In case you didn't know already, Coby Fleener was a pretty damn good college tight end. Just as QB Andrew Luck has received endless comparisons to Peyton Manning, Fleener (who will join Luck in Indianapolis after four years of catching passes from him at Stanford) often gets lumped into the same category as one of Manning's favorite targets when he was with the Colts: Dallas Clark.
However, what isn't talked about enough is Fleener's impressive intelligence. He isn't graduating from Stanford this week as an undergrad. He's already done that. Fleener is currently working on his MASTERS at Stanford.
Yeah, smart kid.
As if he didn't have to flaunt his intelligence enough, Fleener wrote an article for the Peninsula Press that was published back on May 4th. Some folks in the region (Santa Clara and San Mateo, CA) forwarded me a link to the article last week. If Fleener flops at this football thing (unlikely given his vast talent in an age where the TE position is used more and more as an offensive weapon), he definitely has a shot as a writer. The article, an expose on SI columnist and NFL guru Peter King, is quite good.
King has always had an abundance of determination. In 1988, he was in Seoul, South Korea covering the Summer Olympics for Newsday when he learned that Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson had tested positive for steroids. At the time he had a small, young South Korean woman with him as a translator, who told King she desperately wanted to get a green card to come to the United States. King explained to her that they needed talk to the man who took Ben Johnson’s urine sample.
When they got to the building where the sample collector lived, King recalled, "It was this fortress that had four South Korean soldiers in front of it with machine guns."He told his interpreter, whom he estimated to be about 4-foot-8 and 80 pounds, that they could not take "no" for an answer. Apparently inspired by King’s willingness to continue even in the presence of the machine guns, King says she began "screaming at these guys, ‘I have the most important reporter in the United States and he demands to see this guy right away!’" King stood in amazement as the man they were looking for came out for an interview shortly after. He never found out if his interpreter got her green card, but he got his story.
Indulge me for a moment: I like this. I like seeing intelligent athletes. Far too often we fans are inundated with drones who simply tout the team-speak B.S., while other athletes are so nauseatingly "me first" you wonder if they even like the game they are paid handsomely to play.
Stuff like this from Fleener is refreshing. Would like to see more stuff like this and less of the goofy nonsense many pro athletes put on display.