Believe it or not, I was once the bodyguard for an NFL linebacker. This slight fellow with biceps the size of the football player's wrists once served as a human shield between DeMeco Ryans and hordes of relentless and ravenous Sharpie-wielding fans clamoring for an autograph like zombies on the hunt for delicious brains. The ominous drone of "Auuuttoooggrrrapphs..." filled the air in horrifying unison as I was the only barrier between the crazed mass and this million dollar, finely-tuned athlete who could crush me if he so chose.
Week after week, the vacuous and ink-thirsty horde came in waves with arms outstretched in starved desperation to obtain the mark of this man I was bound to protect. They moved in on the small corner of the building that served as our safe haven, bringing forth a shadow that made the dark room even darker. The red tips of their Sharpies stood out like the eyes of a thousand devils.
When it seemed like I could no longer hold them back, something would always cause the horde to subside and allow me to wipe away the wet ink that had begun to stream down my face like blood running from a gushing wound. The only thing that could calm this horrid horde was something even more powerful than the lust for an autograph. It was the intoxicating odor of burning flesh coming from the hot and hellish room in the back. It was the lust for...hamburgers.
Yep, hamburgers. See, I wasn't really a "bodyguard" for an NFL linebacker. I worked in promotions for 790 The Sports Animal in Houston and always did the weekly DeMeco Ryan's radio show that took place at a local sports bar famous for its hamburgers. It was my job to keep people in a single-file line and make sure that the rules for getting an autograph were followed. While I may not have actually been protecting anyone, I did play a pretty important role. I mean, if not for me, the line could have become double-file, or even triple-file, and I don't even want to imagine what kind of chaos that could have created.
Because of that radio show, DeMeco Ryans is pretty much the only NFL player I've been within 1000 feet of and I spent an hour with him every week for about seven weeks. He is an awesome guy and could not have been more appreciative of the fans that came out to see him.
And that's why I don't like him being traded from the Texans. I'm not making any judgement on the merits of the trade from the perspective of a running a football franchise. That's not what I do and that's not my role. I'm a fan. And I simply want DeMeco on my team because I want to cheer for him.