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Vince Vitrano: Not For Broadcast

"HE'S NOT SAYING BALLS..."

MY MARK BRUNELL STORY

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I've got reason to root for the Saints Sunday, since old favorite Mark Brunell is a back-up quarterback with New Orleans.

Packer fans will remember, Mark Brunell spent time  backing up Brett Favre in Green Bay. He was a starter for Jacksonville for years, with kind of an ugly stop in Washington. I was surprised when I saw him in a cut-away shot during the NFC Championship game. I didn't know Brunell was still pulling an NFL paycheck, but I was glad to see it, and hope he's enjoying the ride.

One of the all-time good guys in sports, I remember Brunell because he was friendly to me. I used to work at Packer training camp when I was going to college at St. Norbert. I was a bit chummy with a few of the guys, and he was always great to me.

I often remember the time he and Ty Detmer had a pretty good laugh at my expense.

The Packers back then had a great strength and conditioning coach by the name of Kent Johnston. Another really good guy. Coach Johnston was a Texas man with a thick drawl for an accent. I freelanced an article for a Packer newspaper... profile on Johnston... and I was discussing it with Brunell.

Told him how much I liked Coach and how the interview was really interesting.  Then I added, "He's always cool to me, but he's always calling me balls."

"What?" Brunell asked.

"Balls," I said. "He's always saying, 'What's up, balls?"

Brunell laughed. Then he laughed harder.

Then he nudged Detmer. "Hey," he said to me. "Tell him what Kent calls you."

"Balls," I said again. "The man calls me balls."

Now more laughter from both of them. At this point, I'm not getting the joke. Mind you, I mentioned Coach had a thick Texas accent.

"Boss," Brunell said. "He's calling you boss."

"Oh," I said. "Well, that makes more sense then."

emails: vvitrano@todaystmj4.com

follow me on twitter: https://twitter.com/VinceVitrano

 

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