Football Is Here – Lawton’s Contribution To The Pros Our Best 5
This day is like no other. It marks not only the beginning of a new month, but the turning of the seasons. We say so long to summer and the heat and now turn our attention to the cooler weather and the sport that accompanies it. Football! Many guys dream that some day when they get married, they’ll have a son who will grow up and play football. Yeah it starts out in the fun “Pee-Wee” leagues. But it starts to get important about the time middle school arrives and you start taking an in depth look at the future possibilities.
High school rolls around and you wonder at which college or university your son might be heading off to, and will he take on football there? The possibility of him playing football past college is a dream that many have but most do not achieve.
But here in Lawton, many have had the dream and mad it a reality. The 3 high schools here, Lawton High, MacArthur and Eisenhower have had a combined 23 walk through their halls, graduate and move on up the ladder. LHS has15 on the NFL roster, MAC has 3 and IKE has 5. Here is a sampling of Lawton talent that made it to the NFL.
WILL SHIELDS ~ Lawton High School
Will was an offensive guard to reckoned with. He was an All State choice while at Lawton High. He finished his career there and headed North to Nebraska for his college playing days.
He was a rare three-time All-Big Eight choice and the second Outland Trophy winner to play for the Chiefs.
All American first and second team while at Nebraska, and the first player from Oklahoma to play for the Huskers.
Joined the Kansas City Chiefs through the NFL draft of 1993 going in the 3rd round. His first pro game was against the Houston Oilers. He started in 231 consecutive games including playoffs. He was named to the Pro-Bowl every year that he played for the chiefs. 12 seasons and that is a Chief’s record.
Will has a charitable foundation called “Will To Succeed” which he is very active. Will retired from pro football in April of 2007.
MIKE MINTER ~ Lawton High School
Minter attended Lawton High School in Lawton, Oklahoma where he started as running back and free safety. As a running back, he led the state with 1,589 yards rushing and 21 touchdowns on 187 carries as a senior.
His college of choice was North of the border into Nebraska. As a Cornhusker he was a member of two National Championship teams 1994 and 1995.
He earned many Big Eight and Big 12 honors while at Nebraska. He entered the NFL Draft in 1997 and was chosen by the Carolina Panthers in the 2nd round.
His rookie year was impressive with 83 tackles and 3.5 sacks , two forced fumbles and two recoveries in just 11 games. His overall record in nine seasons (all with the Panthers) he made 790 tackles, had 9.5 sacks and intercepted the football 15 times and returned them for a combined 371 yards and 4 touchdowns.
He retired form football due to continual knee issues and now is the head of football operations for First Assembly Christian School in Concord, North Carolina
JAMAL BROWN ~ MacArthur High School
Jamal Brown played football and was a Letterman for the Highlanders. He earned all state honors for defensive lineman his senior year, graduating in 2000.
He was recruited by Bob Stoops and started on the defensive side as a lineman. His Sophomore year he crossed over and went on the offensive line where he became a tough competitor.
He was the anchor of the line that helped his team mate Adrian Peterson earn rushing record after record in 2004 and also setting the stage for Jamal to win the Outland Trophy that same year.
He entered the NFL draft in 2005 and was selected by the New Orleans Saints. He has been a Pro Bowl selection twice and was on the Saints Super Bowl team for Super Bowl XLIV. Jamal was traded to the Washington Redskins in 2010 where he currently plays.
LARRY BIRDINE ~ Eisenhower High School
Larry was a two letter winner during his years at Eisenhower high School. An all stater his Senior year racking up 147 tackles and 8 sacks.
Birdine went on to play for the University of Oklahoma where he was credited with 103 tackles, 61 being solo and 14.5 sacks.
Birdine, who entered the NFL with Green Bay as a college free agent on May 4, 2007, he was waived by Green Bay 9/1/07; Signed by Tennessee (practice squad) 9/4/07 then signed by Denver 11/6/07. We later resigned by the Titans for the 2009 season.Also had affiliations with he San Fransisco 49ers.
ANTONIO PERKINS ~ Lawton High School
Antonio played his high school ball at Lawton High. As a Wolverine, he played cornerback and lettered in the sport he loves football.
He went on to play cornerback for Oklahoma and played in 47 games under Bob Stoops, making 125 tackles and 1 sack.
He will be remembered most for his punt returns. He scored on 3 returns against UCLA in 2003 and racked up 277 yards in the process. This set a NCAA record. He is also tied with Wes Welker and Ted Ginn Jr for the most punt returns for touchdowns.
That number is 8 and it also is a NCAA record. Antonio was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2005. He played one game in 2005 and was activated for five games in 2006.
The Browns waived him in 2007 and he was picked up by the Indianapolis Colts and released shortly before the end of training camp.
In 2008 the Toronto Argonauts signed Perkins as a free agent but was cut before the end of the summer.
Another season begins. Boys don pads and helmets for the first time. Older boys get taped up to hit the grid iron. College guys need ice after games to ease the pain. And more pros are going into the Hall of Fame. It starts off as a dream but may become a reality. Just look at these five from Lawton. Do you think there was a dream or two involved?