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Joey Part Two

How Harrington Keeps Winning

The Team

The Team

First, he’s smart.

Joey Harrington’s NFL education included classes in Detroit, Miami, Atlanta, and New Orleans.

Eight years in the grinder of pro ball is long enough to qualify him for every NFL pension plan on the books.

He passed that test. He’s no baby boomer, but every boomer in America wants that pension once they look at their retirement.

His career was one part merry-go-round, one part yo-yo with so many cuts and signings on bad teams circling the drain.

Still, when you add it up, it’s eight years in The League. Jim Brown played nine. Gale Sayers played seven.

Before you say, “Yeah, but it’s different times and different people,” remind yourself how many seasons you played football. Start with your first  helmet wearing season.

Joey’s got you beat.

So what does a man with a secure future do with his time besides joining an elite college football broadcasting team on Fox Sports? He finds ways to make a difference.

Call it the Harrington Plan.

On June 21-23, teams of PAC12 greats meet on the Southwest Oregon coast for the Battle at Bandon. Amateur golfers join two celebrity athletes from each school for a handicapped tournament. Comcast Sports News NW offers a drawing to play the best golf course in America.

Calling Bandon Dunes home of the best golf courses on the planet sounds like hype until it comes from Golf Odyssey, but that’s where the winners from will play. That’s where Joey Harrington will be, too.

News of the Battle at Bandon came while I was driving my car. 1080 The Fan rolled out of the radio. The Prime Time interview featured Joey Harrington.

If Joey’s on the radio, or television, I don’t turn the channel. He’s been one of my favorite guys in sport. I don’t expect his inner-Roy Hibbert to jump out during an interview. As a Cowboy fan for life, I see more than a little Troy Aikman in Harrington.

On this particular day Joey talked about his new role as a broadcaster. He’s moving up the food chain to a bigger gig on Fox College Football.

When radio’s Isaac Ropp asked who he liked as color man in the broadcast booth, one name came up, an unexpected name, but one that showed Joey has more heart than the NFL ever gave him credit for.

First he mentioned Keith ‘we’ve got a barn-burner tonight’ Jackson.Then he mentioned Aikman, a good call. Then he said two words I would never expect out of Harrington’s mouth.

He said Matt Millen was a good listen, a favorite analyst. Matt Millen?

Without dipping into the slop of history known as Detroit Lion football, Millen was their CEO/ General Manager when they drafted Joey. He took an Oregon Duck quarterback whose team just finished #2 in the nation and threw him to the, well, Lions.

And the Lions were hungry.

This week Joey Harrington said something positive about the man often considered the worst executive in the history of professional sports. You get that sort of notice when you lead a team from the basement to the sewer. While Millen’s career path went from bad to worse, he received a contract extension by the Lions’ owners.

The Ford family handing more money to GM Millen might as well have sent matching funds to the other GM, General Motors. Throwing a load of cash at a burning problem never works. The Fords should have learned after their Pinto problem.

Today’s Lions are a different cat than the team Joey joined. Their Oregon connection is Ndamukong Suh. Joey’s a different cat, too. His Oregon connection never changed. The Battle At Bandon is a natural move for him.

Matt Millen won’t be there, or in Detroit, but there’s a new Portland sports connection for Motor City to chew up: Former Blazer Coach Maurice Cheeks is the new Piston’s coach.

The legacy from the Pacific to the Midwest continues.

Just don’t blame Oregon.

(originally posted on










About David Gillaspie
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