Deebo Samuel snapped Saturday like Debo Lister on Friday

January 25, 2022

Deebo dogs Packers - Talk is profusely and endlessly complimentary for quarterbacks Joe Burrow of the Bengals and Tom Brady of the Bucs. But Deebo Samuel of the 49ers, a 2019 second-round pick out of South Carolina, had been the baddest, toughest, and most prolific football player of the postseason playoffs. Deebo played hurt in that insane zero-degree 13-10 win at Green Bay, snapping on special teams, running the ball and catching it. Niners coach Kyle Shanahan is an innovative genius – time to get off Bill Belichick’s attributes and start talking about some other coaches. Deebo’s toughness reminded me of the movie character Deebo, a neighborhood bully from the 1995 cult classic “Friday.” Deebo, played by actor Tommy “Tiny” Debo Lister, was born in Compton, Calif., a place where comedian Robin Harris said “the cost of living is going up while the chance of living is going down.” Lister, who passed away in 2020 at the age of 62, was the 1982 NCAA Division II shot put national champion at California State University in Los Angeles with a throw of 61-feet-8-inches. Deebo Samuel was trending Sunday morning, but I’m sure I was the only sports guy who landed on Debo Lister.  

Destination Anywhere - First written in 1968 and recorded by the Marvelettes, later a Bon Jovi album in 1997, I reflect back on a Cape Henlopen theme. Three hours from everywhere, then no one ever goes anywhere. Locals live at the beach, but they don’t go to the beach – that is for tourists. Cape is a rich school district. Just drive around and ask yourself, “Who lives here?” and when the answer comes back “I do,” pull over and let the dog out for a swim and count the seconds before you're both arrested for trespassing. But seriously (transition alert), Cape sports kids are back on the roads pursuing competition wherever they can find it, from New York to Philly to South Central, Pa., to Washington, D.C., to Virginia. Sesame Street by the Sea is the greatest place for young muppets to grow up, but you have to leave to comprehend why you stay. 

Big Reveal - Before Robbie “Good as Gould” swung his leg for the winning field goal that sent Aaron Rodgers to the Lambeau tunnel where Jake from State Farm was waiting to offer Deebo Samuel a Rodgers rate insurance policy, Troy Aikman was prattling on about all the things that could go wrong with the attempt, from the weather to the blocking, the snap and the placement. That’s when I knew he was all in on the Niners. He sounded like John Lynch’s grandmother.   

Fair Game - The publicity that comes with an athlete “being in the game” makes it fair game to ask “What up?” when they are not in the game. Several times already this scholastic school year of sports I have had coaches say “Can we talk about who is here rather than who is not?” I can walk onto a game field or into a gym and tell who is not there in about 10 seconds. The better the athlete, the more glaring their absence. And, yes, as a sportswriter, the deeply personal background stuff is none of my business, perhaps not my place to publicize, but it does fall under the “fair game” doctrine. You just can’t take the good and duck the bad. It’s a package deal. 

Like it or leave it - Driving back from the wrestling match at DMA Friday night I said to Susan, “If we had gotten a puppy to replace Darby, there would be a crate in the family room with a moving blanket on the floor, some water, a stuffed animal and the door would be open.” We are canine enablers. There is no way I'm locking a dog in a crate and saying, “They love the crate. It makes them feel secure.” I hear the same thing about ducking dogs working in sub-freezing temperatures. The owners say, “They love it. Can't get enough of it.” And perhaps they are right. I just figure the family dog is as soft as the rest of the family. 

Snippets - The University of Delaware is often criticized for not recruiting athletes from the state of Delaware, but it has 22 players from Delaware high schools on the 2022 baseball roster. Head coach Jim Sherman, 22 years at the helm, has announced his retirement effective at the end of the season. Gwen Harris graduated from Delaware State University in 1974, then coached girls’ track at Caesar Rodney and led the Riders to four state championships in six years. Harris went on to become head women's coach at James Madison for 17 years; then she moved to the University of Pennsylvania, where she was head women’s coach for 11 years. Now she is back at Delaware State, listed as an assistant for the indoor program. Pretty impressive. The NFL needs to start a therapy support group for defensive coordinators. Go on now, git!


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