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"A Passion Unleashed"

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  • mike2000z@aol.com
    A Passion Unleashed For the first time in my life, I have true passion. That may seem odd to people who followed my career with the Denver Broncos and who
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 1, 2002
      "A Passion Unleashed"

      For the first time in my life, I have true passion.

      That may seem odd to people who followed my career
      with the Denver Broncos and who saw the enthusiasm
      with which I played the game. I enjoyed football, but
      it never defined me. It wasn't my passion in life.

      Coaches at every level since junior high attempted to
      push me to be more aggressive and reckless on the
      field. They wanted me to spend more time with other
      players, talk more football, study more film and make
      other aspects of my life secondary to the pursuit of
      football excellence.

      I could never do it. Of course, I liked the sport a
      lot, and I was good enough at it to get a full
      scholarship to college. Later, I performed well enough
      to make it into the NFL. But still I rarely was social
      with my teammates; I studied just enough film to know
      my assignments, but not a minute more; and I never had
      the type of win-at-all-costs instinct of someone like
      Bill Romanow-ski.

      Ultimately, my lack of true passion for the game very
      likely was the reason my career lasted six years
      rather than 10.

      The same can be said of everything else I'd done in my
      life, including writing columns and books, hosting a
      radio show, working on television, delivering speeches
      and participating in charity events. I've enjoyed all
      of these things, but I've never felt a burning passion
      about a job.

      Until now.

      In the same way that young men and women rushed to
      military recruiters' offices after Sept. 11, I've felt
      compelled to use my column, radio show and speaking
      engagements to defend the U.S. Constitution.

      My passion has been sparked by furious, nationalistic
      flag-waving; the detention of Arab nationals; the
      passing of the misnamed USA Patriot Act; the
      government's decision to listen in on attorney-client
      conversations; the president's executive orders to
      create military tribunals; and his later order to
      ensure that presidential documents could be sealed
      from public view forever.

      These are all direct threats far more devastating than
      anything terrorists could do. The commitment we have
      to our Constitution is very much like that of a
      marriage. Outside forces might be able to burn down
      your home, destroy your car or kill family members,
      but only you and your spouse can initiate a divorce.

      Terrorists have no power to attack the Constitution;
      that assault can be mounted only by the government,
      and it's happening.

      In response to my defense of the Constitution, I've
      been bombarded with voice messages, letters and e-mail
      telling me that I'm a fool; I don't know what I'm
      talking about; I'm in over my head; and I should leave
      the important stuff to the big boys. I've been called
      a traitor, accused of sedition and urged to move to

      I don't argue with much of that. I am a fool. I am in
      over my head. These topics might be better left to
      people with more knowledge than me. But one thing I
      understand is that in times of great danger, every
      American should get in over his head and defend the
      document that makes us unique.

      While other people were buying American flags to put
      on their car antennas, I purchased copies of the U.S.
      Constitution - 500 of them.

      Our government is a powerful, aggressive dog, with
      great speed, sharp teeth and an incredible bite. The
      Constitution is a leash. He's not the type of dog that
      can be trusted off the leash. He'll run away. He'll
      sneak into other people's yards. He'll bite. We have
      control of that dog only while he's on the leash. If
      you'd like a copy of the leash, send me an e-mail.
      I'll be happy to give you one.

      Former Denver Broncos player Reggie Rivers
      (reggierivers@...) writes Thursdays on
      the op-ed page and is a host on KHOW Radio (630 AM,
      weekdays from 3 to 7 p.m.).

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