John Randle spent one summer years ago working at a scrap aluminum plant.
He drove there in an old Chevette his father bought for him for $200. The car did not have air conditioning or a radio. After it broke down, Randle was forced to walk to a building that had all the comforts of a furnace.
Years later, Randle was a Minnesota Vikings rookie defensive tackle playing on “Monday Night Football.” He had beaten long odds to make the team. That night, he recorded his first career sack against Philadelphia’s Randall Cunningham.
So began a remarkable Pro Football Hall of Fame career.
Randle overcame a tough childhood to become one of the toughest defensive tackles ever to play in the NFL. He had at least 10 sacks in eight straight seasons, including a career-best and league-leading 151/2 in 1997. His 1371/2 career sacks tie him with Richard Dent for sixth on the league’s all-time list.
The first line of a Randle biography perfectly summarizes his rise through the years.
“Always an underdog, he fought his way to top dog.”
The call of Canton
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One member of the Class of 2010 came from beginnings so humble, he never dared to think he might end up immortalized in bronze. John Randle, former defensive tackle with the Vikings and Seahawks, had more immediate concerns.
"I never thought it would be possible," Randle told ESPN Sports Travel. "At those times, I just saw myself trying to make the team, just trying to be on the team in college. It was the same way when I got to the NFL, just trying to make it. I never thought, when I was in college, that I'd ever have a chance to play in the NFL. I just never thought about it."
Randle's route to the league went through Trinity Junior College, then Division II Texas A&I (now A&M-Kingsville). The 6-foot-1, 287-pound defensive lineman went undrafted in 1990, yet here he stands, ready to put on a gold jacket and give a speech in the middle of the Hall's adjacently located Fawcett Stadium with classmates Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith, Russ Grimm, Dick LeBeau, Floyd Little and Rickey Jackson.
Why is Randle here? Because of his standout work ethic. His path to the Hall went not only through a small school but a pile of quarterbacks. He's a living reminder that it's not where you start, it's where you finish that counts.
MSU Athletic Training Staff honored by Lone Star Conference
MSU Sports Information
WICHITA FALLS, Texas - The Midwestern State athletic training staff was named tops in the Lone Star Conference as the league announced its sixth annual Lone Star Conference Athletic Training Staff of the Year for the 2009-10 academic year.
The Mustangs' program is led by Gary Diehm with help from full-time assistants Kate Lyman, Lindsay Linder and Tatum Carroll along with graduate assistants Chris Downey, Melissa Hays and Mike Telfer.
"We feel very honored to receive this award this year," Diehm said. "There are many quality athletic training staffs in the LSC and it is very meaningful to be recognized by our peers in this way. It reflects the hard work and dedication of a hard working, selfless staff."
Mentors give youths a second shot
Corpus Christi Caller
CORPUS CHRISTI — Juvenile parole officer Gus Morales gets greater respect from Shaquille since the 17-year-old’s release from a Texas Youth Commission correctional facility.
The Kingsville teen listens more and keeps an open mind when Morales asks him questions.
Morales credits Chester Swanson, a tackle for Texas A&M University-Kingsville, for Shaquille’s improved attitude.
Swanson, 25, mentors Shaquille and exposes him to more opportunities, such as higher education. Their friendship, which formed through the Big Brothers Big Sisters Second Chance Program, has helped Shaquille see alternatives to re-incarceration.
TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY-COMMERCE FOOTBALL TO HOST LADIES FOOTBALL 101
The coaching staff at Texas A&M University-Commerce will be hosting the inaugural Ladies Football 101 on Saturday, August 21st. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Sam Rayburn Student Center on the A&M-Commerce campus for a day of friends-fashion-football.
The clinic is designed to give each individual a solid foundation in the game of football. The clinic will include: lunch, Q&A with the Lions football staff, chalk talk, highlight video, basic rules and strategy, tour of Memorial Stadium and a fashion show for $25.