Tree-Huggers, Meet Your Redwoods! Fledgling San Francisco Football Team Signs 31 Guys ... You Likely Never Heard Of.
Jerry Seinfeld once noted that, due to rampant player turnover, sports fans are "basically rooting for clothing." If so, that's bad news for any would-be fans of the fledgling United Football League's California Redwoods (I christen them "Tree-Huggers").
Joe Eskenazi Who is man enough to wear this jersey?
As revealed last week, the team's first-year duds will be an unimaginative league template prominently featuring Jolly Rancher green and teal (they swear it's "light blue"). You will not buy this jersey. You will not wear this jersey without someone assuming you are employed by the team, lost a bet, or have color-confusion issues.
So it'll take some pretty big names to offset duds like this. How about Obafemi Ayanbadejo? That's a pretty big name -- 17 letters. And, quite seriously, he did have a productive decade in the NFL (before flunking that drug test...) The signing of Ayanbadejo and 30 other Redwoods players was announced today; 13 of these men were among the 19 guys the team signed in June. Will you recognize any of them? Not likely -- as we noted in June, they could have all been riding on this morning's N-Judah and we wouldn't have noticed. Hell, they could have even been driving the train. But a couple of these names do stand out for local fans.
For one, the team signed former U.C. Berkeley linebacker Worrell Williams -- a damn good player I watched for years from Tightwad Hill who didn't stick at the 49ers' camp this year.
And while no Stanford players are on this list, Bay Area fans may recognize some names from Pac-10 competition: Running back Derrell Hutsona from Washington State; defensive end Jason Parker from Arizona, and wideout Sonny Shackelford from Washington.
Of course, the team's two quarterbacks, Brett Dietz and Liam O'Hagan, hail from Hanover and Harvard, respectively. Hanover, it turns out, is "Indiana's oldest private, liberal arts college," and Harvard is the alma mater of former roommates Al Gore and Tommy Lee Jones -- but neither is exactly an incubator of professional football talent (yes, we know about Ryan Fitzpatrick).
So while we're interested in $10 to $20 AT&T Park tickets featuring almost NFL-quality players -- this does concern us. As the old saying goes, the most important man on the field is the quarterback -- and the second-most important man is the backup quarterback. Just who is behind center for the Redwoods will go a long way toward determining if 20 bucks per ticket is a deal or not.
Pos. Player College
-- TE Allan, Michael Whitworth
-- RB Ayanbadejo, Obafemi San Diego State
-- LS Brown, Kai Brown
-- DE Carrington, Paul Central Florida
-- LB Crum, Maurice Notre Dame
-- QB Dietz, Brett Hanover
-- LB Hannah, Nick Eastern Oregon State
-- RB Hutsona, Derrell Washington State
-- LB Kwateng, Prince Northwestern
-- TE Ledbetter, Branden W. Michigan
-- DS LeJeune, Norman LSU
-- OT Luellen, Tyler Missouri
-- C Mabry, Mike Central Florida
-- CB Moten, Eddie Texas A&M Kingsville
-- QB O'Hagan, Liam Harvard
-- LB Osborn, Nick San Diego State
-- DE Parker, Jason Arizona
-- DB Prude, Ronnie LSU
-- WR Rice, Brandon Cal Davis
-- RB Ross, Cory Nebraska
-- OG Ross, Isaiah Nevada
-- WR Sams, BJ McNeese State
-- DE Schable, AJ South Dakota
-- WR Shackelford, Sonny Washington
-- NT Stewart, Jason Fresno State
-- DE Suggs, Damon Georgia Southern
-- DB Treaudo, Ahmad Southern
-- DB Unertl, Jeremy Wisconsin-LaCrosse
-- RB Washington, John David Morehouse
-- WR West, Joe Texas-El Paso
-- LB Williams, Worrell California