Thursday, July 28, 2011

Piqua native looks to play in the Land of Lombardi and Starr

By Mike Ullery

Chief Photographer

It looks like our Piqua Indians logo may be in need of a modification. I wonder what he looks like sans head dress, in order that he may don a cheese head?

As most of you know by now. One of Piqua's favorite sons is now a Green Bay Packer. Brandon Saine left for the Land of the Cheese Heads and is now hard at work learning the ways of, "the next level," the business of playing football in the National Football League.

Watching a former Indian mature into an NFL-caliber player is not a first for Piqua. Under the guidance of Head Coach Bill Nees and his staff, several players have been able to combine their God-given athletic ability with techniques and ethics taught at Piqua High School, build on them in college and play football at, what many would consider, the ultimate level of professional sports.

Saine is the most recent of those former Indians to put on the uniform of a NFL team. Make no mistake about it, Saine still has a way to go. He still has to make the team. Given the talent and work ethic that he has shown throughout the high school and college level, there is no doubt in anyone's mind that if a 110 percent effort is needed, Saine will be on the field with a 115 percent effort.

As we watch the next few weeks play out, most everyone in Piqua will be a Cheese Head. No matter what NFL team is close to your heart, we need to support Saine as he takes the field wearing the green and gold of the Green Bay Packers.

Stop for a minute and think about it. The team that chose Saine, and vice versa, is the defending Super Bowl champion. Not only that, but few NFL teams are as steeped in history as the Packers — the Packers of Vince Lombardi, arguably the greatest NFL coach of all time, the Packers of Bart Starr ... the list goes on, and on.

In case you haven't taken the time to check the Packers pre-season schedule, they play in Cleveland on August 13 and in Indianapolis on the 26th.

Wouldn't it be nice if a large Piqua contingent were in the stands in Indy to show their support for Brandon?

Saine was back in town for an autograph show at the Miami Valley Centre Mall this spring. Four years removed from the turf at Alexander Stadium/Purk Field and fresh from a solid career as a Buckeye, Saine patiently signed hundreds of autographs as fans turned out to welcome him home. He had grown some but still possessed the same easy smile and manner he had in high school.

We talked then about him playing in the NFL. As always, he was very unassuming. He knew that his talents were known to teams around the NFL but he was making no assumptions.

They say that good things come to he who waits. Saine's wait on the call that most just dream about, ended Tuesday when the Green Bay Packers called to tell him that they believe he has what it takes to play football for one of the most storied franchises in the history of the NFL.

They are just acknowledging what most of us have believed for years.

Brandon: best of luck in your quest to play football in the NFL. I believe that I can say with confidence, all of Piqua is behind you.

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