|TALE OF THE TAPE|
|Rodney Austin||Jimmy Saddler-McQueen|
|1 year||NFL Experience||2 years|
|0||Career NFL Games||2 (0 starts)|
Tonight’s the night. Championship night. And Saturday’s the day of the final round of cuts, a day we might say goodbye. But let’s not focus on that. Forget I even mentioned it.
Either Rodney Austin or Jimmy Saddler-McQueen will win the James Mungro Memorial Award presented by (sponsor pending) tonight. We were going to have a ceremony where we invite all the previous James Mungro Memorial Award winners, but they’re kind of busy and there is no actual physical award so it would be awkward. The second most prestigious fake award on the internet will stay on the internet. For now.
Four weeks in, there’s not much left to preview on the field. I want to talk about something else.
The award has evolved since James Mungro was bouncing off tackles and Chris Bootcheck was putting up near-perfect spring trainings. It’s no longer just about on-field dominance. Some of the award’s best moments occurred away from the games, from Chris Bootcheck’s Twitter account to the contradictory information on Jose Alvarez.
I started Google stalking the contenders when it went to down to four. Initially it looked like a bad crop. There were some good stories, particularly Nwagbuo’s, but no one had a social media presence and no one had a bogus report from a reputable news organization.
Then I doubled my search efforts on Austin and Saddler-McQueen and found @MisterrAustin, the verified(!) twitter account of Mister Rodney Austin.
It might be the best online discovery since Chris Bootcheck’s use of abbreviations. He semi-seriously calls himself a legend in his bio.
Already not liking Buffalo, NY
— Rodney Austin II (@MisterrAustinn) August 28, 2013
Mmmm, sushi! 😁🍣🍥get ya chop stick game up..
— Rodney Austin II (@MisterrAustinn) August 25, 2013
Flamin Hot Cheetos in the cafeteria doooeee!!
— Rodney Austin II (@MisterrAustinn) August 19, 2013
His tweets are in the same I’m-not-sure-if-he’s-serious-or-not-but-it’s-funny style as McClendon’s, but Rodney does it better. He also seems to enjoy food more, as any 311-pound man should.
But aside from social media and one video that shows he’s a pretty good dude, Austin’s story isn’t too interesting. He came to the Lions as an undrafted free agent last year, got cut during the second round, then signed with the practice squad the next day. He spent the entire year there, signed a futures contract with the Lions (as McClendon did with the Falcons) and came to camp this year.
Sure, he was a small school guy, hailing from Elon, an FCS school in North Carolina of 6,500 students, but he wasn’t hard for NFL teams to find. His agent posted over THREE AND A HALF HOURS of tape to YouTube.
In contrast, Saddler-McQueen is non-existent on social media and his only YouTube presence is this three-second video from Madden, in which he plays for the Packers and what appears to be Colt McCoy plays for the Lions.
The video had two likes when I watched it. One of those may or may not be from me.
What Saddler-McQueen lacks in an online presence he makes up for in a life bottom-of-the-roster dwelling.
2010: He was signed by the Bears as an undrafted free agent. He was cut in after OTAs. He was signed by the Cowboys ahead of training camp. He was cut after the preseason. He was signed to the Rams practice squad. He was “deleted” from the practice squad and then added again on the same day, according to his Wikipedia. He was signed by the Cowboys for a second time. He played in one of his only two NFL games four days after that. He was cut at the end of the month. He was signed to the Rams practice squad. Again.
2011: He signed a futures contract with St. Louis. He was cut before training camp. He was claimed him off waivers by the Cowboys. One year and zero NFL games later, he was in the Arena League.
2012: First, he played with the Tampa Bay Storm. Then, halfway through the season, he went to Jacksonville Sharks. The Sharks went to the conference semi-finals that year. He was signed by the Texans before training camp. He was cut. He was signed to the Lions practice squad in October. He was eventually called up to the 53-man roster. He played in one game.
To recap: In three years Saddler-McQueen had jobs with the Bears, the Cowboys three times, the Rams twice, two arena teams, the Texans and the Lions. He saw action in two games.
The man has lived a full Mungroian life before his 27th birthday, and the best thing that might have come out of it all is a Q&A with arenafootball.com, where Saddler-McQueen revealed he likes to Texas Two Step.
It’s Rodney “Mr. Butterworth” Austin vs. Jimmy “Texas Two-step” Saddler-McQueen. Social media vs. Frequent Flier. What a dance this will be.