Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Journey: J Leman Refuses to Give It Up

Am I wrong? Is it not weird that he's all over this show? The guy was a great player last year, and certainly deserved to be honored as one of the school's 10 best linebackers on Saturday...but what in the name of Glenn Mason is he doing on this TV show again? (sidenote: Glenn Mason is an announcer for the BTN now. Do you think he rubs it in people's faces in Minnesota when he eventually goes there for a game? Do you think the BTN ever assigns him to a Gopher game? I would definitely watch Mason talk about how far Minny has fallen since he left and Timmay! took over.) Anyway, the interview with Leman wouldn't have been bad at the alumni luncheon...if that was the first time we saw him. But good ol' J managed to make his own uninvited, incredibly awkward entrance in the scene where the equipment manager was comparing the old-school helmets to the current ones. Leman just sort of walked into the picture, out of nowhere, stood there, smiled, and gave his qualified approval of the old-school uniforms. All this after showing up in the intro of the first episode to talk about the 2007 season and what he expects from the 2008 Illini. My big thing is, why?

This isn't 2007. I feel bad for Leman that he's not on an NFL roster right now, but showing up on a BTN program at your old school on a weekly basis is like going on The Surreal Life to revive your acting career...it's nothing but downhill. Just like the Surreal Life cast members are pretty much doomed to only appearances on other terrible VH1 shows (Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, anyone?), J Leman may be doomed to nothing more than a college legend that couldn't let go. This guy should be working to shape the next phase of his career or life, not hanging on to a team and program that is clearly moving on without him. And that's what it seems like Leman is doing, hanging on. It's fine if he is there to work out while waiting for another shot at the NFL, or if he's getting enough credits for his degree. But J, please...please!...try to avoid the cameras that are following the team. It makes you look a little sad, and takes some of the luster off your great college career.

On the other hand, I almost would love the show even more if the BTN kept showing him every week...kind of in the way that you cheer for crashes in NASCAR.

Other quick-hit thoughts from this weeks show:
1) Juice Williams is a dad? I legitimately did not know this. Also, did anyone else get the feeling that his girlfriend let him get away with not doing many of the chores just because she knows a payday is coming sometime soon?
2)The Zooker says "dad-gum" quite often. Pretty much in every speech he gave, it was "dad-gum this" or "dad-gum that". Does he never swear in general or is he simply just aware of the cameras?
3) Those throwback unis were sweet. I feel like this is true for a lot of teams, and makes you wonder why some teams ever upgraded in the first place?
4) The Zooker was dead-on in his speeches at halftime and after the game. The guy is a great motivator and certainly knew exactly how to handle those situations. Props.

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