Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Posted: 7:22 p.m.
By Brett Ballantini
NEW YORKBack in Tampa, Adam Dunn and I sat and talked for awhile about high school football in Texas.
He starred at New Caney High near Houston, and was a prized Texas Longhorns recruit who was ticketed to start in Austin after redshirting in 1998 as a dual minor league playercollege football quarterback. I went to college in the Lone Star State.
He hung out with running back Ricky Williams, then a similar dual player, albeit one of much greater fame. I hung out with guys who grew up in the glare of Friday Night Lights in west Texas, so I knew more than I wanted to about that football-crazed state.
After first acknowledging the supremacy of my Texas Christian University Horned Frogs over his beloved Longhorns, we laughed over my memories of attending high school playoff games in Dallas that he watched on TV as a nine-year-old.
Tampa marked the first time that the pigskin made its debut with the White Sox, as Dunn and Paul Konerko tossed the ball back and forth, beneath the Trop surface.
Today, Dunn took his skills to the surface, putting a twist on pitching sprints by having the White Sox arms run routes for him, as he launched spirals 50 yards in the airand his troops mostly flailed in trying to run under them.
I try to do it three times a week, especially when it warms up, Dunn said. Its fun. Its good exercise.
Dunn cited Edwin Jackson has the best receiver of the pitchers, and indeed Jackson flashed some speed in chasing down some Dunn bombs.
Jackson mentioned playing some wide receiver in high school, but, true to his nature as a hurler, lost interest because you dont get to throw the ball.
Dunn dismissed many of the other hurlers with his usual, derogatory label of kickers, saying, There are probably a lousy players who are your typical kickers out there.
The troops, including Dunn, were rusty, the affable slugger acknowledged.
None of us were in shape to be doing that, he said. Look at us in July; minicamp time, well be right there.
While Dunn admitted in Tampa that his high school team ran the ball a ton and he threw around 15 passes per game (I had a lot of 12-for-15s with 300 yards, our receivers were awesome), he dreamed like all young Texas boys did of lining up behind center.
Its something Ive done my whole life, he said. But I still enjoy running around and throwing, just like anyone. I just have enough time to do it every day.
With Jay Cutler locked out of the NFL, Dunn said he hasnt given any thought to recasting himself again as a two-sport star.
No, dudes, he said with a laugh. Ive got enough to worry about right now.
Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.