Today, I made my annual trip to the Chris Chamber's Catch 84 Foundation football camp for Cleveland area high school players. Individual drills in the morning and 7on7 competition in the afternoon. One of the coaches mentioned that Barry Cofield was holding his Big Man's Camp at John Carroll University. Since Chris's camp was all day, I drove the 15 minutes to the Cofield camp. Smart move.
Introduced myself to Barry Cofield and asked if I could walk around and watch players. He told me,"Of course." He did an excellent job working with D-linemen. Patient and to the point. The t-shirt also had the word Sims as part of the camp. When I went to the other end of the field, I immediately recognized former Nordonia HS star Rob Sims. At the water break we chatted for a few minutes. He remembered me and said some nice things about me to me.
During his high school years, I did not know Barry, as well as I did Rob. Barry played at Cleveland Heights and went on to start 36 games at Northwestern. Now he is the nose tackle for the Washington Redskins. Really athletic, as I remember, and a big body. Also was an award winner in basketball. At Northwestern, he earned 2nd team All-Big Ten. By today's standards he would have been a 3Star, maybe 4Star. Not nearly the "Wow" that the more high profile Ohio players gad, but a very solid prospect who was smart and worked hard.
Rob Sims is now beginning his eighth year in the NFL. Currently, a starting offensive guard for the Detroit Lions. I remember him well as an offensive lineman at Nordonia High School. Really athletic, but overweight. Excellent attitude, but overweight. Worked hard at Ohio State. Not flashy, but solid and a very consistent blocker. Could always move his feet. Drafted in the 4th round by Seattle. A 4th round draft choice had better work hard and that he did. I mean seven years in the League!!! Big, but not overweight now.
I have tremendous admiration for "high profile guys" who take the time to say,"Hi." More importantly, who are willing to give back to the community. Alot of "high profile guys" will give you the lip service, but do not follow-up. Rob and Barry follow up. Plus, when they follow-up, they can communicate with young people. Not only can they communicate, but they carry "respect," by the way they teach.
Rob Sims made my trip to John Carroll very rewarding. Honestly, when he was in high school, college coaches told me that his mother fed him much too well. And she did. He has worked had to get where he is today, which should be a lesson for every young player. Plus, he threw me some love today with his comments. Even at 64 years old, that is nice to hear from people that I respect.