Other Stuff 05.29.2006

Hey AP.....you need to play daily trivia with us!!! :)
Blast from the past....

Henry Lawrence

Henry Lawrence:

Migrant Farmworker,
Football Star,
Migrant Mentor

Henry Lawrence, once No. 70, Offensive Tackle on the Oakland (later, Los Angeles) Raiders, earned three Super Bowl rings as a member of this World Champion team. Just as heroic is his own story, as a young migrant farmworker who became a mentor and role model for other migrant children.
Henry first came to western New York from Florida in 1969 with his mother, sister, and two brothers, picking fruits and vegetables. The Center's programs encouraged him to stay in school. He was offered both an academic and a football scholarship to Florida A. & M. University, from which he graduated in 1974. He was drafted by the Raiders that year and played with the team for 14 years.

In 1980, when the Raiders played the Bills at Buffalo, Henry came to a migrant camp near Castile, New York, bringing some teammates. One of them, the Raiders' Captain Gene Upshaw, had himself picked cotton in Texas as a boy with his own migrant family.

The players met with the crew and young people from other camps who were enrolled in the Center's education programs. They gave out 25 tickets to the Raiders-Bills game and other door prizes - clothing, blankets, soap.

Henry Lawrence later spoke out to migrant school dropouts up and down the East Coast, in public service announcements. He urged young people to stay in school, to return to school or get vocational training if they have dropped out, and always reach for their dream. His own life is a shining example.
Here is a video of a press conference with Kelvin Garmon when he was signed by the Cleveland Browns. At least you can hear what he thinks, his personality and his opinion of his play....

Hit it here...
Well AP you just hit a home run.

Henry "Killer" Lawrence is my all time favorite Raider player. Thanks so much for that interview and the profile. Outstanding.
In reading about him, that was a great story. He has a good voice to boot.
An older article on Tim Brown....

Player Profile: Tim Brown

October 19, 2002

By Hannah Gordon

At 10 years old, Tim Brown knew what he wanted to be when he grew up. It was not a professional football player. Not a nine-time Pro Bowl receiver. Not a future Hall of Famer. He wanted to be a father.
"I want to have as many kids as I can afford," the young Brown told his parents. Little did Brown know then just how many that would be. "When I got into the league my mom said, 'Oh lawd! Oh lawd!'," Brown said.

Luckily for Brown's mother (and his wife Sherice), he has abandoned that plan and today has two children and Sherice is expecting twins.

Even without being a father to as many as he could afford, Tim has made possible father-son relationships for hundreds of children at his annual Tim Brown Mentor Mini-Camp. The camp is sponsored by Athletes and Entertainers For Kids, the charity group that Brown chairs. The event matches at-risk boys whose fathers are absent from their lives with mentors from community organizations.

"We show these kids who don't have fathers in their lives that there are some positive men out there," Brown said. "Unfortunately we can't be in their lives every day like their fathers should be, but we let them know you have some people you can call on when you want to go to the ballpark or do something. Hopefully they can be a positive role model in their lives." One might expect Brown must have been inspired to start the camp because he shared the single-parent experience with the kids. But in fact, Brown's commitment comes from his appreciation of the blessings bestowed on him growing up in a two-parent home with five siblings in Dallas, TX.

"It was always a blast. You never had to rely on being outside to have your fun. You could always go inside and have fun, even though I got beat up a lot. My sisters beat me up," he said.

In addition to running two companies together, the family is still so close that they all eat together two or three times a week in the off-season when Brown is home. "People don't understand how we can work together and get along so well every day," he said. Brown realized how unusual his upbringing was when he got to the league and found few players had relationships with both of their parents. "My father is a real man. When I go home today he treats me like I am his son, not like I am 'Tim Brown the Raider football player'."

The biggest step in Brown's own path to becoming a "real man" came in June 1996 after the team moved back to Oakland. Although he had been raised in church, life as a football star in L.A. was a challenge to those values. Brown decided to take the change as an opportunity to transform his own life. "I decided to live my life in a Christian manner. It was time to stop playing around and grow up," he recalled. Brown's maturity, along with his age, has some calling him a father figure in more ways than one. But the 36 year-old Brown just laughs at discussions of age and points to more important numbers than his chronological age. Last season, Brown started all 16 games and ranked first on the team with 91 receptions, the second-most in his career (he had 104 in 1997).

He had his ninth consecutive 1,000-yard season with 1,165 yards, second best in NFL history to his teammate Jerry Rice. He also had an 88-yard punt return for a touchdown doing what many consider a job for young players trying to prove themselves. "People will look at you with cocked eyes because they don't believe you can keep it going even though there is really no reason for our talent to diminish if we stay in shape and do the things we are supposed to do in the off-season," Brown said of himself and his other 30-plus teammates. Brown appreciates working for a team that values the "been there, done that" mentality a veteran brings, a mentality that keeps a team calm through the inevitable ups and downs of a football game. Brown may, in fact, be a better football player today than ten years ago.

"There were times when I would just rely on my physical ability in certain situations. And now with watching film and studying plays I know what guys can and can't do. You can mentally beat guys when you play to their weaknesses and not to their strengths,' said Brown who has beat defenders mentally and physically in the 100 touchdowns of his career. Reaching the 100-touchdown mark in 2001 made Brown the Raiders all-time leading scorer in touchdowns and tied him with Hall of Famer Franco Harris for 12th place in NFL history. Just Tim Brown's reputation can create a mental edge against young corners in some instances.

A few years ago, when the Raiders played the Cleveland Browns, a coach got his young corner hyped up by telling him that Brown had called him soft. "The guy came into the game with the mindset of -- not that he was going to stop me but that he was going to kill me. I ended up getting the better of him over the course of the game. Afterwards, I told him, 'Look, man, don't let people get you so riled up that you come out here and can't play your game.'" Brown recalled. The Raiders all-time leading receiver did not always have such a mystique about him, one which inspires every young corner to try to get the best of the best. Although Brown was the 1987 Heisman trophy winner, people did not seem to think he would be around the NFL for long.

"Athletes from Notre Dame, especially African-American athletes from Notre Dame, had a reputation of taking their education and getting a little money from the league to help them out and then going on about their business. I think it took a while for them to believe I really wanted to stick around and see this thing to the end."

"People thought, 'There is no way this guy can say all the right things and do all the right things, and never give us a moment's problem,'" Brown said. It only took ten years or so to sink in. Even today, people think there is no way he can be 36 and posting 1,000-yard seasons. Brown always seems to good to be true. Yet he is as earnest as he was at ten years old when he decided he wanted to be a father. That role has been his biggest accomplishment in life, but he is not on the field yet. "My biggest football accomplishment is yet to come, I hope -- the championship."

One job down, one to go.
Here are Rich Gannon's thoughts prior to the 2004...


Things are going well so far in training camp. We're all getting settled in and learning this new system. And I feel great, physically. I think I'm off to a good start and my arm feels good and I'm just having fun again. I need to move around a lot more. That's why I came into training camp at 203 pounds -- about 10 pounds lighter, and I feel great. I'm running more and moving around, and I feel quicker. I think that's really going to pay huge dividends for me during the course of the season.

I'm really looking forward to competing and trying to help this team win some more games. I feel like my contributions to this organization are out there for everybody to see. I've been to four straight Pro Bowls and was the league MVP before I got hurt a year ago. And now all of a sudden everybody thinks I can't play anymore. To me, I have no idea where it comes from, but that's just the nature of this business. It never fazed me one bit. I knew I was going to be back and be even better. I was going to be stronger and more dedicated and more committed to not only trying to play at the high level that people are accustomed to me playing at, but also doing everything I could to help turn this thing around for this organization.
Lance Johnstone...



When I finish playing football, I would like to:

When I finish playing football, I would like to do something in marketing.

My hobbies and leisure activities include:

My hobbies and leisure activities include playing video games and cards.

The best advice I have ever received (and from whom) is:

The best advice I have ever been given was: Finish what you start

My motto is:

Never quit

My favorite quotation is:

Good enough is not enough, it's ever the enemy of the best.

What is your favorite food?

steak and seafood

My autobiography would be titled:

Coming From Behind

My craziest ambition is:

My craziest ambition is to own my own football team.
Lance's thoughts on coming back to Oakland in 2003...


Going back to Oakland will definitely be special for me. I'm going back to a place where I played for five years. It is a little bit different but I still have a lot of friends and family in that area so it will be kind of special to play in front of them. I have a lot of friends on the team too. It is a hard place to play at. The "Black Hole" is what they call it. The important thing is to try and get the crowd out of it early because it is a pretty hard stadium to win in if they have the crowd behind them. We are going to try and not give them too much to cheer about. When you look at film of the Raiders, you see they are playing some pretty good ball. A couple of games if you don’t see the score you can’t really tell who won the game.
Here is a profile for Asomugha...

Nnamdi Asomugha

Position: Cornerback/Free Safety
College: Cal
Height: 6-2
Weight: 213
Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.


Positives: Has an athletic frame with adequate muscle definition … Breaks on the ball quickly and flashes good closing quickness … Shows good long speed and acceleration on deep routes, and consistently mirrors the receiver's moves … Able to sort out, read and react to threats when operating in zone coverage … Makes plays on the ball with force and uses his power well to fill the alleys and seal the perimeter in run support … Can reach and pluck the ball away from the body's framework … Stays low in his pads and keeps his leg base wide when tackling in closed quarters … Plays on all the special team units … Has sharp change-of-direction skills to keep track of the ball in flight.

Negatives: Has a high backpedal, rarely holding it for long … Played a lot of bracket coverage in the past, struggling to maintain focus on the ball as the receivers kept him turned around … Gets too upright and narrow in his stance working in space, lacking that sudden burst in his transition … Misses too many tackles working in the open, as he lacks proper footwork and technique to be consistent in man coverage … While he has good speed, he's a bit of a long strider who needs to gather himself before redirecting … Does not always go up and compete for the ball at its highest point (questionable leaping ability) … Has had maturity problems in the past, missing meetings that resulted in a suspension in 2001 … Seems to lose focus and intensity when not involved in the play.


An excellent athlete who provided good size and speed in the Golden Bear secondary … Added 10 pounds of muscle during offseason workouts … He has a nose for the football and the Cal coaches noted his intelligence by allowing him to make alignment calls for the secondary … Finished his career with 187 tackles (133 solos), 3 sacks, 19 stops behind the line of scrimmage, 7 interceptions for 96 yards in returns, 15 pass deflections, 2 fumble recoveries and a forced fumble in 41 games.


All-Pac-10 Conference second-team selection by The NFL Draft Report … Started at the "rover" position, finishing fourth on the team with 53 tackles (42 solos), including 5 stops for losses of 21 yards … Gained 85 yards on 3 interception returns and led the team with 10 pass deflections … Caused a fumble and recovered 2 others.

Baylor - Began the year with 5 hits and a pass deflection, adding a pair of stops for losses of 6 yards.
New Mexico State - Caused a fumble and posted 8 solo tackles.
Michigan State - Tackled receiver Charles Rogers for a 7-yard loss on a reverse.
Air Force - Added 4 tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage.
Washington State - Totaled 6 tackles (4 solos) and a stop for a 6-yard loss.
Washington - Had an interception, a fumble recovery and 4 tackles (3 solos).
Southern California - Recovered a fumble and posted 4 tackles.
Arizona State - Batted away a pass and returned an interception 85 yards for a touchdown.
Arizona - Followed with 4 tackles (3 solos) and a pass theft.
Stanford - Closed out his career with 5 hits (4 solos) and 3 pass deflections.


Played in 10 games, starting 9 contests (benched against Washington and Oregon) at free safety … Recorded 54 tackles (40 solos) with 3 interceptions for 11 yards in returns and a pass deflection … Had 7 stops for losses of 15 yards.


Started at free safety, leading the team with 76 tackles (48 solos), including 3 sacks for minus-16 yards and 7 stops for losses of 31 yards … Returned an interception 31 yards and deflected 5 passes … Caused and recovered a fumble.


Reserve safety, playing in eight games … Recorded 4 tackles (3 solos) … Missed the final 3 contests after suffering a broken right ankle (fibula) in the Southern California clash.


Sat out the final three games of the 1999 season after breaking his right ankle (fibula) against Southern California … Underwent surgery and did not return to action until 2000 fall drills, sitting out 2000 spring practice.


Timed at 4.48 in the 40-yard dash … 295-pound bench press … 242-pound power clean … 34½-inch vertical jump … 33¼-inch arm length … 9-inch hands … Right-handed.


32¼ 9 5/8 24 4.5 2.66 1.6 16 37½ 10'4"


Attended Narbonne (Los Angeles, Calif.) High … One of the nation's most highly recruited defensive backs in 1999 … First team all-state selection by Student Sports magazine and one of the top 20 defensive backs in the country by SuperPrep as a member of its All-America team … Finished his senior year with 86 tackles and 7 interceptions, returning one 98 yards for a school record … Caused 8 fumbles and recovered 6 others as a senior … Also returned 2 kickoffs and 1 punt for touchdowns … Had 23 receptions for 408 yards and 6 touchdowns on offense … Played some quarterback, completing 14 of 22 passes for 192 yards and a pair of scores … Rated as the No. 16 overall prospect in the Far West by SuperPrep … PrepStar All-American … Member of the Tacoma News-Tribune Western top 100 … Received 6 votes on the Long Beach Press-Telegram Bear of the West poll … Listed by National Recruiting Adviser as the third-best free safety prospect in the nation … Played in the California-Texas Shrine All-Star Game … Also a standout basketball player who earned all-league honors as a junior and senior.


Business Management major … Son of Lillian Asomugha … His Nigerian name means "Jesus Lives" … Older brother, Chijioke was a cornerback at Stanford … His cousin is California teammate Joseph Echema … Also a cousin of former Cal receiver Iheanyi Uwaezuoke … Born July 6, 1981, in Lafayette, La. … Resides in Los Angeles, Calif.
Here is an older story on Aso....

Nnamdi Asomugha Feature

Cal Cornerback Provides Defensive Versatility

Nov. 12, 2002

Before this season, it was a bumpy three years of football for senior cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.

As a freshman, Asomugha took the field in true form, no redshirt to be taken for the young safety. There wasn't much playing time, but the starts eventually came-as did the endurance to withstand three consecutive losing seasons.

Feelings of frustration for the sport he had always loved would have been understandable. But Asomugha never lost the positive outlook that characterizes the type of person he is both on and off the playing field.

"I'm just the type of person who has expected to do well, every year for some reason," Asomugha said. "In my sophomore year, in my junior year-I've always said that this was going to be our year. But this year before the season, I wasn't the only one saying it. This year, that sentiment surfaced a lot around the team and was an early sign that things were going to be good."

Asomugha's positive attitude has rubbed off on his teammates. Named a team captain at the start of this season, he accepted the leadership role and performs it to the best of his ability.

"Coach (Jeff) Tedford sat down and talked with me before the season and made me realize that a lot of people were looking up to me this year, and that those people wanted me to lead the team because that's what we needed," Asomugha said. "Just from sitting down and talking with him and the coaches, they have been very influential. I feel they have helped me become a better person."

While he might not be the most vocal of the players, Asomugha's leadership on the field transcends his quiet presence.

"I believe in leading by example. One can lead vocally, but that's just not me. I chose to let my actions speak. If you are doing the right things, there will always be someone to follow you," Asomugha said.

Asomugha has done the right things this season. With 44 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries, he has shown his desire to shine in every aspect of the game. He has showcased his versatility this season by excelling in whichever position the coaching staff has placed him. Starting at free safety to begin the year, he moved to a rover position, before settling in at cornerback.

"Nnamdi is a gifted athlete in that he has great speed, great leaping ability and always gets a good jump on the ball," defensive secondary coach J.D. Williams said. "Being the fastest athlete on the team, we've got to put him in a position to cover the most dangerous players on the other team. We think he is best utilized at the cornerback position."

The leadership Asomugha displays on the field has followed him into the classroom. Last semester, Asomugha had a 4.0 GPA and is on target to graduate with an interdisciplinary field studies degree in corporate management and finance. After internships with the financial advisement company, PayneWebber in San Francisco, Asomugha has a plan for the future.

"If there was no football for me after college, I want to go to business graduate school and continue to study finance," Asomugha said. "I like the financial consulting and advising business and I think I've learned many things that will help me down the road."

However, if the future does hold football...

"Hopefully I have an opportunity to play at the next level. I think that is a dream the majority of college football players have, though not many see it come true," Asomugha said. "It has always been a goal of mine and I think my knowledge of the game and experience playing different positions should help me. Plus, I have the best defensive coaches who have taught me so much."

Aosmugha isn't really thinking about that aspect of the future just yet though. He still feels there is much to accomplish during the rest of this season.

"Ensuring a winning season was one of my top goals for this year. As a team we just wanted to ensure a winning season so that we could get to a bowl game," Asomugha said. "The one thing I've asked of this team is that we play hard and have fun. We've stepped up together as a team and we've played hard. And regardless of any goals, having fun is the No. 1 thing and we've done that this season."

Cal is one win away from clinching a winning year and two wins away from finishing the 2002 season with an 8-4 record.

The Golden Bears are also two games away from saying goodbye to one of the finest players the defensive backfield has ever featured.

While his collegiate career is coming to a close, Asomugha believes that he made the right choice in coming to Cal.

"I feel that I am a member of what is the best freshman class to ever come through Cal," Asomugha said. "I'm sure that the numbers say there were better ones, but I personally think that I came in with the best freshman class and that I am leaving with the best senior class. And I wouldn't change a thing."

Asomugha's positive outlook carried him through the lean years and he now feels fully able to enjoy a winning season.

"Sometimes people have to go through struggles to understand the happier side of a situation. Sometimes there must be pain before glory. The past three years have helped me out both on the field and off the field, as far as the decisions I've made and how to overcome trials and tribulations," Asomugha said. "To have this season come after all of that, shows that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. It's not what people would dream for, but it is what people need in order to survive outside of college."

No matter which position Asomugha ends up playing in life after graduating from Cal, success will likely follow him wherever he goes.
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