It is football season now, or should I say American Football season, because it is always football (soccer) season here in Mexico. It is my favorite time of year, and this weekend was the opening week for the NFL, and the second week of college football. As a lot of you blog readers may already know, I am a big football fan, and watch any games I can get down here.
Where I am staying now, (that is another story and a post I will write later this week), has great internet, and I spent this past weekend, watching college and NFL games on my computer. I mean I barely left the house this weekend, I just watched football for two solid days. I have not be able to do that in a long time.
Well last night I was watching Monday Night Football, and the Philadelphia Eagles were playing the Atlanta Falcons to be specific. It was towards the end of the game and the announcer said “Josh Huff, with a big catch down the field, for the Eagles”. I sat up and remembered, Josh Huff was on a cruise ship here at the end of June, right before the preseason started. I had forgotten he had been here, and several people including Carlos at Costa Maya Real Estate had met him while he was here. I had meant to mention it in an article, but I had forgotten, but his big catch made me sit up and remember.
It was the last Thursday in June, I think, right before NFL training camps opened. I was on the malecon dealing with the cruise ship tourists, and I got a text and a photo from Carlos, that showed a friend of his and wide receiver Josh Huff of the Philadelphia Eagles in New Mahahual in a restaurant right next door to the Costa Maya Real Estate office. Carlos knows I like football and sent me a message asking me did I know who this guy was.
Well of course I did, Josh Huff is a second year player from the University of Oregon, and even played for the Eagles coach, Chip Kelly, when he was head coach at Oregon. Josh Huff was a standout receiver for the Oregon Ducks, the last couple of years before he went to the Eagles. I used to watch him play, and man, he is a fast runner. He was the big time receiver for Oregon when he was there, and he was a high draft pick.
I think he was here on a cruise ship vacation, right before he reported to training camp. I did not get to meet him, just my luck, but Carlos and several other people got to meet with him and talk to him, very nice guy I heard. Me, the biggest football fan in Mahahual, missed my chance to meet a great player from one of my favorite college teams, the Oregon Ducks. I did get a photo though.
Here is Josh Huff’s official biography from the Eagles website.
“One of the most productive receivers in the history of Oregon football, Josh Huff was a third-round draft pick of the Eagles in 2014 and burst onto the scene as a special teams standout for the Birds, setting a franchise record with his 107-yard kickoff return fo ra score vs. Ten. (11/23/14). Huff established school records in 2013 with 1,140 receiving yards, 12 touchdown grabs and six 100-yard games. The Houston, TX, native finished his career at Oregon tied for first all-time
with 24 TDs, seventh in receiving yards (2,366)
and eighth in receptions (144).”
• Recorded a 44-yard catch, the longest of his career,vs. Dal. (12/14)
• Named the Week 12 NFC Special Teams Player of
the Week after he scored the first touchdown of his career and set an Eagles record with a 107-yard kickoff return on the opening kickoff vs. Ten. (11/23)
• Notched a career-high three receptions for 26
yards (8.7 avg.) at Hou. (11/2), with all three catches going for first downs
• Recorded one catch for 4 yards in his NFL debut vs.StL (10/5)
• Although he began playing organized football at the age of 9, Huff’s love for the game was evident at an even earlier age. Starting when he was a 3-year old, Huff carried a football around wherever he went and even took it to bed. Recalled Huff, “My dad would try to take it away, but I would always cry.”
• One of his favorite memories growing up occurred when he was 11 years old. Huff used to play in pickup, 11-on-11 games in his neighborhood with guys that were 18 to 20 years old. Said Huff, “I used to get hit pretty hard, but I loved playing. The one moment I will never forget is returning a kickoff and running down the sideline. A big guy had the perfect angle to get me down, but I dodged the tackle by running in between his legs and scored.”
• Models his game after Ravens WR Steve Smith, Sr. “He’s short and I’m short. He’s got heart and I’ve got heart. He plays with tenacity and I play with tenacity.”
• Names his father, Donald Simpson, as the most
influential person in his life. Huff admires how
humble and hard-working Simpson is in his job as
a crane operator, working up to 15 hours per day.
“He takes so much pride in that job.”
But Josh Huff is not the only NFL player we have had in Mahahual off of a cruise ship. Josh Huff reminded me of some other NFL players we had visit Mahahual a couple of years back. Some New Orleans players, including Chris Ivory, who is now a big time running back for the New York Jets, showed up one day at the Tropicante, and I got to talk to them. In fact, I wrote a story about it for my personal blog, and I will share it now.
I wrote this on January, 16, 2013, for http://www.oasisresortbelize.wordpress.com and I am enclosing whole article.
Yesterday was kind of a slow day here in Mahahual. There was only one ship in town, The Star out of New Orleans docked at 10am and was here until 6pm. It was king of overcast and the weather was not great, so a lot of people stayed on the ship and did not a lot of excursions. Well after a day of work at the port, I headed out into Mahahual to check on the tourists and see what was going on in town and have some lunch. I was at my usual spot on the beach and just finished lunch when I noticed on the beach in front of me about 5 guys and their wives and girlfriends. These guys were big guys and several of the black guys were not that big but you could tell they were very athletic by their build and stature. I have been around a lot of football players in my day, and I said to myself these guys got to play football. What I also noticed was that several of the guys were wearing New Orleans Saints shirts, and it hit me the Star cruise ship leaves from New Orleans, and these guys play for the Saints. Well they were drinking and having a good time on the beach, and every one of them had a very attractive wife or girlfriend. Well after a while it got late and it got time for people to start getting into taxis and heading back to the ship to get back in time for ship to depart. I was sitting in my chair and one of the wives of one of the football players saw me and noticed my hat and asked what kind of hat was I wearing and I told her it was my South Carolina Gamecock hat for my alma mater, University of South Carolina. Her husband said ” South Carolina”, and kind of laughed. He was huge so I did not say anything. She then asked me did I live here and all the usual questions, and I told her yes, and I asked her these guys are New Orleans Saints football players aren’t they? She said yes how did you figure that out, I told her these are the biggest guys we have had on the beach all year, and I noticed the shirts and the guy with dread locks I had seen before. I asked her if I would have heard of any of these players and she told me yes one of the players was Chris Ivory, a running back. I told her I had heard of him and then asked them if they had ever heard of George Rogers who went to college with me and then ended up being Rookie of the Year for the Saints in the early 1980s. They all looked at each other and said no, man did I feel old then. Well they had a good time and got into a taxi and headed back to their ship and expressed what a good time they had in Mahahual and the Tropicante. You meet all kinds of different and interesting people in Mahahual on the beach.
So happy football season everybody, and we will be watching down here in Mahahual. We are throwing my football around on the malecon now, football season is in full swing here.
Thanks for reading,
Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina