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Sir Psycho Sexy 01-22-2010 05:57 PM

From out of nowhere, Evans at top of NFL
 
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By Pat Yasinskas, ESPN.com
Jahri Evans of the New Orleans Saints may be the best guard in the NFL.
NEW ORLEANS -- Out in the middle of nowhere, which officially starts just a few miles from downtown Bloomsburg, Pa., a cell phone was ringing in the woods.

The caller ID said “Jahri." The caller’s first word was “congratulations."
“For what?’’ was the response by Brian McBryan, the long-time assistant football coach at Bloomsburg University, who was cutting wood when the call came. “I made it,’’ Jahri Evans said. “I made All-Pro.’’ This was a January day a couple of weeks ago and cell phones were ringing all over the middle of nowhere, including inner-city Philadelphia, as just about every coach who ever worked with Evans got the same call.

Evans, who hadn’t even played football as a high school senior and somehow had caught the attention of the NFL playing in a rural mountaintop stadium in central Pennsylvania, wasn’t running up and down Bourbon Street telling the world he had just made All-Pro as a guard for the New Orleans Saints. Although scouts and coaches have been whispering for months now that Evans might be the best guard in the NFL, he was calling around to congratulate -- and to thank -- everyone who had put him at the top of the mountain. “That just personifies Jahri,’’ McBryan said. “He remembers where he came from.’’

Evans remembers all that very well because he’s only 26 and four years ago he was fighting the dreaded “Division II" label. Four years before that, he showed up for the first day of high school summer practice on crutches with his leg in a cast that would stay on for all of what would have been his senior season.

To fully understand Evans’ rise, you first have to hear about his fall. It happened on a summer day on a Philadelphia playground. “I was playing pick-up basketball and I came down wrong,’’ Evans said. “I fractured my knee, fractured it about as bad as you can.’’ Imagine the look on coach Tom Mullineaux’s face when the best offensive lineman on a team destined for a city championship showed up on crutches on that August day.

“I just looked at him and said, 'What’s a big idiot like you doing playing basketball?'" said Mullineaux, who retired from coaching a couple years later. “It was a real shame." To fully understand Evans’ rise, you need to realize that he wasn’t exactly falling off the top shelf to start with. There’s a legend out there that Pennsylvania is a high school football hotbed. It’s true, but it’s not a categorical statement. It’s that way in much of Western Pennsylvania, and certain other parts of the state -- places such as Harrisburg, Berwick, Allentown, Scranton and Wilkes-Barre -- turn out some occasional jewels.

But Philadelphia, the state’s largest city, forever has been known as a basketball town. For his half century or so at Penn State, Joe Paterno has generally avoided recruiting from inner-city Philadelphia. He’ll dip into the suburbs and, once in a great while, a Philadelphia kid has come along who was too good to resist. But Evans never came close to fitting that category. To fully understand Evans’ rise, you need to watch “Rocky" (the original) one more time, if it already isn’t ingrained in your memory. “The end of the EL [elevated train] stop in Rocky . . . that’s where Frankford is,’’ Mike Capriotti said. Frankford High School is one of the oldest high schools in a blue-collar city full of old high schools. Capriotti is Frankford’s head football coach now. He was an assistant to Mullineaux when Evans was there.

"Even before the injury, Jahri wasn’t being recruited like crazy," Capriotti said. "When he broke his leg, that could have been the end of it. You’ve got to understand where Frankford is. A lot of kids with promise just disappear, even if they don’t get hurt. I’ve got a note from at least one teacher in my mailbox every day of the year about one of my players having some sort of problem. I guarantee you that when Tom was here, he never got a single note about Jahri and that’s rare around here."

Sir Psycho Sexy 01-22-2010 05:57 PM

Re: GREAT Jahri Evans write up!
 
ARTICLE CONT'D

CantonLegend 01-22-2010 06:13 PM

Re: From out of nowhere, Evans at top of NFL
 
its a shame that he'll lose that title in a few seasons

nicks is quickly on his way to being the top guard himself

D_it_up 01-22-2010 06:19 PM

Re: From out of nowhere, Evans at top of NFL
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by CantonLegend (Post 196639)
its a shame that he'll lose that title in a few seasons

nicks is quickly on his way to being the top guard himself

But isn't it great to know that we have the best guard tandem in the NFL?

strato 01-22-2010 06:24 PM

Re: From out of nowhere, Evans at top of NFL
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by D_it_up (Post 196642)
But isn't it great to know that we have the best guard tandem in the NFL?

Yes it is...Thank you Mickey Loomis

CantonLegend 01-22-2010 06:27 PM

Re: From out of nowhere, Evans at top of NFL
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by D_it_up (Post 196642)
But isn't it great to know that we have the best guard tandem in the NFL?

IMO they are easily the best 2 guards in the league......and considering the talent that is in the league at the guard position right now, that should be a huge honor for evans

right now there are some of the best guards to ever play in faneca and hutchinson

there are also a lot of great up and coming guards like eric wood in buffalo and davin joseph in tampa bay

its not a stretch at all to consider evans the best guard in the league which says a lot......the funny thing is that its not a stretch to consider nicks better than evans

if anybody has watched our line this season they would have no problem admitting our guards are 2 of the best in the league

Choupique 01-22-2010 08:40 PM

Re: From out of nowhere, Evans at top of NFL
 
The best news of the year is none of the Saints players have a mullet!
http://www.freakingnews.com/pictures...let--28578.jpg

homerj07 01-22-2010 09:27 PM

Re: From out of nowhere, Evans at top of NFL
 
MOst excellent story. Those are the kind I like. I hate the TO stories & such (even though I did like those old "Leon" commericals)

st thomas 01-22-2010 09:47 PM

Re: From out of nowhere, Evans at top of NFL
 
big carl should have been in the pro bowl don't you guys think

D_it_up 01-22-2010 09:47 PM

Re: From out of nowhere, Evans at top of NFL
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by st thomas (Post 196712)
big carl should have been in the pro bowl don't you guys think

Absolutely. Deserves it a lot more than Hutch.


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