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Commissioner Fuzzy Myers of the Maplewood Athletic Association has put out a call for alumni and old photos to help celebrate the Bethesda club’s 50th season of youth football later this year.

Among the folks to wear the Maplewood uniform as Pee Wees over the decades:

Jelani Jenkins—-An All-American linebacker at Good Counsel now playing for Urban Meyer at Florida.

Marcus Mason—-a superstar running back at Georgetown Prep (he was recently named the prep player of the decade by the Maryland Gazette) and Youngstown State, and an on-again, off-again member of the Washington Redskins for the last three seasons. Mason, after getting bounced on and off the practice squad and stints with the New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens, got the most PT as a pro late in the 2009 season when Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts went on injured reserve.

(AFTER THE JUMP: Where’s the leader of the Whitman Five now? Would folks forgive him for knocking off a Smoothie King? Local heavyweight Tony Thompson calls out the world’s top fighters in…an open letter? Really? You bring up Jim Haslett just to talk about Mike Kruczek? You bring up Mike Kruczek just to talk about Falls Church? You bring up Falls Church just to talk about you?)

Kevin Plank—-The founder of Under Armour, the athletic apparel and now shoe magnate. Plank did his old boys club a solid by putting Maplewood in several of his company’s TV commercials, including the amazing “Fired Up!” series alongside players from their rival Pee Wee squad, White Oak.

And, my fave Maplewood ex:

Pat Lazear—-a former phenom running back and linebacker at Whitman and Wheaton, best remember for his leadership of “The Whitman Five,” the gang of dumbasses behind the Great Smoothie King Caper of March 2006. That’s when Lazear and some buddies from allegedly brainy Whitman robbed the Bethesda Smoothie King franchise.

Lazear was said to have provided the fake gun used in the pre-fab crime — a classmate was working the Smoothie King cash register the night of the robbery and knew what was coming when the fake gun was pulled. The gang met later and divvied up the night’s haul: $463. Some of the kids got only a $5 share of the loot.

Everybody involved got caught and punished for their roles in knocking off a juice bar.

Lazear was being recruited by most major college football programs before his arrest, and it seemed his status as an All-Met player resulted in his being treated worse by the media and better by the legal system than he otherwise would have. He was eventually sentenced to 10 days in jail and another 10-years suspended, and a lot of recruiters went away.

But West Virginia University left its offer to Lazear on the table, and he took it. Judging only by his athletic exploits, the 6-foot-2, 232-pound LB has made a very impressive, and very quiet, comeback from the dumbasseries of his youth. Last year, Lazear’s interception late in the game clinched the Meineke Car Care Bowl win for the Mountaineers over North Carolina. And this season, as a junior, Lazear led West Virginia in tackles.

We’re watching with our fingers crossed, Pat!

For information about the Maplewood reunion, visit maplewoodfootball.org.


Nobody loves open letters more than Cheap Seats Daily loves open letters. Here’s a new one: D.C. heavyweight Tony Thompson, a guy sometimes called “America’s Last Heavyweight Contender,” has gone the open letter route to call out all his ring rivals around the world!

The opening of the missive, posted on the Gary “Digital” Williams‘ great site, Boxing Along the Beltway:

To The Following Heavyweight Hopefuls and Pretenders,

The year of 2009 is officially in the books and my new year’s resolution is aimed at one goal, fighting for the Heavyweight World Title again. But before I do that I have a small list of to do things or a small list of fighters that I need to deal with. This list includes the following fighters that I think currently stand in my way of accomplishing that goal. I want it to be known that I will fight any and all of these pretenders any time and any where this year. If you are a contender then you will stand up and answer my challenge if you are a pretender then you will ignore it and continue to run.

Among those Thompson names, challenges and razzes in his letter:

Chris Arreola: “My goal is to get you in the ring and settled the dispute of who is the best American heavyweight in the world.”

Emmanuel Quezada: “I don’t know much about you but you have a very high ranking. A ranking that’s higher than mine. I find that odd given the fact that you have not fought anyone that would substantiate you earning that high ranking. So, the only way to find out if you deserve that high ranking is to get in the ring with me.”

Former champ James Toney: “We never got to decide who the best Tony was in the ring.”

Sam Peter: “He just keeps slipping away or running the other way. But I’m here to tell that you can’t run for ever.”

Olympic gold medalist Oldlanier Solis: “If you feel that you have deserved the ranking given to you then get in the ring with me and prove it. By the way why don’t we make the fight even more interesting? Since I had a very short amateur career I never got a chance to fight in the Olympics. So we could also fight for your gold medal it would look great in my trophy room.”

Thompson lost a bid for a world title to Wladimir Klitschko in 2008, getting KO’d in the 11th round after putting up a good fight, and says in the letter his big New Year’s resolution is getting another shot at the big belt. It all makes for hilarious reading, because Thompson means every word.

‘Course, Thompson could KO me just by looking at me, and he still spends a lot of time in his hometown, so I’d like him to know that by “hilarious,” I mean, like, fabulous!

To twist Roy Hobbs‘ words: God, I love boxing!


We Read Old Blog Posts So You Don’t Have To: I missed the Great Dan Steinberg‘s great post about all the great quotes Jim Haslett had when he was a player with the Buffalo Bills.

Steinberg puts up a video showing Haslett cleating Terry Bradshaw in his bald head during a 1979 game. Steinberg’s grew up outside Buffalo, so he’s partial to Haslett, who was just hired to replace wacko Greg Blache as the Redskins defensive coordinator.

Back to me: I grew up outside D.C., in Falls Church, so I’m partial to Mike Kruczek, the backup Pittsburgh Steelers QB who, in the video posted by Steinberg, comes into the game to replace the wounded Bradshaw after Haslett cleated his pate.

Kruczek was a local kid. He was born in D.C. and played high school ball here at St. John’s, but his family lived near me in Fairfax. That was a big deal to us NoVa’ns. Sure, I never saw him my whole life, but my summer job when he was on the Steelers was delivering pool chemicals, and a lifeguard on my chlorine route was Kruczek’s sister.

There was a time when that seemed cool. I swear. I promise. Really.


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