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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
    singersp is offline PPO Newshound
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    Sharper, Tomlin together again with Vikings

    From The Mercury News

    [size=18px]Sharper, Tomlin together again with Vikings[/size]

    BY SEAN JENSEN
    Knight Ridder Newspapers

    EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - Darren Sharper arrived at William & Mary in 1993, bracing for "freshman orientation" with his football team's upperclassmen.
    Sharper, now a Pro Bowl safety with the Vikings, didn't mind the chores and commands. But he refused to be embarrassed by the veteran receivers during practices.

    One of his chief tormentors was a junior named Mike Tomlin - the same Mike Tomlin who was named Vikings defensive coordinator last week.
    "Darren was a great kid, but he was kind of full of himself," William & Mary head coach Jimmye Laycock said. "The older receivers, like Mike, would call him out and challenge him."

    Sharper's stubbornness impeded the effectiveness of that lesson. "We would do one-on-ones, and when they beat you, they would just talk smack all day long," Sharper said. "I was a young, punk freshman, and these guys were riding me like the bullies on the street. I was more like, `OK, I'm going to show these guys I can play with them.' So when they started mouthing off and catching passes on me, I was mouthing off back at them if I got them."

    Tomlin acknowledged that Sharper couldn't be humbled like other freshmen. "Being older, we wanted to keep him in his place," Tomlin said. "But he was much too talented." Sharper and Tomlin became close friends and fraternity brothers, leading the Tribe to a 17-6 record in the two seasons they played together.

    Thirteen years later, they are reunited, and this time, Sharper won't challenge Tomlin's authority. "I'll get on him a little bit, but nothing like in college," Sharper said.

    "He's the boss, so I'm going to look at him that way and have that respect for him."

    Sharper welcomes Tomlin to the coaching staff. The two have stayed in touch, and Sharper said he has always looked up to Tomlin, three years his senior, as a "mentor figure."

    "The older guys take care of the younger guys," Tomlin said. "In a school as academically challenging as William & Mary, the way you can help is to tell them what to stay away from and keep guys out of trouble. That is a day-to-day challenge there."

    A three-year starter for the Tribe, Tomlin finished his career with 101 catches for 2,046 yards and a school-record 20 receiving touchdowns. In his final season, he was a first-team All-Yankee Conference selection.
    "He had great hands and good speed, and he made some of the most unbelievable catches for us," Laycock said of Tomlin. "I still remember the one he made at UMass for a touchdown. I don't know how he made that catch."

    Tomlin appreciated Laycock's compliment. But he said of his collegiate playing career, "I was just out there to survive, brother.

    "I'm around some of the best athletes in the world," he said. "Every day, I'm reminded of what I wasn't." But Tomlin doesn't mind. When he was 11 or 12, he identified what he aspired to be, and he's living his dream. "Where I'm from, Newport News, the most respected guys in the community are coaches," Tomlin said. "I always looked up to those guys. They were always men's men."

    A decade ago, in his second coaching position, Tomlin was a graduate assistant at Memphis. Five years later, Tomlin was named the secondary coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; he was one year younger than Pro Bowl safety John Lynch, who was 29 at the time.

    Tomlin said he wasn't intimidated to take over such an experienced group. "I really wasn't ... because I trusted coach (Tony) Dungy and Monte Kiffin's judgment. They interviewed quite a few people, so I took comfort in that."

    In 2002 under Tomlin, the Bucs had the NFL's No. 1 pass defense. His secondary collected four of five interceptions of Oakland's Rich Gannon in a 48-21 victory in Super Bowl XXXVII. Free safety Dexter Jackson was named Super Bowl MVP after making two interceptions.

    Sharper said he wasn't surprised by Tomlin's success in Tampa. "I've seen it developing over the years," Sharper said. "He was like that when we were in college. He had that demeanor, where he always commanded respect. He was always a leader."

    The respect is mutual. While the Vikings' defense struggled in the rankings, there's no shortage of talent, especially at free safety.
    "I'm looking forward to working with Darren because he's a special player," Tomlin said.

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
    singersp's Avatar
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    Re: Childress Talks With Culpepper

    The respect is mutual. While the Vikings' defense struggled in the rankings, there's no shortage of talent, especially at free safety.
    "I'm looking forward to working with Darren because he's a special player," Tomlin said.


    That sounds to me like they won't target a free safety in the draft or FA.

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  3. #3
    DaunteHOF is offline Coach
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    Re: Sharper, Tomlin together again with Vikings

    We need a SS in fa or draft.
    Its not braggin if you can do it!!!

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