How I Got Involved in This

Harry

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For one last time since I was asked again. It will be hard for anyone to follow my old path as the industry is so crowded now. I was leading discussions on USA Today’s chat board, one of the first in the industry. I was contacted by a person who told me they wanted to start a Cardinal board and would I write for it? This was something like 25 years ago. A guy named Mike headed that board version. I’m not sure if anyone on this board was around then. As questions came in about the draft we did more and more of that material. I was writing game previews, results summaries and player evaluations. There were only about 30 people nationwide publishing in depth draft material. Somehow Dave Te, the best free site, saw my material and encouraged me to send him my thoughts. At about the same time I attended a dinner with Mel Kiper who liked my commentary and gave me further encouragement. Eventually Dave helped start the regional Combines, that evolved into the current program. As I recall soon Dave was working as a consultant with the Cards he touted Adrian Wilson to them. Dave was involved in Wilson’s training. Dave always had tons of stuff going on. I relayed the Wilson information to the board. At that point I was getting paid to write for what had become the Rival’s Cardinal board complete with articles that were often judged good enough to be moved to the main Rivals’ site. I was also getting paid to scout specific teams and players by team scouts and consultants.

I then had good enough contacts to get credentialed into press booths. One that was great fun was the Tyco College All Star game. I was in the booth next to ESPN then down on the field. Buddy Ryan was one of the coaches and it was fascinating getting to question him at the post game presser. The locker rooms were always interesting and players were thrilled to get the attention. I was also writing a little for Football Digest. Brian Delucia was the editor and later moved on to head Fox Sports online football site. He was always interested in the latest rumors and usable articles. I soon became friends with Larry Guest, then Orlando Sentinel Sports Editor and frequent author, who provided good direction and contacts. You have to reach out to numerous avenues. If you’re persistent and have something useful to say, someone will respond.

Joel Buchsbaum of ESPN, Dave Te and many others are gone now. They helped the draft become one of the most covered events in sports. I’ve had a tremendous run with it. Like Mel Kiper, I’d attended as many games as possible (usually free) and taped about 7 games a week. I subscribed to both satellite and cable. I got to know college coaches who’d later move to the NFL. It took time, but it was the best way to get inside info. It took dedication.

Today I still watch several games a week, but mostly for fun. Sometimes a colleague will ask me to watch someone and give an opinion. I’m still in several email groups, but rely mostly on others for rumors. It’s a young man’s game. My memory isn’t as good. You’ve seen some of the mistakes I’ve made. The pace is too much going forward. I never expected to be here at 75. My one piece of advice if you really want to be a “draft guru” is write and post as much as you can as many places as you can. Nothing succeeds more than practice and persistence. Good luck.
 

BurqueCardFan

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Yes, always appreciate your input and respect your opinions.
Don't worry about being wrong on occasion. We always joke that Mel Kiper has one of the only jobs where you can be wrong all of the time and still be employed (I believe he only got 1 pick right this year and that was Bryce Young). Ok, maybe the weather person can be wrong half the time and still be employed.
 

phillycard

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For one last time since I was asked again. It will be hard for anyone to follow my old path as the industry is so crowded now. I was leading discussions on USA Today’s chat board, one of the first in the industry. I was contacted by a person who told me they wanted to start a Cardinal board and would I write for it? This was something like 25 years ago. A guy named Mike headed that board version. I’m not sure if anyone on this board was around then. As questions came in about the draft we did more and more of that material. I was writing game previews, results summaries and player evaluations. There were only about 30 people nationwide publishing in depth draft material. Somehow Dave Te, the best free site, saw my material and encouraged me to send him my thoughts. At about the same time I attended a dinner with Mel Kiper who liked my commentary and gave me further encouragement. Eventually Dave helped start the regional Combines, that evolved into the current program. As I recall soon Dave was working as a consultant with the Cards he touted Adrian Wilson to them. Dave was involved in Wilson’s training. Dave always had tons of stuff going on. I relayed the Wilson information to the board. At that point I was getting paid to write for what had become the Rival’s Cardinal board complete with articles that were often judged good enough to be moved to the main Rivals’ site. I was also getting paid to scout specific teams and players by team scouts and consultants.

I then had good enough contacts to get credentialed into press booths. One that was great fun was the Tyco College All Star game. I was in the booth next to ESPN then down on the field. Buddy Ryan was one of the coaches and it was fascinating getting to question him at the post game presser. The locker rooms were always interesting and players were thrilled to get the attention. I was also writing a little for Football Digest. Brian Delucia was the editor and later moved on to head Fox Sports online football site. He was always interested in the latest rumors and usable articles. I soon became friends with Larry Guest, then Orlando Sentinel Sports Editor and frequent author, who provided good direction and contacts. You have to reach out to numerous avenues. If you’re persistent and have something useful to say, someone will respond.

Joel Buchsbaum of ESPN, Dave Te and many others are gone now. They helped the draft become one of the most covered events in sports. I’ve had a tremendous run with it. Like Mel Kiper, I’d attended as many games as possible (usually free) and taped about 7 games a week. I subscribed to both satellite and cable. I got to know college coaches who’d later move to the NFL. It took time, but it was the best way to get inside info. It took dedication.

Today I still watch several games a week, but mostly for fun. Sometimes a colleague will ask me to watch someone and give an opinion. I’m still in several email groups, but rely mostly on others for rumors. It’s a young man’s game. My memory isn’t as good. You’ve seen some of the mistakes I’ve made. The pace is too much going forward. I never expected to be here at 75. My one piece of advice if you really want to be a “draft guru” is write and post as much as you can as many places as you can. Nothing succeeds more than practice and persistence. Good luck.
Harry, like a superhero, it's always good to know their origin. :) Thanks brother and what a stellar career you possess. I write as well for a music website, and hope to one day make the kind of inroads you have. I needed to see your story. Thanks for all you do on this site man.
 

slanidrac16

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Harry, YOU DA MAN! I’ve learned not to question your take on things. I was one guy thrilled with Isabella and you told me he’d never make it. I doubted you then. I don’t anymore! Lol.
 

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If Walter told this story it would include more famous people. Maybe a little side story where he helped one of them at a crucial juncture that completely changed their career into what we know now.
 

TruColor

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If Walter told this story it would include more famous people. Maybe a little side story where he helped one of them at a crucial juncture that completely changed their career into what we know now.
No Walter story is complete without a Shawshank reference shoehorned in there somewhere.
 

BritCard

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No Walter story is complete without a Shawshank reference shoehorned in there somewhere.

He tells some great stories. There was one he told where he was playing poker with Walton Payton or something like that. They're interesting stories but surely half BS.
 
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Harry

Harry

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I wanted to clear up something about Kiper. It was about a 30 person dinner here in Orlando, not just the 2 of us. We did talk directly, so did several others. I was lucky to get on the list even though there weren’t that many draft guys then. There were several coaches there and some media people. It lasted several hours. Kiper was doing the draft on TV then for ESPN, but wasn’t as prominent as he is now. He told me about how he got started and how he did what he did. He credited NYG GM Earnie Accorsi with helping him get established.
 

SeattleCard

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You're the most valuable contributor on the board! I've enjoyed your commentary over the years.
 
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