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Thread: Wheeler only behind von miller at position

  1. #1
    Meninblack's Avatar
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    Wheeler only behind von miller at position

    and the whole wheeler stort-must resign

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. --

    Raiders linebacker Philip Wheeler wanted nothing else in life but to be an NFL player, and he has scars all over his arms to prove it.

    The football field at Blackmon Road Middle School in Columbus, Ga., is nothing but dirt and rocks, and Wheeler learned the hard way to make a tackle.

    "We didn't have chalked-out lines or numbers, no grass, just rocks and dirt," Wheeler said. "We were a tough team, part of the reason we won the city championship."

    Wheeler, the 36th NFL player from Columbus, is still playing with reckless abandon, almost as if his long hair was on fire. He's finally making a name for himself in his fifth year in the NFL and his first with the Raiders.

    After playing only 58 percent of the snaps for a conservative Indianapolis defense last year, he has been turned loose by Oakland.

    Wheeler has played 98 percent of the Raiders' snaps, and he does it all. The 6-foot-2, 240-pound outside linebacker leads the team in tackles with 104 and has three sacks, and his 27 quarterback pressures (on only 113 rushes) are second-most in the league at his position to Denver's Von Miller, according to Pro Football Focus.

    Special teams to start A couple of his former teammates, including Raiders safety Matt Giordano,are not surprised by his emergence.

    "He's been given more responsibility here, and he's made the most of it," said Giordano, who played with Wheeler on the Colts in 2008. "He can rush the passer, tackle and cover."

    Wheeler was drafted out of Georgia Tech in the third round in 2008 and played special teams primarily early on. Giordano and former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning still remember when he "walloped" a guy on punt coverage to introduce himself to the league.

    "Philip was a great athlete," said Manning, now with the Broncos. "He got there and could really run. I'm seeing the things that I saw when he was in Indy - athletic, covers a lot of ground, plays physical. He's a good player."

    "He's a football player," Giordano said. "He doesn't care about size, speed or anything. He is going to hit you."

    Wheeler grew up getting into fights. He was suspended twice in preschool, once for fighting and once for cussing out a butterfly that got in his way. He said he doesn't have a father, and his mother, Phyllis, was working hard, so Wheeler was always out and had a nose for trouble.

    "No major crimes, just stupid stuff and a lot of fighting," Wheeler said. "That's just something that happens at tough schools - but I wouldn't get in fights during football season."

    Cleaning up his act The many suspensions that started in preschool finally stopped his junior year in high school, when Wheeler realized he had an excellent chance to go to college on a football scholarship.

    "Philip was a hard charger, and, as a defensive end for us, he was always in the play," said Shaw High School coach Scott Newman,who was an assistant when Wheeler played there. "His quickness made him unblockable. He did great things for us."

    From there, he went to Georgia Tech, in large part because he loved the city of Atlanta and it wasn't too far from home. He had 15 sacks his last two years there, playing all the linebacker spots for Chan Gailey's team.

    "He had his hand on the ground every snap in high school," said Gailey, now the Bills' head coach, "but talent and hard work made him into a great player, and he just keeps getting better."

    Former Tech teammate KaMichael Hall had a good description of how Wheeler was always darting around on the field.

    "He has catlike reflexes," Hall said. "Just like a falling cat always lands on its feet, Philip always ends up on his."

    Distinctive dreadlocks It was at Tech that Wheeler decided to let his hair go.

    "I was tired of getting haircuts, and in college you try new things, so I went with dreadlocks for a while," Wheeler said. "And now it's been eight years that I have been growing my hair out."

    Wheeler has also been growing into his role of playmaker, after four years of just being a role player with the Colts.
    ottomatic1, Godinez84 and TokyoLA like this.

  2. #2
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    Makes me feel better about putting him at IDP this week

    "The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority.
    The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority.
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    A. A. Milne

  3. #3
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    These under the radar additions show what Reggie can do. We need to be a little more patient.
    Godinez84 likes this.

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    LOL...punk a$$ butterflies.

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