Great, Informative article on Seth McKinney

Muck

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I learned a lot of things about this guy that I was SURE I'd have heard about by now. You'll see what I'm talking about.

Brotherly love: Dolphin rookie center Seth McKinney knows all about it
BY ETHAN J. SKOLNICK
eskolnick@herald.com

At a private January unveiling of a Presidential portrait at the Texas State Capitol, the leader of the free world was just another NFL draftnik. ''Where is Seth going to go?'' George W. Bush asked, tugging at Lou Ann McKinney's neck. ``I hope he goes someplace warm.''

Thus, the Dolphins did more than bolster offensive-line depth in April by using a third-round pick on Seth McKinney, a durable, bright, athletic center from Texas A&M.

They also pleased a President.

''Bush just loves our boys,'' said Lou Ann, whose husband was the former governor's Health and Human Services commissioner.

Dr. Mike McKinney is now the chief of staff for current Texas Gov. Rick Perry, his former legislative colleague and the family's longtime fishing buddy. After Miami hooked Seth on draft day, Gov. Perry called with congratulations.

''That was pretty neat,'' Seth said.

It was a momentous day: A second McKinney center was joining the NFL, four years after the Indianapolis Colts drafted Steve in the fourth round.

Then the league released the preseason schedule. On Aug. 24, Seth McKinney and the Dolphins will play at Houston against Steve McKinney, who signed as a free agent with the Texans.

So time is running short for the Dolphins to call in a favor to the McKinney family's friends in high places to lobby them to step in, sign an executive order, issue a veto.

The reunion must be stopped.

• • •

Seth McKinney is not a klutz.

No klutz could start every game for four college seasons -- 50 in all -- becoming the fifth center ever to do so. No klutz is this nimble, running faster than all but one offensive lineman at the scouting combine. No klutz would have the Dolphins so excited, with line coach Tony Wise praising his quickness and football sense.

So there must be some explanation for his misadventures.

''He was pretty accident-prone growing up,'' relates Steve, 26. ``It was really shocking he made it through all those games.''

Some mishaps seem his fault alone. As an Austin Westlake High senior performing a ceremonial hat dance at a pep rally, he broke the fifth metatarsal in his foot and missed the first few games -- before returning to help quarterback Drew Brees win a state title.

As a sixth-grader, he stepped on a toothpick his father had to surgically remove, then scored 35 points in a basketball game a couple hours later.

''That one Steven didn't do to him,'' Mike said, sitting in Gov. Perry's chair in the Texas Statehouse.

Sure?

''No,'' Mike said. ``I'm not sure about that.''

Why the suspicion? For a guy who's not a klutz, Seth has had considerable misfortune with Steve around. Steve says the best thing Seth, 23, has done in his life is learn from his mistakes, and do the opposite.

Perhaps true, but perhaps not, because some of their collaborations -- especially those elbow-filled basketball games with Steve's older friends -- helped toughen Seth. But this is undeniable: The best thing Seth can do when the Dolphins go to Houston is head the opposite direction. Seth and Steve won't square off in the trenches, but Steve's very presence is dangerous, troubling.

• • •

Before the family moved to Clear Lake, and then Westlake, the boys grew up in East Texas, in beloved little Centerville, where Lou Ann drove the ambulance after the family established the town's first service, and Mike was everyone's ''Doc.'' Many house calls were in his own house. For his second son.

''Getting shot every other day,'' Steve reminisces.

``It was usually me shooting him. Thing is, growing up in the country, we didn't have much else to do.''

Steve started in early.

After Lou Ann brought baby Seth home from the hospital, she found him crying under the bed, stashed by Steve. On the playground with Steve, Seth fell off a slide, peeling the skin off his nose. And when testing new miniature compound bows on backyard beach balls . . .

'I shot my arrow and went to get it, and he was like, `No, no, don't go up there, I'll shoot you,' '' said Seth, then 6.

``I think he tried to scare me, hopefully he didn't mean to shoot me. It ended up going in my foot. I ran in to the babysitter, and he tried to bribe me, but I think he got in pretty good trouble for that one.''

Four years later, Mike took the boys duck hunting, giving Steve his first 12-gauge.

''A real man's shotgun,'' Steve said. ``We were in this real thick marsh, dead trees coming out of the water. You couldn't see 10 feet in front of you.''

He saw a low-flying bird.

'All I heard was, `Waaaah,' right after I shot him,'' Steve said. ``I really thought I killed him. I was real scared at the time.''

Blood flowed down Seth's face. Pellets remain in Seth's head.

''That was funny looking back,'' Steve said.

One mishap makes no McKinney laugh. Seth had gotten his first bike for his sixth birthday. ''He was trying to keep up with his older brother,'' Lou Ann said.

They raced home in different directions. Soon after, Mike's nurse called and told him to come quick. Someone had been hit by a car, flipped over the hood, might be dead.

''I didn't know who it was,'' Mike said.

The boy raised his hands, and said ''Daddy.'' Mike scooped him up.

''At that point, I became a very good Daddy and a very poor doctor,'' Mike said. ``That was the scary one; I thought he was going to die.''

Seth had a broken leg and the blessing of a severely cracked skull, which gave his brain room to swell, avoiding permanent damage. He slipped into a coma and critical condition, and the family feared residual effects, such as migraines and claustrophobia.

''It never did slow him down,'' Lou Ann said.

Hardly. Center is no place for claustrophobics.

It is a place for McKinneys.

After breaking his other foot during his redshirt season, Seth replaced the departed Steve at the spot for Texas A&M -- and now their ''little'' brother (12-year-old, 185-pound Sean) is a youth-league center, five years from joining the Aggies. If Sean plays like his brothers, he will be fundamentally sound, aggressive, a little ornery.

• • •

Seth's wife, Paige, calls her squeeze ''a gentle giant,'' more ''laid-back'' than the ''fireball'' Steve, and says ''there's no one who has met Seth who doesn't get along with him.'' Yet she doesn't deny her 6-3, 300-pound hubby has a ''nasty streak'' between the lines.

''The ball's gone, it's already behind you, you turn around, stop and just give them a good push,'' Seth said. ``It's legal. I won't go and try to cut somebody and hurt their knee or anything. Just trying to make them mad. It makes the game fun.''

''It's just how we were brought up, be all-out, hard-nosed, do whatever it takes to win,'' Steve said. ``You're not trying to win the mayoral election or be the nicest guy on the field. It's about whupping the guy in front of you.''

Steve has been an NFL starter since his first game. Although confident in his brother, he believes he would be better off learning behind Tim Ruddy for a season.

Seth tends to learn fast, however.

Extra summer classes at Texas A&M helped him earn his bachelor's degree in information management systems in 3 ½ years (with a 3.73 GPA) and his master's degree in five.

''I can't imagine how you get a master's because I don't even have a degree yet,'' Steve said. ``The fact that he blew through school just killed me.''

Cramped Steve's style, too. Seth has regularly declined fishing trips and movie nights to study or finish projects. He even did so at the combine, eliciting the usual response from Steve: ``Study? Who studies?''

''It was always some school-related excuse,'' Steve said. ``That really got irritating. I'm glad it's over.''

Other parts of Seth's life are just beginning. He and Paige, studying to be a teacher, met through her friend before his junior year and married in March 2001. The day after the draft, they revealed she is expecting in December.

The baby, boy or girl, will probably be a center too.

If not, a senator.

Proximity to power and politics causes some kids' heads to swell. Instead, only the McKinney boys' biceps did. Mike has sprinkled their athletic ambition with reality and humility, and believes their political connections have helped them keep perspective.

''They know the Governor of Texas as Rick,'' Mike said. ``It helps you understand the people you see on TV are normal people. If you are going to be an NFL player or college player, it helps you understand you are also normal, you don't have to be on a pedestal.''

Still, the McKinneys have never missed one of Seth's games, and Lou Ann -- chairing the Aggie Parents Football Club since its inception eight years ago -- keeps meticulous, detailed scrapbooks.

''Seth's in for a rude awakening, he's not used to playing in front of no family,'' Steve said. ``It was that way for me. That's when you realize this is a job, and you better do it well. Mommy and Daddy won't be in the hallway after the game to hug you and kiss you and say you played well.''

Yet Lou Ann is rounding up 200 tickets for the preseason scrape at Reliant Stadium, and arranging to sit in the governor's box.

''We'll be there,'' she promises with a Texas twang.

For his health, Seth shouldn't be.
 

relive1972

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That was a very interesting article indeed. It's bad enough to get hit by a car on a bike, crack your skull open and go into a coma, but then his brother shoots him in the head with a shotgun? It's a miracle the guy made it to Jr. High, much less the Dolphin OL. I've never believed in jinxes, but maybe Seth should keep his distance from Steve just to be safe.
 

Dolfan54

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McKinney

I remember at the Tech/A&M game last year when Tech fans tried to ram their own goalposts at the A&M section: Dr. McKinney got involved in a scuffle and was hit in the eye and required stitches.
 

dolfan87

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Shot, ran over, shot again, sounds like just a regualr day at my house. LOL

J/K

I like the guy already, gotta be tough to go through all that and still make it to the NFL.
 

inFINSible

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Here's an assignment for some of you stat fiends out there...Find the GPA's of Minor, Chambers, and Greenwood. I bet they are all in about the same (3.50-4.0)range?
All hard working, studious, mature individuals....
 

Muck

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Damn. I wonder where he goes. I'd love to see a Dolphin pop up here or at DT.
 

WharfRat

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Well, you know what they say...

Originally posted by relive1972
That was a very interesting article indeed. It's bad enough to get hit by a car on a bike, crack your skull open and go into a coma, but then his brother shoots him in the head with a shotgun? It's a miracle the guy made it to Jr. High, much less the Dolphin OL. I've never believed in jinxes, but maybe Seth should keep his distance from Steve just to be safe.
If it's true that "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" than this kid is gonna be hard to break! The positive side is that we know he's no wimp! He laughs about getting shot? Sounds pretty tough to me!
 

IceStorm

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Shot in the head with a shotgun? Talk about brotherly love...sheesh :)
 

dolphan39

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Originally posted by IceStorm
Shot in the head with a shotgun? Talk about brotherly love...sheesh :)
too bad Steve is not DT - nice to let Seth get some revenge legally.
 
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