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Thanks, Sage ... and Jack

Published: Friday, July 19, 2013 11:04 a.m. CDT

Last weekend, veteran NFL quarterback Sage Rosenfels, a former star at Iowa State University, announced he would be filing for retirement after 12 seasons. I’d be a less than honest if I didn’t say it broke my heart.

After playing some for the Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans, New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings, I had hoped someone would give him a chance. Because that’s all he ever really needed.

He made his retirement announcement with the poise and class he’s always carried himself.

“Like most NFL players, I wish I could have played a couple more seasons, but usually the league is done with you before you are done with it.

“It definitely was a roller coaster ride with many ups and downs and not a lot of years where I felt comfortable with my standing on a team. A dozen years of battling every day to make it another year and to prove myself against some of the best athletes in the world.”

One of the absolute pleasures in my journalistic career was the two years I spent covering sports for the Maquoketa Sentinel-Press, and specifically covering Sage. In the process, I came to know his family, which made me respect him as a human being even more.

As a diehard Cyclone fan, and as the “hometown newspaper guy” who got to follow his amazing senior season, I’d like to thank him for one of the most thrilling seasons of football I have ever covered. Knowing what I do about Sage, I know that he will be very successful in whatever he decides to pursue in the future. 

I hope it has something to do with football, because he could really be a positive influence in the lives of many young men. And, if not football, perhaps it could be in basketball, which is — believe it or not — his best sport. But, it could just as easily be in the world of banking, since that is what he earned his degree in, Magna Cum Laude, from ISU.

But what I’d really like to thank him for is the moment he took to thank all of those who helped him along the way. During his announcement, Sage mentioned a lot of names that are very familiar to me. But, he also took the time to mention our mutual friend, Jack Marlowe, Sports Editor Emeritus of the Sentinel-Press. 

I wish more sports writers understood how to cover community sports like Jack still does. For those of you who are old enough to remember, he was cut from the same cloth as legendary long-time Daily News sports editor Ed Peck.

I learned a lot from Jack, and not a week goes by that I don’t think about what he might be cooking up for the Rock Pile in his “Sports Slants” column.

Jack was an 1953 graduate of Maquoketa Community High School, and by his own admission, he wasn’t a star athlete. But, he was the right guy to cover MCHS sports for more than 50 years.

He once covered nine baseball games and the regular races at the Jackson County Speedway, all in a single Saturday. That’s why Jack has been honored with 28 media awards over the years.

In May, MCHS named its sports complex after Jack, and in typical fashion, he informed the crowd that attended the ceremony that he didn’t deserve the honor. But I don’t think Sage and I are alone in our disagreement.

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