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"Who?", you ask! Brian Flones. He is the definition of Unvy!
Did you know that in the early days, the Seahawks held open auditions for free agents? Seriously! You and I could try out for the team if we wanted to! The promotion was called "So You Wanna Be a Seahawk?" and was held at the Seattle Center Colliseum in May. Hundreds of people would show up for their shot at the dream. Some came as serious hopefuls, some came for other reasons. Many didn't make it through the first few tests. The Seahawks eventually ended the program because the liability and injuries outweighed the benefits.
However, Brian Flones was one of the few who were asked to come back for tryouts and actually made the team! He'd played defensive end for Washington State but when he made the roster for the 'Hawks, he was given the position of outside linebacker.
Unfortunately his career ended with a dislocated knee the second year of his career. I think his memory should live on!! It was a long shot but he went for it and he won!! Hooray for Brian Flones!!
[Note: Playing Hurt by Pierce E. Scranton, Jr., M.D. was used for the source for this story.]
From: Bryan Nims
Sent: Tuesday, February 21, 2006 8:15 PM
Subject: Brian Flones
I happened to see your article on Brian Flones and agree - his memory should live on! He is truly the definition of "Unvy". I've known Brian since childhood and am privileged to know him as my best friend and the most dedicated, tenacious and hard-working individual on this earth. This is a guy who always looked for the top spot, kept his eye on the goal, ignored obstacles and never quit working until he achieved his goal. When we first met at age eleven, he shared his dream of playing linebacker in the NFL. His road to the NFL was met with many challenges and odds that he overcame. He was always an exceptional athlete, even earning wrestling honors as a two-time state champion in high school. At one point, in high school, he was told by a football coach that he would never make a good linebacker. He knew that his only hope of a college education was through athletics and football was his calling. His parents moved across town where Brian joined the arch-rival team, started at inside linebacker and earned all-state honors. He wanted to play at a major university and earn a college degree. He walked on at Washington State hoping to play linebacker. He was not offered a scholarship until his sophomore year when he challenged the nose tackle position where he felt that he had a better chance at a scholarship. He was offered the scholarship and continued to play at nose tackle until he graduated. Many thought he was too small, but his brute strength and lightning speed made up for the difference in weight. A friend from our home town of Sedro-Woolley, WA played for Don James at U of W, who, once told me that right before the Huskies went on the field to play the Cougars James drew a big red circle around the nose tackle position on the X and O's board. He said, to his offensive lineman, " this guy (#61 at the time) is the biggest recruiting mistake I have ever made. You had better block him with all you got, or he will eat your lunch". Well, I think Brian (#61) had one of his best games of his college career. Brian earned his college degree in four years. He never red-shirted. At the time he went to the Seahawks tryout camp, there were not many teams using a nose-tackle type defense. He stayed with his dream of playing linebacker in the NFL. He made it! I truly believe with all my heart, that Brian Flones would have been one of the greatest linebackers ever to play the game, had he not been hurt. It was tough for him to put football aside and move on. However, he went on to earn his Masters degree and is very close to earning his PHD in education. Today he is Superintendent of Wenatchee Valley Schools and has a vision to make that school district one of the best! I know he will see his dream come to fruition, because the people of Wenatchee sense his tenacity and they love him and are behind him 100%. Truly "Unvy" although, he already has a nick-name, we have always called him "Ty" - short for Tiger, coined by his father when Brian was a toddler because, he was such an "animal". Thanks for your mention of my greatest sports hero who certainly deserves to be remembered and honored.
From: Eric Granstrom
Sent: Monday, November 17, 2008 6:23 PM
Subject: Brian Flones
I grew up in Sedro-Woolley and was well-aware of Brian long before he became our “most famous Seahawk.”
My Dad was a teacher and coach at Cascade Middle School in Sedro-Woolley and had Brian as a player and student. He told me as we sat at Bucky’s Texaco in Sedro-Woolley Saturday’s listening to Bob Robertson call the Cougar games that he knew Brian was going to be a stud from the word go. Even as a 12 and 13-year old, he had a natural gift and an amazing physique. By the way, Bucky’s Texaco was his Dad’s gas station and he and my Dad were good buddies.
Later in life, I was the student body president at Sedro-Woolley and on inter-high council and who should be the inter-high councilor but the AD at Anacortes High School, Brian Flones. Then, following my own short-lived college football career I got into radio and my first job was in Wenatchee. The second day I’m here I’m driving across the Columbia River Bridge and come upon a poor guy who’s lost an entire load of cardboard out of the back of his pickup truck. Only two people stopped on the bridge to help the guy, me and Brian Flones. We gave each other a knowing look and I said, “huh! Figures! Only two guys who stop are both from Sedro-Woolley!”
Since then, I’ve worked closely with Brian as Athletic Director at Wenatchee High School as now as Superintendent for the entire district and he continues to set a shining example for what ‘can’ be and how anyone who sets their mind to a task can achieve. He has always been an inspiration to me, especially when he wore the #50 for such a short time as a Seattle Seahawk. I’ll never forget the kickoff coverage play he was on when he went down and the description by Pete Gross. He’s still in amazingly good shape and looks like he could strap on the pads in a moment’s notice. Brian Flones is a great man and is still remembered by this Hawk fan as that undersized nose guard from WSU who made it in the NFL.