Tag Archives: defense

Former NFL player created a specialty gym for disabled veterans

Mr. Irrelevant is making all the difference in his post-NFL career


Former NFL linebacker, David Vobora, was in a dark place after his football career was cut too short due to a shoulder injury. Now, five years later he has found a new passion away from the gridiron.


Brian Aft had no idea how much his life would change when he first met former NFL player David Vobora.

“I was rolling back to my truck in a parking lot,” Aft said, “And all of a sudden I just hear ‘HEY! HEY!’ and I look over, and I see this giant Spartan dude running over at me and I’m thinking, ‘Oh my God…you’re gonna get robbed, Brian. You’re gonna get robbed.’”

Instead of robbing him though, Vobora and Aft connected. Aft had his limbs blown off after stepping on a land mine in Afghanistan in 2011. After failing to find help at the VA, he became addicted to drugs, suicidal, and unemployed. Vobora was able to identify with those struggles, since a shoulder injury in the NFL the same year landed him a bad addiction to pain pills. After working with Vobora, Aft has strengthened his muscles as well as his mind. He can walk now with the aid of prosthetics, and has a job and a fiancée.

 

David Vobora was the man known as “Mr. Irrelevant” – the last player taken in the 2008 NFL Draft.  He played 5 seasons in the NFL and then his career was over.  A devastating injury led to off the field issues that would change his life in ways that would see him come out stronger for it.  What happened in 2014 is what legends are made of.

In January of 2014 David Vobora,  met US Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills.  Since retiring from the NFL, David owns and is head trainer of Performance Vault Gym, providing personalized performance training for elite athletes.  David opened his gym, and offered up his training expertise to Travis, who despite being a quadruple amputee, never lost the inner desire to live “Army Strong.”  The pair started working out together, customizing and adapting to the unique challenges posed by Travis’ injuries.  Through working with Travis and engaging the veteran community, specifically those that were severely injured, David developed a hunger for helping those with life-altering injuries find a path to life-fulfilling activity and fitness through adaptive performance training.

The gym focuses on self-reliance and strength, and teaches people that they are more than their injuries.  On this Veteran’s Day, it is nice to see a former player helping those who served improve their life.   Looking back to 2008, David Vobora was the last player taken in the draft.  His post career included his own personal struggles with pain and prescription drugs.  Unlike other pro athletes in his similar situation,  “Mr. Irrelevant” made a positive change and  has become relevant to many of our true heroes.

 

Thank you to all who served – Happy Veterans Day!

Does New England QB Jimmy Garoppolo have Tools to Succeed?

Will Selva

With the regular season just weeks away, the Patriots are preparing for life without Tom Brady. As it stands today, Brady is still facing a four game suspension although it is rumored to possibly be shortened. Next on the depth chart at quarterback is 2nd year player Jimmy Garoppolo out of Eastern Illinois. Does that school sound familiar? Tony Romo went undrafted out of Eastern Illinois and panned out pretty well for the Dallas Cowboys. Garoppolo was selected in the 2nd round of the 2014 draft and is preparing to fill Tom Brady’s shoes while he’s out. With just 19 career completions, can Garoppolo succeed for the New England Patriots?

Jimmy Garoppolo will fill in for Tom Brady Jimmy Garoppolo will fill in for Tom Brady

Although he has just 19 completions to his name, Garoppolo has played well in his limited experience. He completed 19 of 27 passes (70.4%) for 182 yards and one touchdown, a quarterback…

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Panthers defensive end Jared Allen, the NFL’s active sacks leader, announced his retirement Thursday

Panthers defensive end Jared Allen, the NFL’s active sacks leader, announced his retirement Thursday via a video, riding off “into the sunset.”

Source: espn.go.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers defensive end Jared Allen announced his retirement from the NFL on Thursday in an unconventional but appropriate way.

The NFL’s active sacks leader (136) posted a video of himself wearing a black cowboy hat, heavy coat and riding a horse off “into the sunset” even though there was none.

“I just want to say thank you for an amazing 12-year career,” Allen said in the video. “This is the part where I was going to ride off into the sunset, but seeing how there is no sunset, I’m just going to ride off.”

Allen, who was raised on a ranch, then waved to the camera, turned his horse and rode off into a snowy field.

Allen released the following statement through his agent, Ken Harris:

“I want to take this time to thank my family, friends, fans and teammates who have given their continued support throughout my 12 year career. It’s been a great ride for me, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the memories. It is with a great deal of thought and consideration that I have decided that I will not return to football next year.

“I want to thank the Carolina Panthers, Chicago BearsMinnesota Vikings and the Kansas City Chiefs organizations, who provided me with an opportunity to live out my dream and to be a part of their wonderful communities. Thanks for the life long memories.”

Allen played in Super Bowl 50 against the Denver Broncos with a broken right foot suffered in a divisional playoff win against Seattle.

Coach Ron Rivera hinted after the 24-10 loss to the Broncos that Allen might have played his last game.

What is the Carolina Panthers’ Club Shiznit?

  

  
Have you ever been in a hotel and wondered why there was a dead-bolted door to nowhere jammed into one side of your main corridor? Well, that door connects to the room next to it, and if you’re a member of the Carolina Panthers, it’s also the opening to an exclusive social gathering space.

  
At the team’s headquarters here in San Jose, fullback Mike Tolbert and running back Fozzy Whittaker broke out the door that separated both of their rooms and made it into a suite. The purpose?

“You gotta let grown men be grown men,” Tolbert said. “We have a good quality group of guys on this team, so nobody’s gonna go out and do anything stupid. To be able to say ‘Stay out of this place’ or ‘Don’t go to this place.’ If you’re a grown man and another grown man is telling you that’s not a good place to be, then the majority of the time, nobody’s gonna do it. We’re gonna have a good time, we’re gonna enjoy this process, we gonna be here. You gotta enjoy it but at the same time you gotta let a man learn from his own mistakes.

  
“There’s no alcohol, no nothing, no women. It’s only us. We having a good time playing cards, laughing, playing video games, just enjoying life, enjoying being at the Super Bowl, enjoying having a good time.”
Club Shiznit underscores what has been an immensely lighthearted run throughout the season. This is not unique, of course. Stories like this tend to populate Super Bowl week every year because good teams usually get along well. General manager Dave Gettleman knew that this was the type of environment that head coach Ron Rivera was trying to create, and his familiarity with the personalities on the team spawned a tight-knit team that nearly finished the season undefeated.
During Tuesday’s brief media session, this was evident not only in secret clubs, but in little gestures that have carried the team through some of their most frustrating moments.

  
Left tackle Michael Oher was blown away by the friendship displayed by captain and middle linebacker Luke Kuechly because “he’d go get you 1,000 waters if you wanted them. He’s always like, you want a water?”
Club Shiznit is not to be confused with Thieves Avenue, which is another imaginary location that has made its way to California. The defensive backs use it as a rallying cry, and brought with them a realistic looking street sign that hangs above their locker. The team used to have a homemade sign made by head coach Ron Rivera’s daughter.
“Thieves Avenue is just where the thieves live,” Panthers safety Kurt Coleman said. “That’s where we reside. Such as, this is Market Street out here. This is where the Hilton and the Marriott meet. It’s just where we live. The thieves are the people amongst ourselves in the DB (defensive backs) unit, and it all started at the beginning of the year, when we said we wanted to lead the league in takeaways. That has kind of been our thing. Every game, we’ve figured out ways to, ‘how do we get more picks? How do we get more forced fumbles? How do we just create more opportunities for our offense to have the football?’

   

“And then one week, (Panthers defensive line coach) Eric Washington kind of called us thieves, and it stuck. We wanted to embrace that. So, for the first few weeks, it was almost just talk. We want to be thieves, but now it’s what we believe.”
Many of the Panthers vowed not to travel during their off day on Tuesday, especially not to San Francisco, which is more than an hour away from the hotel. But, like any good Super Bowl team, they brought the party along with them.

Source:  NFL.com