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MURRELL COLUMN: Just getting warmed up

By I.C. Murrell
News sports editor

Hey, I’m here.
That introduction The News gave me in Tuesday’s issue wasn’t just some notice that I was named Bob West II. I am right here in the Port City – coming from another Port City – flying all across the (soon-to-be former) newsroom here and from one school to another trying to show my face.
I’m here jotting down all my ideas, my plan, my future, our future. Pretty soon, I’ll fully have my hands on this section – but I’m doing the job I’m supposed to for right now.
Real soon, this product called the sports section is going to the next level. It will be a joy for you – even if you’re not a sports fan now – to wake up and read this every day. It will be everything you expect in a local sports section and then some.
I will add to the history of our department and our newspaper – and this wonderful area – pressing forward. Because that’s a blessing and a talent the good Lord has given me.
And I hope you’re seeing some of the same blessings I’m seeing: An area diverse not only in people but in nature, recreation, and business. I think I’m living proof because I was drawn here.
Threaded in all that fabric are sports, from the good ol’ days of Babe Didrikson and Jimmy Johnson to Jamaal Charles and the local up-and-comers.
What a thread we have here in Southeast Texas, and it’s time to wear it well. I personally have never had it this good, and I’ve been in this business more than 15 years.
I mean that. I can’t wait to show you how good we have it. And I can’t wait to walk into The News’ new home on Memorial Drive later this month.
If you don’t remember my name (last name is ‘mer-REL’), just remember this product while we press fast forward. That’ll be good enough for me.
Jamaal Charles has always had it good.
The pride of Port Arthur Memorial has averaged 5 or more yards per carry each year he’s been in the league. He’s turned in 1,000 rushing yards in five of his seven years. (If you haven’t heard, he has plenty of bling to show for that 5-yard clip.)
So forgive him for getting on the offensive line’s case for their play in 2014 – while being banged up, at that. He (only) had 1,033 yards and averaged 5.0 per tote for the second straight season, pretty low by his own standards.
“It was rough, know what I’m saying? But at the end of the day, this is the National Football League. You get paid to do your job,” he told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “It was really rough last season, but at the same time, we won (nine) games with an average line.”
Yeah, Jamaal, you’re not always going to have a Will Shields or Willie Roaf opening holes for you. But you have every right to sound off if you average at least 5 yards a carry – for a career.
We’ll listen.

I.C. Murrell is the sports editor at The Port Arthur News. He can be reached at ic.murrell@panews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ICMurrellPANews.