Sports VIEW

Closer to home

Michael Selecky — Sports Writer

Michael Selecky — Sports Writer

Now that the National Football League lockout has been laid to rest, some of our area’s more notable athletes can finally get back to work, including Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Jake Long and Lapeer East grad Glenn Pakulak, a punter who signed with the Oakland Raiders this past winter. For Pakulak, this marked the 12th NFL contract he’s signed with 10 different teams since graduating from the University of Kentucky in 2003. Look for his upcoming reality show on BRAVO.

One player who could be set to have some absolutely amazing results in his first year in the NFL is former Grand Blanc running back and University of Alabama product Mark Ingram, who was picked by the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the 2011 entry draft after winning the 2009 Heisman Trophy. Ingram will have free reign in New Orleans now that former USC running back and 2005 Heisman winner Reggie Bush was traded to the Miami Dolphins. Bush replaced Deuce McAllister after the 2009 season as the Saints’ go-to guy in the offensive backfield and helped lead the team to its 2010, 31-17 Superbowl victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

Former Detroit Lions offensive lineman and Davison native Barry Stokes apparently has some well-accomplished namesakes across this great nation of ours, including a Barry Stokes in Georgia who runs fishing tours and another with an International Movie Data Base profile that shows acting credits for movies including 1981’s Hawk The Slayer (AKA Axe Man II), The Guns and the Fury and 1978’s Alien Prey. There was also a Barry Stokes who died last year after stealing millions from the retirement fund of companies his Nashville, Tennessee firm was managing and a British version who works as an online marketing consultant.

While he may have been standing front and center alongside Team Dirrell on July 2 at Atwood Stadium, Flint Township native and current Kansas City Chief defensive back Brandon Carr was listed as a top five pass defender for the 2010 National Football League season based on a statistical analysis by Yahoo Sports and STATS, Inc. Overall, Carr ranked third for the year behind Darelle Revis of the New York Jets and Stanford Routt of the Oakland Raiders after allowing 43 receptions on 108 attempts for a 39.8 completion percentage, which equated to 758 receiving yards allowed with six touchdowns and 25 passes defended.

Author Doug Farrar even goes so far as to state, “Carr is the forgotten man of the Chiefs’ impressive young secondary; most people focus on Brandon Flowers and safety Eric Berry, and justifiably so.

But Carr isn’t just assembling stats against pikers while Flowers (who ranked 11th among cornerbacks with a 49.5% burn rate) takes all the tough duty. He’s been just as important, especially in diagnosing and covering cluster formations on the other side of the one-on-one battles Flowers frequently has.”

Sitting fourth and fifth on the top of the list were Tramon Williams of the Green Bay Packers and Antonio Cromartie of the New York Jets, while the bottom five included Carolina’s Richard Marshall, Washington’s DeAngelo Hall, Denver’s Nate Jones, Pittsburgh’s Bryant McFadden and Dallas’ Orlando Scandrick.

Not every local football dream reaches these heights, though, including those of former Swartz Creek football player and Grand Valley State University 2010 grad Galen Stone. After not making an NFL roster last season as an undrafted free agent, this year Stone will play for the Virginia Destroyers, a United Football League expansion team that has hired longtime NFL guru Marty Schottenheimer to be its first-ever head coach. Listed as a fullback, Stone ran the 40 yard dash in 4.61 seconds, lifted 225 lbs. 15 times and had a broad jump of exactly 10 feet at SVSU’s Pro Day on March 15, 2010.

One player who may have cut his pro dreams short by transferring from the University of Michigan to Miami University is former quarterback Tate Forcier, who soon thereafter left the Hurricanes because he wanted to be closer to home. Now that the University of Hawaii has passed on the one-season sensation, San Jose State is next on his agenda, allowing Tate another shot at enjoying the mediocrity his brothers Chris and Jason did in their time at UCLA and Stanford, respectively.

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