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Wile_E_Coyote
12-04-2005, 05:40 AM
Posted on Sun, Dec. 04, 2005http://www.kansascity.com/images/common/spacer.gif

This former Chief is special

(copied the story from here: http://www.topix.net/nfl/kansas-city-chiefs

now link will not open for me. Should find the story at The KC Star, sorry)

You don’t remember Rob McGovern. It’s OK. You would have to be some kind of obsessive Chiefs fan — or a onetime Chiefs special-teams coach — to remember a 10th-round draft pick in 1989. He was an undersized linebacker out of Holy Cross who was released and re-signed twice, who spent two years in Kansas City running down the field like a madman on kicks and punts.

Players like Rob McGovern fade in and out of fans’ lives. One minute, you cheer when they hammer a punt returner. The next, they are gone, forgotten, returned to various hometowns where they get real jobs and tell friends stories about the most exciting times of their lives, those wild Sunday afternoons when they dived helmet first into the piles and heard the loudest cheers imaginable.

Only Rob McGovern’s life went a different way. He played four conscientious years in the NFL. Coaches loved him. He was that kind of football player — the too-small, too-slow types that football coaches love. He played for Kansas City, Pittsburgh and New England, and his career ended shortly after he was traded to Cleveland for a defensive tackle named George Williams. He remembers the shock.

“I didn’t think I was tradable,” he says. “I’m a guy you cut, not a guy you trade. It was an honor to be traded, really.”

One preseason game later, McGovern was cut. He knew it was coming. He went back home to New York. Within a month, he was at Fordham Law School. He had dreams of becoming a prosecutor. He suspected that the wildest times of his life had ended.

He had no idea.

You will not believe everything Rob McGovern has done the last few years. You probably remember that Army slogan, “We do more before 9 a.m. than most people do all day.” Well, Rob McGovern has done more this decade than most people do in their lives. And like so many American stories, it begins on 9/11.

“I walk up the subway stairs,” he says of that day. “And I see hundreds of people in the street. But I don’t see the towers yet. I just see all of these people, looking over my head. I remember the looks on their faces.

I’ll never forget that. And then I look up, and I see the hole in the north tower. I could not believe my eyes.”

On Sept. 11, McGovern was a prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s office. He prosecuted drug crimes. He liked his work. McGovern has always wanted to put away bad guys. Maybe that urge came from football. In any case, when he saw the hole in the north tower, he knew that his life would change. He spent the next five days helping with the rescue mission at Ground Zero. Mostly, he dug through rubble.

“I just wanted to help somebody,” he says. “That was the overpowering feeling we all had. It was like: ‘God, just please let me help somebody. Please let me find someone.’ ”

He did not find anyone alive. He did, though, dig out a body. A medical person shouted out: “Are you OK? Can you do it?” McGovern braced himself and nodded. He could barely hold himself together. But he put the body in a plastic bag.

“We all felt so helpless,” he says. “So immensely helpless. There was nothing we could do to change the events. I thought, in some small way, maybe finding that body would help the family, bring some closure for them. Maybe it wasn’t much. Maybe it doesn’t amount to much. I don’t know.”

McGovern was in the Army Reserve then. He signed up for active duty.

Three months later, he was at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. He went through training. He jumped out of planes. He told his superiors he would do anything. He just wanted to help.

Rob McGovern had many jobs in Afghanistan. He helped the U.S. government through the legalities of building an Afghan army. He organized humanitarian efforts that built hospitals and water wells throughout the country. He traveled with school and medical supplies.

But one job stood out. It was common for Afghan children to run through American mortar fields and collect the shells — they could sell the metal. One day, four children were running through a live exercise and were killed. McGovern’s job was to try to bring the families peace. He says the government built a school in the town with a plaque remembering the four children. He says he tried to comfort the families. It was as hard as anything he’s ever had to do.

“You can’t bring back the kids,” McGovern says. “But we tried to do all we could to remedy the situation. I remember the day we opened the schools. I met the families face to face. And one of the fathers spoke. He said: ‘My country has known nothing but war all my life. Then the
Americans came, and now we have peace in our country. I have lost a son, but maybe fathers won’t lose sons from now on.’ ”

His time in Afghanistan ended. He came home and thought about going back to the Manhattan office. And that’s when he was given the case of his life.

On March 22, 2003, in the middle of the night, Army Sgt. Hasan Akbar rolled grenades into tents and fired at fellow soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division. His stunning attack killed two and injured 14, and Akbar became the first American soldier since Vietnam to be prosecuted for killing Americans.

Rob McGovern was one of the three prosecutors.
“I know more about Hasan Akbar than I want to know,” he says.

McGovern interviewed people who had known Akbar going back to grammar school. He read 13 years of diary entries and said that was what sealed his fate. In a 1993 entry, Akbar wrote about wanting to destroy America. “That’s fairly damning,” McGovern says.

He worked on the case for almost two years. He says he hardly slept, lost a lot of weight, obsessed over Akbar. In the courtroom, in his closing argument, McGovern cocked the M-4 rifle Akbar had used in the attack.

“Sgt. Akbar executed that attack with a cool mind,” he told the jury. “He sought maximum carnage.”

In April, Akbar was found guilty and sentenced to death.

“This was the ultimate opportunity to contribute to the war,” McGovern says. “This is a man who killed his fellow soldiers on the eve of battle. I can’t think of anything more damaging. I got a chance to stand up for the guys. I could not imagine doing anything bigger for my country.”

He pauses.

“And then,” he says, “I went to Iraq.”

Few people know that every day, American JAG officers work in Iraqi courtrooms with Iraqi judges. They prosecute insurgents. McGovern did not know. But after the Akbar case, he was sent to Iraq to do just that.

He would charge insurgents with murder and attempted murder. If he did not have quite enough evidence to get them on those charges, he would bring them up on illegal border crossings.

He would argue his case using Iraqi laws signed in 1969 by Saddam Hussein.

In five months, he worked with more than 400 cases and had a 90 percent conviction rate. He often sat close to those insurgents everyone hears about on the evening news.

After those five months, he came back to America.
“I didn’t want to leave,” he says. “I felt like I was doing so much to help.”

Today, before the Chiefs-Broncos game, Rob McGovern will be honored at Arrowhead Stadium. He thinks that’s pretty special. He loved his time in the NFL. And even though the last few years his life has been something like an episode of “JAG,” even though he has traveled the world, prosecuted bad guys, flown in helicopters, jumped out of planes, he says he has some pictures up from his days with the Chiefs.

He looks at those pictures all the time.

“It was my dream to play in the NFL,” he says. “I got to live that dream. No regrets. … I knew I was too small and too slow. So I enjoyed it more than most guys, probably.” I ask him what it will be like hearing the football cheers again.

“Come on,” he says. “No one will remember me.”

FloridaChief
12-04-2005, 05:51 AM
Wow. Now, *that's* a story...

Rausch
12-04-2005, 06:15 AM
I ask him what it will be like hearing the football cheers again.

“Come on,” he says. “No one will remember me.”

No, but they god damned better cheer for him...

ChiefsFanatic
12-04-2005, 06:26 AM
I......uh.......got something in my eye.....yeah, that's it.

Braincase
12-04-2005, 07:13 AM
Our kind of Chief. Thanks Rob.

gblowfish
12-04-2005, 07:23 AM
I actually do remember this guy. He played for Marty early on. He was pretty much the equivalent to current Chief Boomer Grigsby.

Rain Man
12-04-2005, 11:32 AM
So he's played for the Chiefs, graduated from law school, was present at 9/11, helped in those rescue efforts, served in Afghanistan, prosecuted traitors, and then went to Iraq to prosecute terrorists.

Suddenly, my 35,000+ posts don't seem quite so impressive.

Deberg_1990
12-04-2005, 11:40 AM
Yea, i remember the name faintly. Him and Robb Thomas were dominating!

ChiefsFanatic
12-05-2005, 05:58 AM
So he's played for the Chiefs, graduated from law school, was present at 9/11, helped in those rescue efforts, served in Afghanistan, prosecuted traitors, and then went to Iraq to prosecute terrorists.

Suddenly, my 35,000+ posts don't seem quite so impressive.

That is one helluva resume.

KC Jones
12-05-2005, 07:07 AM
So he's played for the Chiefs, graduated from law school, was present at 9/11, helped in those rescue efforts, served in Afghanistan, prosecuted traitors, and then went to Iraq to prosecute terrorists.

Suddenly, my 35,000+ posts don't seem quite so impressive.

Yeah but can he breakdown and compare personnel groups on a 10 point scale?

:D