Saturday, April 19, 2014
(Continued from page 1)
WORDS FROM A PRO: Former New England Patriots’ quarterback Steve Grogan talks to campers during the Central Maine Football Camp on Saturday at Bill Donahue Field in the Richard McGee Athletic Complex in Fairfield.
Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans
The Patriots of Grogan and King had their own problems. Days after New England lost Super Bowl XX to the Chicago Bears, head coach Raymond Berry lamented illegal drug use by his team. Prior to the AFC championship game that season, wide receiver Irving Fryar had two finger cut by his wife in domestic incident.
Head coach Chuck Fairbanks was dismissed before the final regular season game in 1978, after he accepted the head coaching job at the University of Colorado. Fairbanks was reinstated for the Patriots playoff game against the Houston Oilers, but the damage was done, and the team exited the postseason quickly.
Obviously, those situations pale when compared to the Hernandez case, but Grogan is sure coach Bill Belichick will not let anything distract the team from football when camp opens next weekend. Controversy and the NFL are old friends, practically business partners.
“The media coverage is so much different now. Every little thing that anybody does winds up in the press. I think Bill Belichick’s going to make sure those guys have no comment on any of that stuff, and they’ll move on and play with the guys they have and still be very competitive,” Grogan said.
Each year, the Patriots alumni coach at camps and clinics throughout New England. The young football players might not know who this is teaching them how to throw a spiral or shed a block, but each knows he’s well-coached.
“You just try to stress to them techniques. Some of them, how to put the pads on right. Some of them are more advanced than others. You’ve just got to kind of see what a kid knows and what he’s already able to do, and try to make him a little better from there,” Grogan said.
Hopefully, the father’s and grandfathers of the campers explain who King and Grogan are, share stories of watching them play. Share stories of big games. Remind the next generation of fans that the Patriots did have some good teams before Belichick and Tom Brady arrived.
“I had a long career, a lot longer than I ever planned on having. We had some success. Not the kind of success Tom Brady’s having with them right now,” Grogan said. “But we had success, and it was a great opportunity for me. I’m just happy to have had the chance.”
Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242