McCourty goes from 0-16 to Super Patriot; Wisconsin's Ron Dayne returns to get his degree
Jason McCourty got the NFL equivalent of Monopoly’s “Get Out of Jail Free card’’ this offseason when the 0-16 Cleveland Browns traded him to the New England Patriots, a team that has been to three of the past four Super Bowls. And that wasn’t even the good news.
The good news is that McCourty will be joining his twin brother, Devin, in the Patriots’ secondary, making them one of only 13 sets of twins to ever play in the NFL. So what made him happier? Playing with the Patriots or being reunited with his twin brother, whom he played with both in high school and at Rutgers?
“The opportunity to play next to my brother is really a dream come true,’’ McCourty tells the Talk of Fame Network this week. “As kids you dream it.’’
McCourty, who is expected to be in the mix to replace departed starting corner Malcolm Butler, was a sixth round draft choice of the Tennessee Titans a decade ago but within a year was a starter and remained so for the eight years he spent with the Titans. A salary cap victim in 2017 when he refused to take a pay cut after Tennessee signed ex-Patriot Logan Ryan as a free agent, he moved on to Cleveland. There he faced perhaps the toughest challenge of his career – staying motivated on a team that did not win a game.
“I was the second oldest guy on the team,’’ McCourty said. “A lot of young guys were coming to me, asking me questions. That kept me going…knowing there were young guys asking me how to be professional. It was tough.’’
This season McCourty will be facing the opposite pressure, the kind that comes with a perpetually playoff ready team that expects to win in a town that demands it. It’s a different kind of pressure but if Jason McCourty begins to feel it he only has to look behind him to find relief because backing him up will be his twin brother.
“He really believes the way they do things is the way to go,’’ Jason McCourty said of his brother’s outlook on Bill Belichick and the Patriots Way. “The thing I’ve learned (from his twin) is just trust in Bill.’’
Eighteen years after leaving Wisconsin with a Heisman Trophy and a host of Rose Bowl rushing records, running back Ron Dayne was back in the news not for winning another football game but rather for winning his degree 18 years after walking off campus to join the New York Giants.
Dayne tells Talk of Fame, “I was older than some of my professors! It was tough (but) I wanted to get it done before my kids got it done.’’
Dayne said he never thought about the irony of having been enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame before he’d ever actually graduated from college, but the day he finally received his diploma last week he knew what was coming net.
“I ordered a special frame, buddy,’’ Dayne said. “It’s a little piece of paper but I’ve got a big frame.’’
As part of Talk of Fame’s ongoing look at the most glaring omissions from the Pro Football Hall of Fame, TOF visits this week with long-time Kansas City Chiefs’ beat writer and Hall of Fame voter Randy Covitz, who didn’t hesitate to name the Chief he feels as been most slighted
“Johnny Robinson,’’ Covitz said.
Chosen on the AFL’s all-time team at safety, among his many accomplishments was a stunning stat Covitz came up with. The Chiefs were 35-1-1 in games in which Robinson intercepted a pass. Those numbers are as astonishing as Robinson himself.
Covitz also cites Otis Taylor, Jim Tyrer, Ed Budde and punter Jerrell Wilson, as four more Chiefs who he feels have been ignored.
Our Hall of Fame co-hosts, Ron Borges, Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge, join with former Los Angeles Rams P.R. man Rick Smith to recall the coaching career of Chuck Knox, who passed away this week at 86. They remind our listeners there was a lot more to Knox than his “Ground Chuck’’ running game. Among those things were his famous “Knoxisms.’’
“If Chuck felt he was not dealing with a guy who had high character he’d say, ‘That guy’s got flies all over him,’’ Smith recalled with a laugh.
Clark states the Hall of Fame case of long forgotten Rams’ quarterback Roman Gabriel, recalling that, “All the guy did was lead the Rams a 41-11-4 record in four consecutive years where he three times was named to the Pro Bowl and voted the league’s MVP. Then, after leaving the Rams for Philadelphia, he was the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year in 1973 — a season when he was named to his fourth Pro Bowl and led the league with 3,219 yards and 23 touchdown passes.’’
The guys also debate the wisdom, or lack thereof, of the recent Supreme Court decision legalizing sports betting around the country and how it might affect the NFL and Rick brings the numbers to bear on fading, 29-year-old wide receiver Dez Bryant. Rick speculates he may have overplayed his hand when he turned down a three-contract from the Baltimore Ravens and remains unsigned.
There’s that and a ton more in our weekly, two-hour show on SB Nation Raider. You can hears us there or on our free podcast on iTunes or the TuneIn app. You can also hear the show whenever you’d like by going to our website, talkoffamenetworkcom and clicking on the helmet icon.