A TRIP TO REMEMBER
Recently, Norm Evans, my offensive tackle from the championship years with the Dolphins, visited me in Alaska. He brought his son, Ron (whom I’ve known since he was 5), and his grandson, Jaggar.
Norm was our All-Pro offensive tackle from ’68 – ’75. He was a team captain and a pillar of the championship years. He was on the offensive line I ran behind for seven years with the Dolphins. I learned how to read Norms blocking techniques by keeping his feet in my peripheral vision. He was a finesse blocker. This is not to say he couldn’t handle down and dirty, straight ahead football. He absolutely could. But he also had the ability to, instantaneously, position himself perfectly at the snap. If carrying the ball in his direction, I would watch his feet out of the corner of my eye. This would tell me where the hole would be….every time.
One thing I miss most about our championship years is that look I’d get from my entire offensive line – Moore, Little, Kuechenberg, Langer and Evans – when Griese or Morrall would call my number to carry. Without words, they clearly said “follow me!” “If you get in trouble, come to me, I’ll get you there!” I miss those moments with those guys. We had tremendous confidence in each other’s abilities on the field.
Norm, Ron, Jaggar and I traveled to Soldotna and Jimmie Jack’s Seascape Lodge for a few nights. Audrey and I first met our friend, Jimmie, several years ago while featuring him and his guide service in our North to Alaska TV series. He has since expanded his operation to include a new beautiful lodge on the bluff of Cook Inlet. Spectacular views, great service and gourmet meals all exceeded our expectations!
One day of fishing is, unfortunately, all we had time for. Typically, the Coho or silver salmon run is in full swing on the Kenai River by now but we could only find a few among all the Humpy’s (pink salmon) in the river this year. Still, we had a great time! Salmon fishing in Alaska was a new experience for Ron and Jaggar so it really didn’t matter which species we were catching. Many of the Humpies were chrome bright, fresh from the saltwater of Cook Inlet, so they provided lots of action!
After a full day on the Kenai, we returned to the comfort of the lodge where loads of red king crab would be served for dinner. Apparently, the Time Bandit (of “The Deadliest Catch” fame) caught this crab. They were some of the biggest crab legs any of us had seen!
A few other teammates have visited us in Alaska – Jim Kiick, Mercury Morris, Charlie & Leslie Babb. Our trip with Jim and Merc was quick but memorable! We enjoyed some quality time with the Babb’s but didn’t get to do any fishing together. And now Norm. In addition to fishing, we spent some time around our backyard fire pit – throwin’ the bull, smoking cigars and reminiscing about our years together with the Dolphins.