NFL players sometime get a bum rap. We read about the nightclub antics, their brushes with police and domestic disturbances.
Much more often than not, we bet, there are guys like New England Patriots linebacker Dane Fletcher, just out doing a good deed for his former high school, in this case Bozeman (Mont.)
Fletcher, who signed on as an undrafted free agent (another reason to like him) with the Pats in 2010, was part of the 4800 Combine, an event in Bozeman to help kids understand what college recruiters are after.
According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle
, Fletcher not only taught and encouraged, but he signed autographs and took pictures. He told reporter Gidal Kaiser that he particularly wanted to help give players from Montana some exposure.
"(The combine) sounded like a great idea, just to get kids on the map from Montana," he said. "If only maybe one of us had this opportunity, who knows if we'd be in the same spot right now. Maybe we'd have gotten more looks, bigger schools."
Fletcher did it all at Bozeman High. He was an All-State linebacker and tight end. He also played hockey and baseball, where he starred as a catcher. We're guessing now at 6-foot-2 and 244 pounds, no one bowled him over at the plate.
He got a partial football ride to Montana State, where he began on special teams, but then eventually was named Big Sky Defensive MVP. He sees limited time with the Patriots, but not a bad gig. He had a single tackle in New England's 21-17 loss to the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI. He has 55 tackles and two sacks in his NFL career.