A ROOKIE IN PATRIOT LAND
Seems like just yesterday I was standing on the Boston Patriots (as they were known then) opposing sideline waiting for the Star Spangled Banner to play. I was a bit mesmerized while watching several retired, but not forgotten, Patriot players being introduced one-by-one before the game. Walt Cudzick, Tommy Addison, Ron Burton and many others were being honored by the Patriots organization.
I watched a line forty yards long of old pro’s standing on the field, each one smiling and waving. The crowd roared! I realize now, of course, they weren’t that old but they seemed so, at the time, to this 21-year old rookie. They had just ended successful careers with an already established organization and I was just beginning with a brand new expansion franchise.
At this moment, it crossed my mind if, one day, some of us Dolphins might be doing the same thing before a future game in South Florida – lining up on the field as old pro’s, receiving honors from our team and booming accolades from our fans. Fortunately, over the years, I’ve had many opportunities to do this very thing with several teammates and other ex-Dolphin players. The Dolphins organization has always remembered, honored and given much consideration to its Alumni.
This Sunday, I’ll be on the field again with many of our Miami Dolphin Hall of Famer’s as we each receive our Hall of Fame rings. So much has changed from our early years with the Dolphins…. yet many things seem the same. Our Dolphin fans are just as passionate and intense as they were in my era…just as the Boston Patriot fans were that day in 1968. Both, Dolphin and Patriot fans, share much respect and admiration for the long, significant history of their teams.