Friday, September 14, 2012

The Floyd NOT Mayweather Story

They say you can tell a lot about a man by looking at how he deals with adversity.  If there's one man who can atest to this theory, it's former Seahawks Offensive Lineman Floyd Wedderburn.  Unlike the more popular professional athlete who shares the same first name (and the same amount of letters, ten, in their last name) Floyd Wedderburn's story has been that of hard work and perseverance.  His storied four year career with the Seattle Seahawks is a testament to that work ethic and resiliency.

There's a saying in Wedderburn's native country Jamaica.  "You don't block off the island."  Oh how true this would be.  Floyd grew up in Kingston, Jamaica before his family uprooted to Quebec.  Then, in 1988, the Wedderburns packed their bags and headed to the city of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia.  How people still have the balls to call that city by that nickname with a straight face is beyond absurd to me, but whatever. 

Upper Darby High School Football Coach Jack Shingle recalls the first time he laid eyes on the massive Jamaican.  "I just expected to find some great big fat kid."  Well Mr. Shingle, you were wrong!  The "great big fat kid" was a natural in both football and basketball.  Some say that Wedderburn secretly dreamed of being the next Patrick Ewing.  However, that wasn't meant to be.  He was meant to be the first Floyd Wedderburn!  Wedderburn spoke barely any English upon arrival to the United States.  What he spoke was the language of ass-whoopin!  And he spoke it quite fluently.  Wedderburn was said to have a little bit of Michael Oher goin on as well, extremely soft spoken and quiet, trying not to hurt anybody too bad out there on the field.  But when the switch turned on, watch out!

Wedderburn would then go on to play for Joe Paterno at Penn State University where he was originally a defensive tackle.  At 6'5 330 pounds Wedderburn was a behemoth of a man but never quite figured out how to put it together.  Maybe he didn't enjoy playing for Jerry Sandusky, after all, Wedderburn is a man of great values.  Despite a legitimate chance at an NFL career, Wedderburn always wanted to teach children, and even spent a spring working with kids at a local kindergarten while at Happy Valley.  What a guy!  It's as if he knew something wasn't right at Penn State and he wanted to do something to change it..  Our hero then switched over to the offensive side of the ball where he finally blossomed as an Offensive Guard.  A road-grading mauler, Wedderburn impressed NFL teams with his size and strength and decent heart.

The Pacific Northwest Feels the Burn, Floyd Wedder Style

As fate would have it, our hero was then selected in the 1999 NFL Draft by the Seahawks in the 5th Round (Pick 140 Overall).  He would go on to play three seasons for the 'Hawks, often times looking lost and overmatched.  They say it was due mostly in part to the fact that Floyd just never wanted to kill a man with his bare hands out there on the field.  Carrying this enormous burden around took it's toll on Wedderburn, as his weight began to spiral out of control.  He would retire in 2002 after playing three seasons with the team.  To the casual fan he will be forever known as a "waste of a draft pick" and a key cog in one of the worst draft classes in franchise history.  To friends, coaches, teammates, and Upper Darby kindergarteners he will be known as a "gentle giant."  And to us, he will forever be..  a Seattle Seahawk!  Floyd Wedderburn is retired and now resides in Upper Darby, Pa.  It is unknown whether or not he pursued his dream of teaching children the lessons of life.  I sure hope he is!  Go get em Floyd!

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