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Kirk Mee Tournament turns 15

Former NFL greats tee it up at Snow Hill

May 13, 2011

Former Chicago Bear Mike Blazitz (at left) and NFL Hall of Famer Leroy Kelly were in the field for the 15th annual Kirk Mee NFL Celebrity Golf Tournament.

Former Chicago Bear Mike Blazitz (at left) and NFL Hall of Famer Leroy Kelly were in the field for the 15th annual Kirk Mee NFL Celebrity Golf Tournament.

PHOTO GALLERY

For the first time in quite a while, rainy weather slid into the backseat as the 15th Annual Wilmington College/Kirk Mee NFL Celebrity Golf Tournament went off without a drizzly hitch at Snow Hill Country Club Friday.

The event, hosted by 1961 Wilmington College graduate Kirk Mee III, grouped NFL and other athletic greats with local players. The winning team of former Cincinnati Bengals All-Pro safety David Fulcher, Jeff Cooley, Mike Dunlap, Phil Roberts and Kerry Steed shot 15-under par 55.

For many, the event served as a homecoming away from home. Leroy Kelly — a 1994 NFL Hall of Fame inductee — said his springtime roads routinely travel through Clinton County. He said his hope for the fall is an avoidance of an NFL lockout.

“It’s the same old, same old. Just trying to play a few tournaments and stay healthy,” Kelly said. “I think they will get the lockout settled. There’s just too much money involved for them not to get it settled. There are some stubborn people involved, but I think we will have a season. My last year, 1974, we had a light strike. There is just too much at risk for both sides.”

Former Cincinnati Bengals fullback Pete Johnson said the damage done by Major League Baseball’s most recent labor trouble should serve as a warning to those who make a living in the NFL.

“They saw what happened to baseball. I don’t think they’re going to let that happen to football,” Johnson said.

Former Bengals defensive back Louis Breeden made his first appearance in Clinton County since training camp at Wilmington College in 1987.

“They’ve been looking for me, but I haven’t been in the area for a long time,” said Breeden, who ended his 10-year career with 33 interceptions. “I’ve got my aches and pains, but a lot of the guys who didn’t play professional football have their aches and pains — it’s all relative. I’m still upright, so I’m happy.”

Ickey Woods, who made the “Ickey Shuffle” a household dance during the Bengals’ run to the 1988 Super Bowl, was presented a donation by Wilmington College for the Jovante Woods Foundation.

“I lost my son to asthma, and there’s no pain worse than losing a child. Hopefully we can find a way to treat asthma better than what we’re doing right now,” Woods said. “Asthma is the fastest growing disease in America that gets the least attention. We thought we had it under control, but we didn’t, and that cost us our son. We’re trying to enlighten and educate people on the severity of asthma.”

The Kirk Meet outing continued its tradition of transcending football lines. On hand were former University of Cincinnati and Olympic gold medal basketball player George Wilson. Making his first appearance at the local outing was Butch Reynolds (shown at left), who was a member of the United States 4x400 meter relay team that ran to gold in the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea.

“I’m training athletes, training kids, just trying to make life better,” said Reynolds, the former speed and conditioning coach for The Ohio State University football team. “I have a wellness program that encourages people to drink water and eat more fruits and vegetables. With the obesity issue in this country, people need encouragement. People always ask me about the gold medal. I tell them that you’re always happy whenever you achieve a goal, but what you are doing today is more important than what you did yesterday. I’m very blessed to have good health. I’m just trying to give back.”