06/10/11 – T.E.A.M. Elam (2)
T.E.A.M. Elam Event: YEAR TWO Follow @team_elam
I’d first to like start this article by thanking Abe Elam, Jason Warner, Paul Meunier, and Wayne Govan for allowing me to come cover the T.E.A.M. Elam event and as Abe calls it, “being back on beat” for Year Two.
Abe Elam, Browns starting Free Safety, started his foundation in order to give back to his hometown. I know I should have gotten this up earlier, so I’m very sorry about that, but I hope you enjoy the read, as I’ll add the mix of humor, reality, and hope you will end up feeling like you’re there as with all my event articles. It’s Thursday, June 9th, and I’m ready to go to Palm Beach. I’m fifteen minutes ahead of my parents, so I’m just sitting around and waiting. I’m sending some tweets, nothing noteworthy though.
I don’t know who to expect at the event at Nick and Johnnies this year. I know I can expect former player, Robert “Beetle” Bailey, and Abe of course. I don’t know any of the other players that will be there. Last year, I had a great time hanging out with C.J. Mosley and Atari Bigby, but I’m more than willing to meet more players that are here to support Abe and his foundation, T.E.A.M. Elam. [http://teamelam.org/]
As this is the Sponsors’ Event, an invitation only event, I always feel I have to talk to the right people and introduce myself at the opportune times. I got to make sure when I’m there I don’t make a fool of myself, and I talk to the right people. When we get there, we’re on time, but everything usually starts about twenty to thirty minutes after the scheduled time. I’m too excited, but I first introduce myself to a couple people. I introduce myself to Paul Meunier, who I talked with on the phone what I think, a couple too many times about the event, and trying to make sure I had a list of who would be at the event. Meunier coaches one of the best high schools in the country, ranked number seventeen, Dwyer high school in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. I also introduce myself and parents to other guests, such as Abe’s former high school coach, Coach [Sam] Budnick, and his wife. He was there last year too.
As time keeps moving on, I talk with my parents about a list of questions that I got fans to submit, but I didn’t know if I’d get time for these players to answer them. So, I see a massive man walk in, with Robert Bailey. Bailey [@NFLRecord] played in the NFL for ten years after going to the University of Miami. He is currently the Marketing President for @RosenhausSports. He was at Abe’s event last year, and he is a great guy. I always enjoy talking with him. He introduces me to the guy who will end up being the biggest guy there of the whole night, Orlando Franklin [@OFranklin74]. (I look him up later in the night. He is listed online as being 6’7″, and 315 pounds. Wow!) He’s one of the biggest guys I have met. We talked about why he came to support Abe and about the opportunity that will present himself with the Broncos. He seems very humble to be in the situation that he is in, and he is also eager to go to Denver.
I walk around a little. The room is set up with a bunch of tables. Some high ones, some low ones, some couches, a TV (We’ll all be watching the NBA Finals later!!) and the end of a bar, and an entry for waiters and waitresses to drop off platters of delicious food, like mini sliders, and some great mac n’ cheese. They had other stuff too, but that’s all I ate, really. They also had drinks at the bar, and by the end of the night, I think I might have had… one too many sodas. Oh well, definitely worth it!
Other players start showing up like Raiders’ Jacoby Ford [@JacobyFord12], Browns’ DeAngelo Smith [@DLO614], and former Cowboys’ Anthony Henry. I introduce myself to them, and talk to them briefly about my site. They’re all great guys. They’re extremely down-to-earth. It’s really nice to see. We’re all still waiting on Abe to show up, but he’ll be here, soon…
Abe Elam [@AbeElam] finally shows up. I’m so ready to get this started. Rumor has it that, Abe’s teammate, Joe Haden will be arriving soon as well. It ends up that his flight lands later that night, and he’ll be there for the bowling event. Abe is great, and he welcomes us all to the event and shakes hands with each sponsor and goes over to them individually to talk to them.
I decide to go over and look at the items that were donated for the silent auction. I’m always impressed to see that Abe’s teammates will send him stuff to raise money and have a successful event. This event is already as much fun as it was last year. Last year, there were only three current players during the sponsors’ event, this year there were eight. It’s amazing to see that what Abe is doing for the community of West Palm and Riviera has really shown other players across the league how to contribute actively in the community.
My parents are talking to Jarrett Brown [@JarrettBrownQB] and I go over and introduce myself to him. He’s a great guy, and he seems to be extremely humble to be able to be a quarterback with the Browns. You also can see his charisma and how he led West Virginia last year. He’s a leader and I’m excited to talk with him tomorrow at the bowling event.
I also introduce myself to Robert Royal [@RobertRoyalFndn]. Royal is a player I did not know much about, but he’s here to support the foundation, and he considers himself an old school type player. He’s a great guy to talk with, and I enjoyed joking around with him. He’s a big guy, and definitely really nice.
Later in the night, Abe talks to all of us and thanks us for supporting T.E.A.M. Elam. He explains the success of the foundation and why he started it. He also talks about how he got the ball rolling and thanked all the athletes for coming out tonight, and also explained to them about what the events were planned for the weekend. He also goes into detail about some of the major sponsors of the events this weekend. Abe is truly classy in how he delivers a speech, and then he ends it all hosting a live auction. Who knew that he was such a natural salesman?
The Live Auction was phenomenal. Abe was auctioning off two items: A signed, authentic game worn Browns jersey, and a signed, authentic game worn helmet. It was great to see him up there trying to get his friends and sponsors to make a bid for the signed jersey. One of Abe’s good friends, told him to wear the helmet and he’ll donate money. Abe put it right on. It drew laughs from all of us, but I thought it was a great way to get the sale and raise the money. Imagine a 6’2″ free safety in a suit, with a Browns helmet on…Just Classic. And… Yes I missed the Kodak moment. Sorry.
At the end of the night, I see Brandon Flowers [@BFlowers24]. I was shocked to see Brandon so late, but I asked him his plans, and he’s on a foundation hunt. He’s going from Abe’s to his teammate, Jamaal Charles the next day, and he’s also running his events soon. Brandon Flowers is a great guy, and to see him sitting and chatting with Jacoby Ford, I could only hope to wonder AFC West fans have to share their thoughts on that. I couldn’t help but take an awesome photo with both of them to end the night.
Day two rolls around. I unfortunately know that I can’t make it to Day Three, (Day in the Park event). I try to hold my head up though I know this is the last event for a few weeks that I’ll be attending. [@Team_Elam]
First off, last year’s bowling event, there were only eight players. This year… Abe had twenty plus players show up. I’m so happy for the success of Abe’s event, and it got hectic, which means more money was raised. I loved watching the players show up as well as the fans. Often times, fans came up to me and asked, ‘Who is that? What do you do? How can you just go up to these guys?’ I simply answered them by explaining my website and handing them a business card. It’s interesting to meet all these players. They’re all great guys to come out and support T.E.A.M. Elam. I’d love to share with you what it was like to meet all these guys…
I’d like to say meeting all these guys was a lot of fun. I liked how I got to meet up with Carlos Dunlap [@WhoDeyLoSo] from the beginning. (In case you didn’t know, when I took my college visits, I actually met him outside the Florida Gators facilities.) He remembered me, for one reason, I brought up a player that isn’t brought up much. Vincent (Vinny) Rey, if you want to know his story, http://prointerviews.org/VincentRey. But, back on point, Carlos was very cool to talk to. I was actually extremely surprised to see him down here. I never heard that he was invited or supposed to show up. He’s a Rosenhaus client, but to meet up with him again, it was just great. He’s a pretty cool, down to earth guy. I see Orlando [@OFranklin74] really quick, but I get him to sign photos to give away to the fans, so stay tuned Miami Hurricanes and Denver Broncos fans!
It was also nice to meet up with David Clowney [@DavidClowney]. I met Clowney in middle school before he went pro and got a shot with the Packers. I then, met him at Abe’s event last year. I also thought I was going to meet him when I covered Jets Camp, but he was absent that day. I joked with him about that when I went up to him. He’s still a nice, energetic, funny guy. Nothing’s really changed, except… Where did the dreadlocks go? He’s bald. Oh my. He’s with Carolina Panthers now, and he’s definitely having fun in his NFL journey.
I meet up with Anthony and DeAngelo Smith [@DLO614] again. They’re both similar to how they were yesterday. They’re both cool guys, they ask me if I’m bowling. I tell them I really don’t know if I have a chance at competing with some of you guys. They laugh. They enjoy the humor I bring or try to bring. (LOL?) I see another face I don’t recognize, but I walk over to him and introduce myself. His name is Randy Phillips. We trade information, and I found out that he plays for the Detroit Lions. I talk to him about some of his teammates, and how much he loves it in Detroit. He loves it in the D.
I glimpse over and notice a familiar face from JetsCamp and from last year’s event. Drew Coleman. Last time, we shook hands, we chest bumped too. When that happened, he was wearing pads, I wasn’t. It was nice that I could try to talk to him again. Hopefully I’ll meet him again someday. He’s a great guy. He stepped up his game last year, and had five forced fumbles, not bad for a nickle/dime back I told him. He smiled. He’s really humble, and definitely ready to bowl. I talk to him as he gets his shoes on, and he asks me if he gets to see me bowl this year. I tell him honestly, “I don’t think I’ll have time to bowl tonight.” He thought he was going to get me to bowl against him. I remember last year… Actually, I don’t know how he did last year, but I was destroyed last year. I can’t let myself fall to the same fate again this year.
I see Eric Moore. He was at the event last night. I actually didn’t meet him. I confronted him about ‘sneaking out’ before I got a chance to meet him. He told me that not many people were coming up to him, so he decided it wouldn’t hurt if he left. It’s all good. He’s a very nice guy. He’s excited to be with the Patriots for another season. He’s a big guy too. I’m actually surprised he’s a linebacker, looks a lot more like Defensive End. Well, there are so many guys here, so I decide to move on and keep the pace going. It was nice seeing him without a doubt.
One of the next people I met was Corey McIntyre [@CoreyMcIntyre38]. Corey is the fullback for the Buffalo Bills. I know the name, but I had no idea it was him, when I introduced myself. We hold the peace sign for the photo, and he gives me a shootout on twitter. It’s awesome and really nice of him to do that. With that said, I have to stay on the move.
I go up to where the tables are… I see this guy. He looks familiar. Not too familiar, but for a guy who’s 5’8″ or 5’9″, he looks too strong to not be anything… I confront him. “Hi, I’m Max. What’s your name?” He tells me that he is Tyrone Carter. I try to do some thinking. Tyrone… Nothing hits my memory. Then, he goes I used to play for the Steelers, but I played with the Chargers last season. Nothing still. Then, he tells me used to have dreadlocks. Oh… That said, I was like, I know who you are. This guy was a beast. He hit people with such a force for a small guy, and it was great meeting him. He’s a nice guy, very relaxed too. Without dreadlocks, it was pretty tough, but we talked about his transition to San Diego and what’s it like to play on the number one defense this past season. He’s really interesting, and he could easily blend in, now that he doesn’t have dreadlocks anymore. He might grow them back.
I look around for Matt Elam. I met Matt (Abe’s younger brother) at T.E.A.M. Elam last year. I also met him when I decided to cancel my tour, last minute, at UF in order to meet up with some Gators players. It was definitely worth meeting him in Gainesville, and also seeing him tonight. It’s great that Abe can get his brother to tag along to see all the work and what he’s doing. Matt is very proud of Abe’s off the field work, and it’s very nice to see the recognition in the family and all.
I walk around the table, and I see these two guys just standing there. They’re both white. They’re both strong looking, but I don’t know if they play in the NFL. They look like college students, but then again, sometimes NFL players do look like college students, as they’re just coming out. I confront them. I find out, two Cincinnati Bearcats, Derek Wolfe and DJ Woods. I had no idea that they would be showing up. It was pretty cool. I look them up later, and find out they’re actually pretty beastly in the Big East. I had no idea. It was great to talk to them though. To see them there too, that was amazing. When they get drafted, well, let’s just say they have my card, and I’m ready to interview either of them.
I walk down to the bowling area. I see a familiar face. Jerome Harrison of the Eagles. I had no idea he would be here. Seriously, kind of shocked. He was a Brown, but to come down here and bowl, that’s so awesome to see. I see him with his daughter. Wow. He brought his daughter to this environment. She’s awesome. We talk though briefly about possibly doing an interview. He says that he’ll reach out to me, if he’s ready. We talk some more about what his family life is like, and how he’s able to be with his daughter more because of what’s going on. It’s pretty refreshing.
I walk up out of the bowling area, and see this guy. I’m corrected, this TALL guy. meet Marreese Speights [@mospeights16] briefly. I talk to him briefly, nothing too important. I’m just happy to see Abe got some NBA players to show up for the event. Very cool that Marreese would show up to support. We take a photo, but he moves on. It was his turn to bowl, so he left. I don’t want to block him from competition, he’s 6’11″, you think I’m getting in his way? No way!
I then see Drew Rosenhaus and Jason Rosenhaus [@RosenhausSports]. They’re awesome guys. They’re always talking with their players. It’s great. Drew sees me, and thanks for me coming out to the event this year. With that, I ask him if he’ll take another photo, and that’s exactly what we do. I tell him to keep up the good work with his guys. Shake his hand, and I love the moment I had with a guy who has dominated the industry with his hustle and passion for football. I see Jason Rosenhaus. We talk briefly. He thanks me again for showing up. I tell him that I’m happy to be here. We talk briefly, and I tell him that I’m going to a program at his alma mater, the University of Miami. Well, it’s great to talk with them again. I really enjoyed doing that.
I walk around and hear on the grapevine from some fans that Emanuel Cook [@EmanuelCook27] is here bowling. I walk over to him, and get a quick photo, acting like paparazzi. It’s actually pretty funny. We have talked a lot on twitter, but never met. He invited me to his charity event, and I’ll be there, but first I introduce myself. he’s more than friendly and outgoing. I make sure he’s doing well, and he tells me he’s having a blast at Abe’s event. He really likes the success of the event. He’s excited for his event which is like three weeks away, but it’s awesome to see him come support Abe. I can’t believe how well he was bowling. As I leave him, he bowled two gutterballs. So amazing. Ah, it’s the fun not the score, right? At the end of our awesome conversation, he shows me where teammate, Kenrick Ellis is.
From there, I walk over and introduce myself to Kenrick Ellis [@KenrickEllis]. Kenrick is a massive guy, but I’m excited to talk with him. I find out that he’s training in my hometown. That’s pretty awesome. He’s a really nice and humble guy, and I’m very appreciative I had the chance to meet him that night. I also get to meet him at Emanuel’s event on Friday, July 1, but we’ll save what happens there for another story. Kenrick is so humble and hearing him talk with a couple fans, it’s just great. He was third round pick for the Jets this past year, and out of Hampton University. I then want to see if I can find any basketball players, so I walk around…
I then talk to Alonzo Gee [@GeeAlonzo]. I don’t know much about Alonzo. I do know he’s a Cleveland Cavalier, and those players are welcome down in South Florida, so I hear. Zydrunas Ilgauskas anyone? Fine… LeBron James anyone? Even better then that, we talk a little basketball. He’s almost up to bowl too, but we chat. We get a great photo, and I’m satisfied. We both move on, and I see in the distance one of the most hyped guys who decided to come to this event, in the last minutes. He’s taking photos with fans. He’s another Cleveland guy.
I see Joe Haden [@JoeHaden23]. Right there. I walk over to him, and wait my turn as he’s taking photos with fans. My turn comes. I won’t let him get away now, haha. I take a photo with him, and then I tell him that he’s met my sister… Wait, what? Yes. My sister met him and told him he had to do an interview with me. He remembered the story, and finds this funny. We walk and talk, and I have him sign some photos so I can do giveaways for the fans! He’s down, and he even shouts me out, right there on the spot. I joke with him that he broke my phone, from all the new follower notifications I get. He laughed. We talk some more, but we figure out that we’ll eventually do an interview as he promised my sister that he would do for me. I can’t wait. We’ll still in talks though, but it should be settled soon. We’ll have an awesome interview… I hope!
Who is the man… you ask? Robert Royal [@RobertRoyalFNDN]. We talk about his upcoming event some more. He also tells me that he appreciates how I connect with these guys. He tells me that it’s pretty impressive to see how ‘aggressive’ I am. He also advises me that I should calm down some and not just think about football, 24/7. I’m sorry. He elaborates on the conversation, but really… He makes it a good point about enjoying more then just football, in life. I realize that we might not have football… I like him though. Robert is great, and we talk about a possible future team he wants to play for. He said that he’ll see what happens. Right now, he’s a father, and I don’t blame him. He also talks about the old school type of guys, and how he sees me easily connect with Joe and Jacoby as the younger, newer guys. He appreciates that I understand social media and know how to take advantage of it, but it’s something that’s not really into.
It’s basically the end of the night, and I see Jacoby Ford [@JacobyFord12]. I mean, I’ve seen him the whole night, bowling and having fun. But, now is my opportunity to go over to him. We talk again briefly. I thank him for the awesome shout-out he gave me last night. I have him sign some photos, so I can do some awesome giveaways with the fans. Make sure you stay tuned on twitter and Facebook. Anyways, Jacoby is wearing a shirt that I wish I knew where I could buy it. It reads, “I Will Step On You To Win”. Totally epic. He’s one of those guys. For being a nice guy, he’s such a beast on the field. He’s a great guy, I see why Raiders fans love him.
I then meet Jason Chery and John Louis. Two guys at the end of the lanes. Outside of the event. They’re both wearing the T.E.A.M. Elam shirt, and what seems like a lot of fun. I learn that Jason Chery was on the Steelers and Packers this past season. John and Jason both also went to my first high school. Pretty interesting that Jason would have most likely gotten a ring regardless of the outcome of the Super Bowl. Not bad for an alum of my old high school, who hasn’t won games in years… Seriously. Jason is a great guy. He’s extremely nice too. He’s now with the Hartford Colonials in the UFL, and I’m very excited to watch him. He had a Lambeau Leap during the preseason so, MAD PROPS!! John played a little in the Arena Football League, and now he’s a high school coach. He’s proud of that, and it’s great to hear him talk and go back and coach.
Thank you so much for having me at the event. I’m sorry this took so long to get up, but it’s definitely worth it. I hope you enjoyed all of it.