My Sean Payton, Eastern Illinois, St Louis Football Cardinal training camp connection.

Lomax to Green 84

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May 15, 2002
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Let me state this first: I don’t know Sean Payton. However, I did cross paths with him a few times back back in the mid/late 1980’s as both a student at Eastern Illinois University and as a spectator at the Big Red training camps held on the campus of EIU. Those training camp experiences were so different from what fans experience now. The Cardinals practiced on 2 utility fields adjacent to the EIU stadium. On a given day at camp you would be lucky to see 10 spectators watching practice. I used to stand right by the token newspaper reporter from the St Louis Post Dispatch and talk both Cardinal football and baseball. For a nerdy fan like me, it was sports heaven. The Cardinals had their weight room in old Lantz gym and you could meander around the gym and talk to players. The players I talked to warned me about bothering Niko Noga the Cards middle backer. Niko was so intense that he would grunt at you if you interrupted his workout. Again, to me this was sports heaven! There were EIU guys who served as helpers at camp and I recall seeing Payton because he was a big deal at EIU. After practice, I would walk and talk with Neil Lomax, Roy Green, EJ Junior, Stump Mitchell, etc.. Neil Lomax was such a great guy and would take as much time as needed to sign and talk with fans. You could tell how much the players appreciated the fans because so few of us were there. What awesome memories!!

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