If you came here looking for answers, you're out of luck. I have no answers. Not when the topic is New Orleans Saints fullback Kyle Eckel. And not when the question is this: Why is Eckel, who ran for 1,147 yards at Navy in 2004, playing in Super Bowl XLIV instead of fulfilling his military obligation in the United States Navy?Eckel won't tell because he can handle his shame. Anyway, he has more important things to do than his classmates.
That's a big, meaty question. And I'm but a small, scrawny sports writer, one who cannot answer it. Nor will I fill in the blanks with my version of Right and Wrong. Not this time. Not on this topic. It's too large, too powerful. Too real.
U.S. soldiers are dying in Afghanistan. One died just Monday in southern Afghanistan, blown up by an improvised bomb. And I'm supposed to sit here in my cozy media work room in Miami and demand to know why Kyle Eckel is playing football for the Saints while some of his classmates are tiptoeing around IED's in Kabul? Sorry. Can't do it.
The best I can do is try to explain why Eckel is here, in Miami, instead of there, in the war zone. And even then I'll be operating blindfolded, because nobody is illuminating this story, including Kyle Eckel. I asked him, though. Believe me, I tried.
If you need a reminder of what I had to say about Eckel, here is my take back in NOV 06.
Eckel's shame is something he will have to deal with every time he looks in the mirror. If you want to know who a real Navy Football player is - and one who represents the team and the USNA at its finest - click here.