In the extensive discussions of player productivity that fans and media have, sometimes it’s easy to lose the human element that makes players real.
Football fans don’t need to be reminded that some of the greatest talents to ever take the field were some of the worst human beings off of it. Redskins fans remember that some of the favorite sons in Washington were those that gave back to their teammates and community as much as they produced on the field.
Players choose how they want to be remembered, both for better and worse. Take, for example, former fullback Mike Sellers. Sellers was an undrafted free agent from a small school (Walla Walla CC), who needed a second chance and second stint with the team in order to make an impact.
He played in Washington for a total of 11 seasons, made a Pro Bowl, and blocked for dozens of 100-yard games. But his lasting legacy was his unselfish willingness to train and mold his eventual replacement, breakout player Darrel Young.
In his most recent blog entry, Young discussed the two-year impact that Sellers had on his career, and thanked him for being a mentor that he needed, but didn’t have to be.
First I want to thank Mike Sellers for what he has done for my young career. Transitioning from linebacker to fullback was something I would have never thought would happen in a million years.
Young was elevated to starter in 2011, after beginning his career in much the same way as Sellers: undrafted out of a small school. Head coach Mike Shanahan recognized that Young could make the transition from defense, but it was Sellers who helped mold him:
People who question Sellers as a person should understand that it takes a real man to mentor a younger player playing the same position.
Being that he was a successful veteran and great person, it was hard to see him released…I tip my hat off to him and wish him the best in the near future because I know he will be starting in the NFL next season.
Young pointed out that the toughest part of football is the business side of roster composition. In the age of free agency, not every great player can be kept, and not every player remains in a team’s long term plans.
With that being said, Young was also excited for the new faces in the locker room, and made it clear that he’s focused on contributing to a winner in 2012:
I am excited about a fresh new start to where this season is going…I will be ready for every challenge but right now I am focused on helping the Washington Redskins win a Super Bowl and to be the best person/player to my peers and in the community that I can be.
Which is exactly what Redskins fans want, and what Mike Sellers would expect.