Marvin Jones, coach of the Cincinnati Rams grabbed the whistle that hung from a lanyard around his neck, and blew a sharp blast. He pointed to one of the scarlet-.and white-clad players getting up off the ground, brushing dirt from his uniform. “Damn it Smitty, my sister could make a better tackle than that. You’re not at a tea dance. If you’re gonna tackle someone, tackle ‘em!”
Jones shook his head and spoke to the air. “Great bunch of football players they sent me. They don’t need a coach, they need a choreographer. If these dodos win one game this year, I’ll give back my salary.”
Jones gazed up at the clouds, hoping for rain, snow, hail anything to bring an end to this practice session. What he needed was a stiff drink. At six-two, two-hundred-twenty pounds of solid muscle, Marvin Jones was close to the shape he’d been in when he was a Pro Bowl linebacker for the Cleveland Browns ten years ago. Now, after a stint as Offensive Coach for the Cincinnati Rams, he was starting his third year as their head coach. The fans and head office had given him two years to grow into the job; they were getting impatient waiting for him to produce a team that would make it to the Super Bowl. Jones wasn’t a bad coach. Actually, his team had more wins than losses in each of the past two years. Trouble was, the team was never quite good enough to make the play-offs, nor bad enough to make it high enough in the draft to get quality players. As a result, he had to make- do with mediocre players.
He felt a tug on his sweatshirt and turned to see who was trying to get his attention.
“Uh, Coach.” The quiet voice belonged to a tall, thin, red-haired kid, about twenty-five who was pulling on Jones’ shirt.
Jones pulled his shirt out of the young man’s grasp. “Who’re you and what are you doin’ here on our practice field. Better beat it before someone runs over you, squashes you like a bug.”
The guy made no move to leave. He opened his mouth to say something, but Jones pushed him aside. “Get lost!”
The boy held his ground. “Coach Jones, I think I can be an asset to your team.”
Jones snorted. “You don’t stop bothering me, I’ll kick your ‘asset’ right out of here.”
“My name is, uh, Xa—Max.”
“I don’t care if your name is Joe Montana.” He gazed around. Where were the stadium guards that were supposed to keep these pests off the field