Monday, September 1, 2014

Kyle Turley: Not Taking Post-Football Career Lying Down

Sometimes, you just never know.  When you write something, be it a 140-character tweet; a blog post, or an article in The Shreveport Times... you never know who actually reads it and responds.  This morning, the day after I recounted an uncomfortable locker-room, post-game session with the Saints in 2002, this comment was tweeted at me:



When most fans hear Kyle Turley, they think:  Jets game, November 2001.  Turley ripped the helmet off the Jets Damien Robinson after Robinson had committed a gruesome grab of Aaron Brooks facemask. Turley then threw Robinson's helmet across the field in a very Game Of Thrones, "300" manner. I remember watching the game at home and thinking two things: "This is further proof that offensive linemen take protecting the quarterback very 
seriously," and, "Kyle Turley is someone I don't want as an enemy."

courtesy: nola.com

Turley had to retire from the game in 2007 due to numerous injuries and has since been one of the leading proponents for players suffering from concussions and other effects of a career in the NFL.  Malcolm Gladwell's ground-breaking article for New Yorker magazine in 2009 (!) featured Turley front and center as a man who gave more than his all to the game of football.
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Turley is one of five former players/coaches on the Gridiron Greats Board Of Directors (Mike Ditka, Marv Levy, Matt Birk and Gale Sayers fill out the remaining spots).  The former Saints, Rams and Chiefs offensive lineman (Turley was an all-pro for the Saints in 2000) has been a generous benefactor to the organization which serves to "assist dire need retired NFL players who were pioneers of the game... help retired players and their families deal with hardships they face after football." Turley once dedicated an entire game check to Gridiron Greats and currently has an album out (he moved to Nashville to start a music career/music label) that donates 100% of the proceeds from downloads of the album on iTunes goes to Gridiron Greats.

Kyle Turley provided a memory for me of an unusual locker room scene.  He had one of the most memorable reactions to a penalty in football history.  He has suffered physically, mentally and emotionally for the game of football.  Yet he has the strength and "pay-it-forward" mentality to make life better for men who lived life on the gridiron for our entertainment.

No apology necessary Kyle. Keep on rockin'...