Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Sprint Football Coach Sean Morey

Okay, indulge TigerBlog for two more minutes as he talks weather and the Super Bowl.

TigerBlog can attest to the fact that for the last four weeks, it has either snowed around here or been below 20 degrees basically the entire time, except for one 48-hour stretch this past weekend when it was in the 50s during the day and basically pleasant at night.

And that just so happened to overlap with the first ever outdoor cold weather Super Bowl.

The four weeks before it featured some of the coldest weather this area has ever seen. The 24 hours after it featured about eight inches of snow. The game itself? Not a problem at all.

In fact, there have been many more World Series games played on colder nights than the Super Bowl was. It's likely that there will be another outdoor cold weather game in the future, largely because of how much the weather cooperated for this one.

It's really insane to think about how bad the weather has been this winter, and this could be the worst week of all. The eight inches that fell Monday were to be followed up by today's mess of snow and then ice. And all that is to be followed up Sunday by another storm, which TB hears may bring more than two feet of snow somewhere around here, though possibly a little north or south.

The winter two years ago featured no measurable snowfall. In fact it was pretty warm out the entire time, and as TB recalls, he only wore his really, really heavy Princeton Athletics winter coat once.

This year he's needed that coat basically every day. And he's had to shovel and shovel and shovel again.

It's actually a great way to spend time with your neighbors. Ordinarily, it's just a wave or something. When you're out shoveling at the same time, it does promote neighborly socialization.

Of course, TB would prefer the waving and not having to shovel.

And still he can't get over the whole Super Bowl weather deal, with its small window of nice weather in the middle of a wild five weeks of winter. Is this a fluke, or does the NFL actually control the weather?

There is one person who works in the Department of Athletics who has a Super Bowl ring, and that is Sean Morey. In fact, Morey played in two Super Bowls, winning one with the Steelers and losing one with the Cardinals. He also went to a Pro Bowl as a special teams player.

Going way back, Morey was one of the great wide receivers in Ivy League history, back when he wan an undergrad at Brown. He also has the distinction of scoring the first touchdown in Princeton Stadium history.

He was the 1997 Ivy League Player of the Year, and his career totals at Brown were 251 receptions for an Ivy-record 3,850 yards and 40 touchdowns.

Morey then carved out a nice pro career for a decade, not as a wide receiver but as a fearless special teams weapon. He caught 11 passes as a pro, and he made his living busting wedges, making big hits on kick coverages, blocking those who tried to make big hits on his own guys.

He also blocked a punt in overtime for a touchdown, something unique in NFL history. That came for the Cardinals, against the Cowboys.

Morey was in the news twice this week.

The first was for a story that ran on about Morey's struggles with the after-effects of his time in the NFL.

TB didn't have to read the story to know that Morey has his struggles. Morey has told TB about them many times, about how he had more than 20 concussions, how there are days when he can't function due to the migraines.

Here's the key quote from Morey:
Sean says there's no question these symptoms are related to brain trauma sustained playing football. "You cannot have that kind of pain and have it not be related to brain damage," he says. "The dysfunction, the pain, the misery, the confusion, the desperation, the depression. ... There were instances in my life that would never have existed had I not damaged my brain."

It's heart-wrenching stuff, and it's something that's not common to Morey about his peers. Morey is involved with the players' association, working with former players, looking into the effects and possible treatment of all the years of getting pounded.

Morey was also on the main athletics website yesterday, accepting the position as head coach of the sprint football team.

The Princeton sprint football team hasn't won a CSFL game in more than a decade, with a losing streak that has passed 80 games. TB has seen coaches with different backgrounds and different philosophies come to coach the team, and that elusive win has not been there to be had.

Now it's Sean Morey's turn. Can he win a game with the program?

If he doesn't, it won't be for a lack of optimism.

As he deals with all of what he's dealing with, Sean Morey hasn't lost one bit of his positive attitude. He's one of those people who is always upbeat, always willing to help, always wanting to be of assistance, no task too small.

Before taking the sprint position, Morey has worked at Princeton for two years in general athletic administration. During that time, he's been dealing with the effects of his football career, and yet he always, always seems to be in a good mood.

Now he'll be coaching the sprint team. TB has been to a bunch of sprint games through the years, hoping to see a win, wanting to see the reaction. They're come close a few times and not close at all many many more times.

It'll be interesting to see what Morey can do with them.

As is the case every Tuesday, TB went to the event meeting yesterday. As he sat there, waiting for it to start, someone came up behind him and tapped him on the arm.

When he turned around, he saw Sean Morey, with his omnipresent smile and another friendly, heartfelt greeting.

Yes, he is battling things that TB can't even imagine.

While he does it, though, he remains a marvel of positivity.

If attitude means anything, he'll be fine in the long run.

TB hopes it does.

After all, Sean Morey is one of the good guys. It's always good to have guys like that around.

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