, Port Arthur, Texas

Bob West

September 22, 2012

WEST COLUMN: Gonsoulin unable to join honorees in Denver today

PORT ARTHUR — Absent from today’s Houston-Denver game will be the one guy who probably wanted to be at Mile High Stadium more than any player, coach or fan. Former TJ great Austin “Goose” Gonsoulin, one of the four original inductees into Broncos Ring of Fame, had eagerly anticipated being part of today’s halftime ceremonies for new inductee Rod Smith. Unfortunately, he was forced to cancel at the last minute, due to the ravages of cancer that’s in his bones, and the fear he might have to be hospitalized while in Colorado. “I was really looking forward to this, especially because the Broncos were playing the Texans and I’d have a chance to visit with Wade Phillips and Gary Kubiak,” Goose told me late Thursday afternoon. “But the closer it got, the more I became concerned that there might be problems if I travel.” Gonsoulin, 74, thought he’d beaten prostate cancer a few years ago, but now the cancer is back and has been spreading through his body. He’s undergone experimental blood treatments at M.D. Anderson in Houston to no avail, and is currently taking experimental medication in pill form. A Bronco to the core, and one whose name is still prominent in the team’s record books, Goose thinks the Texans are catching Peyton Manning and Denver at the wrong time. “I really like Houston, and what Wade’s done with their defense, but that’s a such a tough place to play, and I expect Peyton to bounce back big from what happened Monday night,” he said.

One of the big stories this past week was how former UT quarterback Vince Young has gone through millions, is broke and is suing his former agent — Major Adams of Houston — over misuse and misappropriation of his money.  A sidebar to the story is that Young encouraged his former Longhorns teammate, Jamaal Charles, to sign with Adams, who made a trip to Port Arthur in the spring of 2008 to try and woo Jamaal and his family. Wisely, very wisely it would seem, they opted for an established agent, Joby Branion, in a company — Athlete’s First — that had a long track record of doing well by it’s athletes . . . Charles, by the way, will have plenty of support in New Orleans today, as the struggling Kansas City Chiefs try to rebound from back-to-back blowouts against the equally struggling Saints. A busload of Port Arthurans is making the trip to the Superdome, hoping to see the Chiefs get back to making Charles the focal point of their offense following an injury scare last week in Buffalo. Jamaal sat out most of the second half of a second-consecutive blowout, after bruising his rehabbed knee on the rock-hard artificial turf in the Bills stadium. He was not listed on KC’s injury reports and should start against the Saints . . . One of the most oft-shown highlights thus far in the NFL season was Green Bay’s fake field goal on 4th-and-26 against the Chicago Bears that became a touchdown. The guy responsible for drawing up the shovel pass that baffled the Bears  was R.C. Slocum’s son, Shawn Slocum, who is in his fourth season as the Packers’ special teams coach.

Even by Jerry Jones’ standards, the last seven days were pretty amazing. The Cowboys and his boy-wonder coach Jason Garrett laid an egg in Seattle, his first-round draft choice of five years ago, Felix Jones, got further exposed as another Jethro boondoggle, he got testy with a fan on his radio show who dared question why Felix still gets playing time, he moved up to No. 151 on the Forbes list of the 400 wealthiest Americans and it was revealed that through some sort of blunder the website domain is now a dating website for gay cowboys. If you don’t believe the latter, just go to and check it out. No question, the truth, especially as it pertains to Jethro, is stranger than fiction . . . That latest Forbes list of billionaires, incidentally, is loaded with NFL owners. I counted 12 and may have missed a couple. Jones, though, despite net worth listed at $2.7 billion, was not No. 1 among his NFL peers. Tampa Bay’s Malcom Glazier ($3.6 billion) weighed in at No. 108. Texans’ owner Bob McNair ranked No. 271 at $1.18 billion. Even “Bottom Line” Bud Adams, the former Oilers owner and latter day carpetbagger who moved his team to Tennessee, cracked the top 400 at No. 388 ($1.15 billion).  Amazing, isn’t it, that these fat cats can’t squeeze out a few more nickels for officials to keep their game from being ridiculed . . . Along those lines, two thumbs up to former 49er great Steve Young for trashing the NFL, on the NFL Network no less, for shoving scab officials down the throat of players, coaches and fans. “There’s nothing the league can do to hurt demand for the game, so the bottom line is they don’t care,” said Young. “There’s a lot of people in the league that would rather break the (referees) union.”  I always liked Steve Young. For having the guts to take on the NFL on national TV, I like him a lot more.

It’s not easy in any given week to come off looking like a bigger fool than Jerry Jones,  but Greg Norman may have accomplished it. Norman, who has resented Tiger Woods since Butch Harmon more-or-less dropped him to take on a young Tiger as his star pupil in the late 1990s, suggested last week that Woods is intimidated by Rory McElroy. That followed shots Norman took at Fred Couples last November for making Woods a captain’s pick on the United States President’s Cup team. Practically everybody with a respected opinion in golf, starting with Jack Nicklaus, quickly shot down Norman on his intimidation theory. Too bad Tiger didn’t fire back by reminding Norman of how he choked away a couple of Masters he should have won . . . It can’t be much better for a high school quarterback than to have Todd Dodge as his coach. The former TJ great, who turned out one record-breaking passer after another at Southlake Carroll, is at it again in his new job at Marble Falls. In just his fourth game under Dodge, in Todd’s first season at Marble Falls, a QB named Mike Richardson broke the Texas schoolboy single-game passing record by throwing for 722 yards and 10 touchdowns in a 62-55 win over Boerne Champion Thursday night. Richardson, a transfer who played at Salado last year, now has thrown for 1,482 yards and 20 touchdowns in leading the Mustangs to a 3-1 start . . . The running-back equivalent to Richardson’s record-breaking performance is Thomas Tyner, who plays for 6A Aloha High School in Portland, Ore. Tyner, the nation’s No. 4 ranked RB on, rushed for 644 yards and 10 touchdowns in leading Aloha to a 84-63 victory last week to shatter Oregon all-time records in both categories. Thanks to my Portland correspondent, Larry Bodin, who recently moved from Tennessee to Oregon, for that info.

By hitting triple digits in losses last week in St. Louis for the second consecutive season, the Astros moved into position to become a part of bottom-of-the barrel baseball history. Only nine teams, the most recent of them being the Kansas City Royals (2004-2006), have been inept enough to hit the 100-loss mark three straight years. Expect Houston to join that dubious fraternity long about mid September of 2013. The Astros got there in only 148 games this year, after needing 151 to do it in 2011. Given residence in a tougher American League division next year, I’ll put the over/under at 144 games . . . Today brings an early Christmas present for Time-Warner subscribers who just can’t get enough of the NFL. After years of haggling, Time Warner is offically up and running with the NFL Network and its RedZone channel. For those who just can’t get enough of the NFL, this scratches your itch. For Jimmy Johnson fans, meanwhile, the timing couldn’t be much better since the NFL Network is planning to air a one-hour documentary on him, titled “A Football Life”, leading into one of its Thursday-night games in October . . . . . . If you are wondering what kind of money Lamar got for playing at Hawaii last week, here’s the way it broke down. The actual game guarantee was $125,000, which doesn’t sound like much in these days of huge payoffs for lower-level schools willing to take their lumps. Included with the $125,000, however, was 85 round-trip plane tickets, 50 hotel rooms for three days and the equivalent of $30,000 in meals . . . Happy birthday six days in advance to Bum Phillips. The Southeast Texas coaching legend turns 89 next Saturday.

Sports editor Bob West can be e-mailed at



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