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The Rookie & The Vet

I don’t care who you are, receiving accolades for your work is always a welcoming occurrence.

Even for coach Saban, don’t let that indifferent smirk fool you. After he gets back to Tuscaloosa, coach will pour himself a nice big tall glass of warm milk, put all 6 of his rings on, look in the mirror and say, I’m that dude.

Not all honors are created equal though. Take the Pro Bowl for example, no offense to Vikings fans, but Kirk Cousins is a 3-time Pro Bowler. This is the same guy who’s .500 for his career as a starting play-caller at 59-59.

In fact, he’s worse then .500 as he’s compiled 2 ties as a starter as well. I don’t mean to pile on with captain Kirk, (I may have done that before, here), but the only thing worse than his mediocre career is his inability to operate a grill.

Forget about the miserable quality of the Pro Bowl game itself, if guys can get selected, and this is how they manage a Kingsford, being a Pro Bowler can’t possibly hold that much significance.

Not as much significance as being a seasoned vet early in your career. I’m talking about a guy who’s the cream of the crop in his first year.

Calvin Hill: Rookie of the Year 1969/1st-Team All-Pro 1969

Climbing out of the Ivy League with Yale, straight into the Cowboys’ backfield, Hill received his most plaudits during his first season.

Back when halfbacks were a team’s center piece, and also back when microscopic knee surgery wasn’t exactly an exact science, he was diagnosed with a sprained knee in ‘71, when in reality he’d torn his ACL.

Only missing 6 games, Hill played a small role in Super Bowl VI, helping Dallas win their first championship.

Fresh off the injury, in ‘72 he became Dallas’ 1st 1,000 yard rusher.

The same year his son was born…you might’ve heard of him before.

Ottis Anderson: Rookie of the Year 1979/1st-Team All-Pro 1979

Hailing from The U, and winding up at Busch Stadium to play for the Cardinals…that’s right, when the Cardinals doubled up in St. Louis. (more on multi-purpose stadiums, here).

The football team was not very good. However, they did have one bright spot. The tailback that tallied 3 consecutive seasons of more than 1,000 yards on the ground.

Anderson’s regular season awards came in St. Louis, but his postseason mark was made in New York.

A two-time title winner with the Giants, he won MVP in Super Bowl XXV vs. my beloved Bills…all I know is pain.

Edgerrin James: Rookie of the Year 1999/1st-Team All-Pro 1999

Another star out of Miami, James came into the league as a prototypical do-it-all running back. A perfect compliment to Peyton Manning, Edge lead the league in rushing in his first two seasons in Indianapolis.

He played 7 seasons for the Colts, and then, what must be a player’s worst nightmare happened. They won a Super Bowl in 2006, when he was on the now Arizona, not St. Louis Cardinals.

Edge got a chance to play in the big game, but came up short against the Steelers.

Other backs like Marcus Allen, Jerome Betis, Eric Dickerson, and Barry Sanders have won Rookie of the Year, and been 1st-Team All-Pro, but they amassed multiple All-Pro honors.

Hill, Anderson, and James have 10 Pro Bowl appearances between the three of them, but were only 1st-Team All-Pro once.

They also collected 3 Rings, a Super Bowl MVP, and a gold jacket to go along with a famous gold grill.

They say you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, but I did. From my book to my weekly posts, The Encyclopedia carries on like Calvin, Ottis, and Edgerrin.

When you set the bar high from the beginning, the first act is tough to follow, but the second scene is always more memorable.

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