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May 10, 2013

Flock Talk: Aiming High

Former Duck Aims High

This week a record setting former Duck was in the news. Right about now I'll bet you're thinking about a clever title for the troubles of a former defensive back is about to rear some more ugliness. But you would be wrong.

Several weeks ago, just before the Spring Game, A.J. Jacobson brought a little news to members of Duck Sports Authority when he revealed that Nick Reed had moved on with his life and was in training to be an Air Force pilot.

Having met Nick's family, I cannot say that I am surprised by his dedication to a dream he has had since childhood. Yes, that's right, Nick Reed's earliest dreams were to be a pilot. The dreams were fueled by his father, who was in the Navy during Reed's formative years and used to share stories with Nick.

While he was playing football, the dream never totally died.

Undersized by NFL standards at 6-1 and 250 pounds, Reed played for the Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers after graduating from Oregon. Having spent the 2011 season out of the league, Reed began to plot his next career move; joining the United States Air Force.

It says something, though, that in a week where Nick Reed had moved away from an NFL contract with the Vikings for 2 years and 1.2 million dollars to chase a dream to become a fighter pilot, the only former Duck to get front page headlines was in the news for all the wrong reasons.

It says something about the way we approach just about everything that the more salacious news is what draws our attention.

And, it's not just major news outlets that are guilty; we too, as fans, mimic their approach. We seem to give more attention, more talk, to the salacious news than we do to these brief respites of positive news.

Reed was not the only former Duck doing positive things with his life this week as a former team mate, Mark Lewis, an offensive lineman who graduated after the 2008 season was also in the news this week. It turns out that yet another former Duck has turned to protecting his fellow citizens.

Lewis is currently at the Sn Bernardino Sheriff's academy working on becoming a Sheriff's deputy for the county. While in the academy he and his classmates are organizing a fundraising benefit for the victims of Chris Dorner's deadly shooting rampage.

There are so many former Ducks who have gone on to become positive role models and great citizens, yet the news far too often focuses on the very few who have gone on to make mistakes.

In another example of positive works, former Duck Kwame Agyeman, working as a Teacher Aide in Illinois was given an impressive going away party; he had impacted many lives.

These are but a few examples of those Ducks who have made a positive contribution to this world after leaving Oregon. The fact is that there are significantly more acts of good by former Ducks than moments of stupidity. But those don't draw clicks; and they don't draw comments. They simply give us a momentary pause to feel good and then we move forward seemingly looking for the next piece of bad news.

Proper kudos, of course, to those who do report the good news too; it is important that we recognize all the positive that is being done by former Ducks.

It's time we aim higher.

Coach Accountability Law

This has been bandied about Salem this week as some sort of "solution" to coaches making mistakes that cost taxpayers money.

I find this law troubling for a couple of reasons. First, it is on the borderline of being "actionable" as it is being referred to as the "Chip Kelly Law" in the capitol. In essence, the bill would force a coach to "be accountable" (read: pay legal fees) for knowingly and recklessly violating NCAA rules.

And that's where this becomes tricky. Based on what documentation we have seen from the NCAA to this point there is not now, and likely will not be in the future, any finding that Kelly and the Duck football program knowingly and recklessly violated any NCAA rules. To call this new law the "Chip Kelly" law borders on defamation. It is unlikely Kelly would make any waves, but it is a very thin piece of ice to skate on in the legislature.

Secondly, to the best of my knowledge, the costs of the NCAA investigation are not being run through public funding, rather they are ultimately being paid through the football program which is not only profitable, but funds the rest of the athletics department as well,

Should a coach be accountable for his actions? Of course, as should all members of a society be held accountable. Is this law the answer? Not likely. Too many problems in enforcement.

But, to be honest, many laws are not really about anything other than constituent appeasement. The sponsor of the bill, Brett Barton, represents District 51 which includes the cities of Boring, Damascus, Estacada and Oregon City. Ask yourself what percentage of his constituents are not fans of Oregon and you might have an answer as to why now with this proposed legislation.

Recruiting Buzz

This week Duck Sports Authority was able to bring you three interviews with Duck targets. Sam Jones and Tony James are both very high on Oregon and could both end up as Ducks.

Jones came into a trip to Eugene not expecting to be as blown away as he was, but he is now considering Oregon in his top two.

James, a running back from Gainesville, has said distance will not play a factor for him as he is looking for which school and which football program fit him the best. He is looking for a team that spreads the ball and plays with a lot of speed. Oregon is in good shape with James.

We also continued a couple of series this week bringing you out West with our Regional Roundup series. There were a couple of "Rising Prospects" we discovered this week as well.

Here is a rundown of the weeks recruiting stories:

Regional Roundup: Southwest

Recruiting Buzz: Rising Prospects

Colorado OL has Oregon in Sights

Regional Roundup: NorCal

Ford Sees Potential Fit

Rivals Camp Rewind: Phoenix

James Looks for Oregon Visit


Oregon NEWS

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