccaneer Karl Williams, of Garland High School, who returned a single punt for 25 yards in Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl XXXVII win.

The Cowboys’ Kevin Williams also returned one, for a meager five yards.

Houston Metro Super Bowlin’ Kickoff Returners

Super Bowl W/L SB Year Team Player Kick (Yds) Kick (Rt) Kick (Y/Rt) Kick (TD) City of High School Name of High School
I (1) Loser 1967 Kansas City Chiefs Bert Coan 87 4 21.75 0 Pasadena Pasadena
XLIX (49) Winner 2015 New England Patriots Danny Amendola 44 2 22 0 The Woodlands The Woodlands
XVIII (18) Winner 1984 Los Angeles Raiders Greg Pruitt 17 1 17 0 Houston Elmore

In the punt return department, two Houstonians have done it on the Big Stage. In Super Bowl XVIII, former Raider Greg Pruitt returned one eight yards in Los Angeles’ win over Washington. On the other side of the ball, speedster Darrell Green returned one for 34 yards in the Redskins’ loss. He returned another one four years later for a goose egg in Washington’s XXII win.

Now we go to the folks who so politely provide all those returns:

All-time Super Bowler Kickers & Punters, a la DFW

Super Bowl W/L Team Player XPM XPA FGM FGA City of HS Name of HS
XXXV (35) Winner Baltimore Ravens Matt Stover 4 4 2 3 Dallas Lake Highlands
XLIV (44) Loser Indianapolis Colts Matt Stover 2 2 1 2 Dallas Lake Highlands
XXII (22) Winner Washington Redskins Ali Haji-Sheikh 6 6 0 1 Arlington Arlington
XLIV (44) Winner New Orleans Saints Garrett Hartley 2 2 3 3 Southlake Southlake Carroll
XIX (19) Loser Miami Dolphins Uwe von Schamann 1 1 3 3 Fort Worth Eastern Hills
XVII (17) Loser Miami Dolphins Uwe von Schamann 2 2 1 1 Fort Worth Eastern Hills
XX (20) Loser New England Patriots Tony Franklin 1 1 1 1 Fort Worth Arlington Heights
XV (15) Loser Philadelphia Eagles Tony Franklin 1 1 1 2 Fort Worth Arlington Heights

Dallas’ sole punter representative is Curley Johnson, a Woodrow Wilson alum who kicked it at the University of Houston before heading to the NFL where he played for the New York Jets in Super Bowl III. He knocked out four of ’em at nearly 40 yards per pedi-pop.

Oh, and “Greater” Houston? Pssshh. This metro has only produced one Super Bowl field goal kicker. That would be Curt Knight, of Mineral Wells, who missed his only FG attempt for Washington in a losing Super Bowl VII effort.

All-Time SB Houston Metro Punters

Super Bowl W/L Team Player Yds/Punt Punts Yds City of HS Name of HS
XXIII (23) Loser Cincinnati Bengals Lee Johnson 44.2 5 221 The Woodlands McCullough
XXXVII (37) Loser Oakland Raiders Shane Lechler 39 5 195 Sealy East Bernard
XLIV (44) Winner New Orleans Saints Thomas Morstead 44 2 88 Pearland Pearland

For more DFW vs. Houston rankings, check out my BestOArkansasSports.com* post where I rank both areas’ all-time Super Bowler rushers and receivers.

If you really dig this kind of thing, make sure to sign up for my Texas sports stats email newsletter below. You’ll get all my future Texas-related posts. Sign up now and in your first blast I’ll send you something very similar to the above, except it will include all-time Super Bowl Texans regardless of native city.

 

 *OK, so I ventured a little out of state topically. So soooie me.

Nothing Posterior About Little Rock’s National Standing In Tight End Production

I recently wrote a piece for OnlyInArk.com supporting the theory that my hometown of Little Rock is the “tight end capital of the world” (in football, not fitness). My theory is supported by four* great college and/or NFL players: Keith Jackson, D.J. Williams, Hunter Henry and Charles Clay. I realize Williams is technically a Fort Worth, Texas native, but for the purposes of this piece he should be considered a Little Rocker — especially since he still lives there.

Little Rock has a population of about 200,000. That means one out of every 50,000 of its native sons is a world-class tight end!

Not just wanting to rely on blind hometown pride, I decided to drop a little research my theory’s way. Thanks to sports-reference.com, I gathered the hometowns of the best NFL tight ends in history — first-team All-Americans since the late 1970s and winners of the John Mckey Award for the nation’s best collegiate tight end (those winners are asterisked below).

The spreadsheet helps Little Rock’s case** by showing how the town produces so much more on a per capita basis than anywhere else. A few places vie for second place. Torrance, Calif. for instance, produced the greatest TE of all, Tony Gonzalez, and a great collegian in Daniel Graham.

St. Louis doesn’t go quietly into the positional night, either, not with Hall-of-Famer Kellen Winslow and three-time Pro Bowler Paul Coffman to its name. But according to the list, at least, these towns don’t have more than two great tight ends. Sure, it’s possible someone moved into the town as a child or young teen (like D.J. Williams did with Little Rock), but I will need to see those cases first before I admit the slightest of doubts that my theory could be wrong.

Continue reading Nothing Posterior About Little Rock’s National Standing In Tight End Production

Emmitt Smith, Marshawn Lynch & the Demise of the Superstar Running Back

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In 1996 the stars aligned for Emmitt Smith. Then 27 years old and among the NFL’s best running backs, Smith had just led the Dallas Cowboys to their second straight Super Bowl title and in return inked a record-setting eight-year deal. The package, worth a total of $63 million, converts to nearly $12 million a year in today’s dollars.

  Like Smith then, Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch is among the top two or three at his position heading into Sunday’s Super Bowl. Like Smith, the 28-year-old is on the brink of leading his franchise to a second straight championship and has accumulated a career total of 2033 rushing attempts – 26 more than Smith had after winning the 1996 Super Bowl.

  But don’t expect Lynch, who earned $6.5 million this season, to benefit from a similar windfall whether Seattle wins or loses the Super Bowl to slightly favored New England, according to betting odds in William Hill. Despite Lynch’s once in a generation talent, and despite his marketability skyrocketing through the surly, rogue attitude he’s adopted with the media, he’s on the wrong side of history.

At every level of football, teams rely on a lead running back far less to provide yards than even 15 years ago.  While the NFL’s very best teams still boast potent ground games, they have increasingly divvied their carries between dual-threat quarterbacks and a host of younger, cheaper running backs. In terms of yard production, Super Bowl teams’ top running backs have played progressively smaller roles within their teams’ seasons since the late 1990s. The trend has played out in the big game itself, where a running back hasn’t won Super Bowl MVP since 1998.

Inline image 3

  NB – Total offensive yards from each of the past 70 Super Bowl teams’ entire seasons, not just their Super Bowl games. “Top” running back defined by the tailback or fullback with the most rushing yards during the season.  

Seattle’s Super Bowl opponent has become an industry leader in the “running back by committee” approach. The New England Patriots in recent years have eschewed investing in a single running back in favor of giving big money to the likes of quarterback Tom Brady and defensive back Darrelle Revis. The Patriots have fielded three Super Bowl teams since 2004 and none of those teams has featured a running back with more than 840 yards on the year. This season, the Patriots have deployed a rotation of four running backs with none going over 412 rushing yards. The highest-paid Patriot running back, Shane Vereen, checks in around No. 30 on a team salary ranking.

Marshawn Lynch, of course, is an outlier in many ways. So far he’s bucked almost all trends involving declining productivity with marquee backs in their late 20s. Still, even through his success, we see seeds of another reason for the position’s demise.

Lynch has thrived, along with Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, in a zone-read system  that pressures opposing defenses to make split-second decisions on which gifted runner to target. The system has also been used with success at lower levels, and has been a factor in no running backs being taken in the last two NFL Draft first rounds. Some college coaches have been exploiting the surplus of college-ready passers and pass-catchers at the high school ranks to find athletes whom they can convert into tailbacks, then installing zone-read options or zone running games that often require “less-varied skillset from running backs and only average speed,” SI.com’s Robert Klemko wrote. “The NFL consequence? When teams look at running backs, they don’t know what they’re getting.”

“The devaluing of running backs has something to do with some of the offenses that are being run in college,” Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn told Klemko. “There’s a big group that are part of the zone-read world, where maybe they’re not getting the ball in the backfield and handing it off to a guy and saying, ‘Watch what this dude can do.’ ”

“Beast Mode” proves these words still apply to today’s NFL every time the surly running back blasts down the sideline, ricocheting off defenders like the Millennium Falcon in an asteroid belt. But it happens far less frequently than it did in a time not so long ago.
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                                        Not Yoda, ya’ll. (Via SportsOnEarth.com)

The Civil War Andrew Luck Portrait to End All Civil War Andrew Luck Portraits

Ok – I lied…

If only Arizonan Ryan Fitzpatrick hadn’t attended a Yankee school like Harvard, this concept would really fly.

NFL Pro Bowler Lorenzo Neal to be Auctioned Alongside 50 Units of Botox

Life's not quite a breeze for Lorenzo, but it's close.
Life’s not quite a breeze for Lorenzo, but it’s close.

Few professional athletes have had as much success jumping from one franchise to the next as four-time Pro Bowler Lorenzo Neal. For 11 consecutive years, playing for the likes of Tennessee, San Diego, New York, Tampa Bay and Cincinnati, he blocked for a 1,000-yard running back. He might have been the greatest journeyman in NFL history.

While Neal’s career accomplishments put him in rarefied air, the diversity and number of his activities since retiring after the 2008 season place him in a class all his own. On Saturday night, thanks to the Clovis North High School Bronco Foundation’s fundraiser, he takes the next step in a five-year journey that grows more fantastic by the day.

Neal, as well as the San Diego Chargers [12-1 favorites to win the 2015 Super Bowl], are item No. 7 on a list of live auction items that have been lassoed up by the foundation and donors for Clovis North’s annual Stampede:

“7 Priceless Football Weekend for 4 with Lorenzo Neal and the San Diego Chargers: watch Saturday’s pre-game practice, tour the locker room. and take pictures with your favorite Chargers. Receive executive parking pass for Sunday, attend the Chargers’ executive tailgate with Lorenzo Neal, and then go into the game –November 23 vs. the Rams.”

The list of potential prizes for supporters of this central Californian school doesn’t end with the chance to chill with Neal, the opportunity the feel the fire of fantasy football stud and MVP candidate Phillip Rivers from but feet away, get half a side of Organic beef butchered to one’s specifications or a beer Kegerator. Thanks to generous sponsors such as California Industrial Rubber Company, Inc. and Fresno dermatologist Kathleen Behr, silent auction items like botox are on the table too. Dr. Behr has provided 50 units of the cosmetic toxin for the evening’s festivities.

So, how exactly did Neal find himself here? Was it divine providence, or mere caprice, that led him from paving paths for Adrian Murrell, Warrick Dunn, Eddie George and Corey Dillon to being sold at the Panoche Creek River Ranch off North Highway 41?

The power to unravel this koan is beyond me.

I do know this: “Low Daddy” has become an entrepreneurial Krakatoa whose powers may just be unfathomable. He has spewed more revenue-generating and philanthropic lava, in more directions, than most minds can grasp.

Poppycock, you say?

The 43-year-old’s unofficial c.v. since retiring says otherwise. In it, we get some standard retired-player coaches’ clinic type stuff here, and a lot of NFL broadcast and radio color commentary there, but it gets pretty non-predictable in a hurry.

In the last five years, Lorenzo has also been:

– Hanging with comedian Adam Corolla, talking door hinges, flipping properties and why serving time sometimes isn’t all that bad.

– Taking care of his 1971 and ’72 Cutlass Supremes

– Headlining an apparently short-lived reality TV show project called “2nd Shot at Glory,” packaged as “American Idol” meets “The Biggest Loser” meets America’s most beloved pastime… football.” The show was to involve Neal and at least three other former NFL players supervising the efforts of pro football prospects.

2nd shot at Glory

“Participants can be from every position in the NFL. Can you imagine a kicker winning? – the outrage, the pandemonium!,” we read on the show’s Web site. “Finally, you can have your 2nd Shot at Glory by competing against other men from all across America for money, glory and most importantly, the opportunity for a spot on an NFL roster.”

“The winner receives $500,000 cash prize and a guaranteed contract with a professional agent to negotiate their first contract.”

– Overseeing another apparently short-lived project called Fan Foods Inc., a grocery store with a not-sizzling Facebook presence.

– Getting the word out on breast cancer

– Providing for his children, including a daughter who has suffered seizures and speech delay

Helping Native and aboriginal youth stay active

– Running a non-profit called Worldwide Athletes, LLC. Purpose = All about getting kids access to higher education.

Helping students at Fresno High School set and achieve goals through his “Changing a Generation Foundation.”

– Charging up to $2,000 per hour – with occasional half-off discounts – to speak to kids in a motivational manner.

Hawking a workout device called The Body Stretcher

– Wearing  a CrossFit T-shirt at a CrossFit gym grand opening

– Endorsing the StreetStrider, said to be the world’s first indoor/outdoor elliptical cross trainer

loneal

– Being a professor at Football University

– Helping run an anti drunk-driving service called Safe Ride Solutions. “Basically, it’s like having a AAA card for partying,” Neal told Yahoo Sports. “You call an 800 number, and an off-duty police officer comes to you and drives you home in your own car, no questions asked. It’s totally confidential. When we pitched it to the NFL, they gave us their approval and told us it was OK to shop it to teams.”

– Crashing his truck into a pole after getting drunk on the Fourth of July. Nobody was hurt. “[He] just ran off the road, struck a pole,” officer Axel Reyes told KFSN-TV. “Nothing real major about it.”

Continue reading NFL Pro Bowler Lorenzo Neal to be Auctioned Alongside 50 Units of Botox