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Thread: Rams drafted 'relentless worker' ..

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    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Rams drafted 'relentless worker' ..

    BY BRYAN BURWELL
    Wednesday, May 9, 2012

    On Saturday afternoon, Rams defensive line coach Mike Waufle and his new best friend Michael Brockers were hanging out in the big second-floor conference room at Rams Park making small talk as the team's first-round draft pick wore out his arm signing a table full of autographed footballs and mini-helmets.

    For Waufle, it was all a part of the natural bonding process between a coach and his latest football apprentice. Getting To Know You 101. It's Waufle's job to make sure that the massive, 6-foot-6, 322-pound rookie hits the ground running because he is being counted on to be the most critical building block in the massive overall of this perennially dysfunctional franchise.

    You wonder why the Rams invested so much effort landing this kid and will now spend even more effort carefully nurturing him with round-the-clock hands-on tutoring? Just listen to someone who knows Brockers best. "This is a young man who understands that what he's just done by becoming a first-round draft pick isn't the end of the journey," says Michael Jackson, Brocker's high school coach. "Mike understands that this wasn't the end of the dream. It is just the beginning. St. Louis probably doesn't know it, because they think drafting a defensive tackle isn't all that sexy. But tell them they're getting a beast. Tell them they're getting a kid who will come in with his lunch pail and work every day because that's what he's done every day of his life."

    BIG MAN OF THE FAMILY

    The kid is being expected to move mountains, and he's very qualified for the gig. Wait until you see him in person. Wait until you see him on a practice field in shorts and pads and you see those long legs, broad shoulders and condor-like arms that make him appear to be some enormous sequoia rumbling down field. He'll have to prove it, earn it and establish it, but the pro football wise guys will tell you he's a young Albert Haynesworth without the bad attitude. That's the sort of anchor this sorry, no-account run defense needs to turn around as fast as Jeff Fisher swears it will.

    And just like his high school coach says, he will put in the work, because that's what he's been doing all his life. The work ethic began because his mother Tiffany raised him right, raised him to believe that hard work doesn't hurt, that taking care of responsibilities is not only an obligation but a necessity.

    When all his other friends were goofing around in the streets back in Houston, young Michael Brockers was trying to find ways to help his single mother of five keep food on the table, clothes on the kids' back and bills paid.

    "I just felt like since I was the oldest in the family, I was old enough to have a job and do my part to help out," Brockers said. "(His mother) was struggling so much just getting us school supplies, school uniforms and stuff like that. She was scuffling just to pay the bills. So I told her 'Mom I'm going to help you out. I'll eliminate me from the equation so all you have to do is focus on the little kids.'"

    So he went off to Hobby Airport to apply for a job in the food court and landed a job at Poppa's Burgers. "I was the shake man," he said. "They hired me to make milkshakes, but I didn't really know what a shake man did."

    Pretty soon, 17-year-old Brockers was his own one-man utility crew behind the counter at Poppa's. "They told me I was the shake guy, but I ended up being the shake guy, the inventory guy, the sweep guy, the dishes guy. I ended up doing everything. But you know what? I loved it. I loved getting those (pay)checks, I loved buying my own clothes. I felt very independent and it felt even better when I knew I was helping my mom by chipping in sometimes to buy shoes for the kids, too. I just wanted to do whatever I could to relieve some stress from my mom."

    Three years earlier, young Michael Brockers was not all that crazy about being the man of the family. Even though he was already big enough to be a man (by the seventh grade he was already 6-2, 220 pounds), he wasn't nearly ready emotionally to take on that sort of responsibility. How many 14-year-old boys want to take on the burden of helping to raise his four younger siblings while his single mother went to every odd job she could get to support the family?

    When all his friends were running off after school to football and basketball practices during the week and hanging out in the streets on the weekends going to parties, young Mike Brockers was hurrying home after school to meet his little brothers and sisters when they got home from grammar school. His job was to cook dinner, make them do their homework, do his homework, give them baths, put them in their pajamas and get them to bed before Tiffany Brockers came home from her night job as a telemarketer for Southwest Bell at 9 p.m.

    "Oh man I hated it at the time," says Michael now. "During that time I was always complaining: 'I have no life. I can't do this, I can't do that.' I didn't understand why I had to sit in the house and baby-sit while everyone else got to go outside. I couldn't go out for football because I had to come home and baby-sit. I missed some basketball games because I had to baby-sit. I just didn't understand why. I kept asking myself why was she doing this to me? I thought it was like a punishment."

    But just like most kids who can't understand the methods of their parents when they are immature high school adolescents, Brockers grew up in his three years at LSU and began to understand what his mother was doing for him and his siblings.

    He wasn't just baby-sitting his siblings. He was also staying off the mean streets of his rugged Houston neighborhood. It's hard to get into trouble running with the wrong crowd when the only crowd you're running with are 5-, 6- and 8-year-old family members in a cramped apartment.

    "I remember one night in high school I wanted to go out to this party and my mom wouldn't let me go because she said I had to watch the kids," Brockers says. "I was real mad, too. But the next day we get up and we're watching the (local TV) news and they said someone got shot at that party I wanted to go to."

    Tiffany Brockers looked at her oldest son and with equal parts fear and relief.

    "She said, 'Thank God you didn't go,'" Michael said. "And I looked at her and I was like 'Yeah, thank God I didn't go!'"

    It was in so many moments like that when it finally started dawning on Tiffany Brockers' biggest boy that she was a lot smarter than he ever imaged. "It's just little things like that that make me realize that mom had the long picture in mind," he said. "By the time I got to college, I could see what she had done. My rap sheet is clean. No crime, no drugs or anything."

    A RELENTLESS WORKER

    The first time Jackson laid his eyes on Michael Brockers, the football coach at Houston's Chavez High School was not terribly impressed. Although the kid was fairly big for an eighth-grader, standing over 6-foot-2 and weighing more than 200 pounds, Brockers was a long, long way from the first-round NFL draft pick he would become.

    "He was wearing a ratty old St. Louis Rams T-shirt," Jackson recalled. "He probably wore that T-shirt two or three times a week. He hadn't played any football like all the other kids and he could barely bench press 95 pounds. My strength coach told me when he got him in the weight room the first time he was just goo. That's what he called him, 'Goo.' A big kid but he as goo, just weak as he could be."

    He did not exactly look like the man-mountain he is today. "He wore glasses and they sat on his face kind of funny," Jackson said. "Not impressive at all. He had a lot of work to do, but the good thing is he did it."

    One year later, he was a 6-4, 250-pound freshman who lived in the weight room.

    "He was just a relentless worker," said Jackson. "But we couldn't put weight on him or keep weight on him. Even though he was 6-6, 255 by his senior year, he could have been a lot bigger. But we just couldn't keep weight on him even though he was a workout fiend. Because he came from a very poor family, he wasn't getting the nutrition he needed. But he worked so hard and had such a fast metabolism. You couldn't run him out of the weight room. You knew when he got to LSU and got to a real training table and with a world-class strength coach and was able to drink muscle milk and everything else he needed, we knew this kid would blow up."

    Though he doesn't talk very much about his father, Brockers comes by this football talent honestly. Melvin Evans, who played one season with the Dallas Cowboys 1992 Super Bowl champion team as a 6-4, 330 offensive lineman, met Tiffany Brockers when he was a college student at Texas Southern University. After Tiffany got pregnant, Evans dropped out of sight and has had little or no contact with her or Michael since the day he was born (Dec. 21, 1990).

    Jackson said he never once saw Evans at one of Michael's games in four years at Chavez High. So even though Evans supplied the football DNA, Tiffany Brockers created the work ethic that made her son into the player he is today. But Jackson knew by the time the kid went off to LSU on a scholarship as a three-star recruit, he was on his way to becoming an NFL draft pick.

    "I told (LSU coach) Les Miles this kid is going to make a lot of money one day, but I was wrong about him being a left tackle," said Jackson. "I swore he was going to be protecting someone's blind side."

    Once at LSU, it didn't take Brockers long to put on weight. He came in as a defensive end, but after red shirting his first year in Baton Rouge, he was moved to defensive tackle last season, but he weighed only 280 pounds. "When I transferred from an end to a tackle I was getting bounced around," said Brockers. "Especially on power plays and stuff like that I was getting knocked over and on the ground all the time so I had it on my mind, they aren't going to move me anymore. I went on an eating binge and put on weight so they couldn't move me anymore."

    When he came back for his red-shirt sophomore year in 2011, Brockers had ballooned to over 300 pounds and looked like a sequoia tree. Now no one was shoving him aside. He was doing all the shoving, and even though he says he wasn't thinking much about turning pro, that didn't stop NFL scouts from salivating that he might come out at the end of the season.

    "I was never thinking that way," said Brockers. "I wanted to keep playing at LSU. I wanted to graduate with the guys I came in with and win a couple of national titles before I left. But it didn't work out that way."

    It didn't work out that way because his family was back in Houston struggling to survive. Michael had not been home for more than a year and didn't know that his mother was forced to move out of a nicer house that they lived in when he was in high school into a cramped apartment in one of the worst sections of Houston. His mother never told him what was going on at home, but when Brockers went back to Houston last Christmas Eve, he could not believe how much hard times his family had fallen on.

    "It was awful," he said. "There was trash all over the place outside. Garbage on the ground all over the place. As I walked through this mess, I kept saying to myself, 'I hope it looks better inside the apartment.'"

    It didn't.

    "I walked in and I hated it," he said. "I couldn't even stay in the apartment. I just stayed in the car. Every time I did go back into the apartment, I said 'I hate this. This isn't us. This isn't you, mom?' It was too small for all of them to be living in. All the appliances were old. I was opening up the cabinets where the food was and there were roaches crawling all over the place and I just shook my head and kept saying to myself 'This is not us. This is not us.'"

    The same paternal instincts he developed as a teenaged kid working for minimum wage at Poppa's Burgers were taking over again. "It just didn't sit right with me in my soul to see my family living in those conditions," Brockers said.

    And now, because of football, he was in a position to make a whole lot more money than a shake man could bring in. So he made up his mind right then and there that the Bowl Championship Series national championship game against Alabama in a few weeks would be his last game as a collegian. "I said it's time to change this," Brockers said. "I didn't care if I went in the third round. The money would still be good enough to change their lives."

    Now he is a father-to-be himself, engaged to a young lady named Faith Youngblood, and he can't wait to do all the right things that his biological father never bothered to do.

    "And I promise you," he says with a proud smile. "I will know what to do. Being a father is going to be an amazing thing."
    lostsoul likes this.


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    Re: Rams drafted 'relentless worker' ..

    "This is a young man who understands that what he's just done by becoming a first-round draft pick isn't the end of the journey," says Michael Jackson
    Jackson further stated about Brockers, "He's Bad! WHOOO! HEEHEE! ShaMON!
    he's a young Albert Haynesworth without the bad attitude.
    I think my heart just skipped a beat!






    This is an amazing story. How can anyone not root for this guy? I know I just became a bigger Brockers fan just reading it.
    Last edited by HUbison; -05-09-2012 at 03:51 PM.
    RAMarkable and lostsoul like this.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Rams drafted 'relentless worker' ..

    Quote Originally Posted by MauiRam View Post
    engaged to a young lady named Faith Youngblood
    If that isn't a good omen, I don't know what is!

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    Re: Rams drafted 'relentless worker' ..

    The Rams have gotten plenty of people bent out of shape for drafting guys with "red flag" character issues. How could anyone have better charachter than Brockers? What a great story.

    I agree with Av, the omen of being engaged to a woman named Youngblood is perfect. It is unclear from the story whether Faith Youngblood is related to Jack Youngblood, but can you imagine the bloodline? With the 32nd pick in the 2033 draft, the Rams select Michael Younglood Brockers Jr, Offensive Tackle, Stanford.

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel
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    Re: Rams drafted 'relentless worker' ..

    "time to go to work"
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    Re: Rams drafted 'relentless worker' ..

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    This is an amazing story. How can anyone not root for this guy? I know I just became a bigger Brockers fan just reading it.
    I couldn't agree more. This kid sounds like smething very special, in every way. I can't wait to see him join Long, Quinn and Langford.

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    If that isn't a good omen, I don't know what is!
    Well, how about this:

    He was wearing a ratty old St. Louis Rams T-shirt," Jackson recalled. "He probably wore that T-shirt two or three times a week".

    Inspiring story, fiance is named Youngblood, sported a Rams shirt as a kid, could you script this any better??

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    Re: Rams drafted 'relentless worker' ..

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    I couldn't agree more. This kid sounds like smething very special, in every way. I can't wait to see him join Long, Quinn and Langford.



    Well, how about this:




    Inspiring story, fiance is named Youngblood, sported a Rams shirt as a kid, could you script this any better??
    Alright, I'm sold! Pass the dadgum Koolaid...I'm on the official Michael Brockers Bandwagon!!

    Can't wait to see this kid in action....GO Rams!!

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    Re: Rams drafted 'relentless worker' ..

    I was already a big fan of this pick at the draft seeing that the Rams had a glaring hole at Defensive Tackle, and this guy is big.

    After reading this, I am a huge fan of his. Just to hear about how much he cares for his family and his work ethic. It makes me so excited about his potential.

    Go Rams 2012

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    Re: Rams drafted 'relentless worker' ..

    Well, we know one thing for darn sure...He won't let himself lose his job any time soon. I think it's safe to say we've got a workhorse on our hands, gentlemen.

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    Re: Rams drafted 'relentless worker' ..

    Feel good story / good read. Now there's some noble character! Much appreciated.

    Imagine if MB remains with us as he develops / matures into a seasoned pro. Could become a fearsome force with the Rams.

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