Oakland Raiders: Tyler's Matt Flynn could be just the understated leader the team needs
POSTED: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 12:55pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 1:53pm
Oakland — Written by Karl Buscheck, Bay Sports Net.
Danny Elzner, the sports director at KETK TV in Tyler, Texas might just be the most knowledgeable source on football matters in the eastern half of the state. He is also bursting with insights about new Oakland Raiders quarterback Matt Flynn with whom he shares a hometown.
When I asked Elzner, who’s been with the NBC affiliate for the past 19 years, if Flynn is ready to be a starter in the NFL he assured me:
“Flynn is going to make Oakland matter again.”
He added: “The Raiders are one of the great franchises in the NFL, and they are trying to carve out a brand new identity.”
“What an untapped resource you’re looking at in Flynn.”
“He’s a great kid, a great leader, and a quiet leader.”
His senior year at Robert E. Lee High School, Flynn took his team four games deep into the playoffs, and he played all four of those games with a broken bone in his right foot. That was the furthest that Lee, which had never been known as a football powerhouse, had ever gone in the playoffs at that point in time.
Today, Flynn is a big deal in Tyler. The Tyler Independent School District is getting ready to launch its own Hall of Fame, and according to Elzner, the natural choice for the first inductee would be Earl Campbell.
The running back won the Heisman Trophy, was the first overall pick in the NFL draft, was a five-time Pro Bowl selection, and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Elzner, told me that he’ll definitely be nominating Campbell, but he sounded just as eager to get Flynn in, even though he never won a state championship nor scooped up a Heisman.
Flynn Kissing National Championship
After leaving Lee, Flynn went to Louisiana State University where he waited behind former Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell, and didn’t win the starting job outright until his fifth season.
“He never said a word, then comes in and wins a national championship.”
About the experience that Flynn gained at LSU as Russell’s understudy, Elzner added:
“When you play big-time football in the SEC, oh my gosh, that’s basically the NFL south. You have to go into a game thinking I’m going to cut somebody else’s extremities off.”
“Don’t be fooled by his reserved nature,” Elzner warned. “There’s a storm under there, and it shouldn’t be underestimated.”
Flynn is also a remarkably intelligent guy.
“In the NFL, so much of it is about being smart enough to figure it out. Look at Tom Brady. He’s got the smarts.”
“When you’re talking about the Wonderlic, I think Flynn might have written the test.”
Elzner added that it’s been rumored that when Flynn is done playing football that he wants to return to LSU for medical school.
Flynn was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the seventh round of the 2008 draft as the 209th pick overall. He only got two starts in Green Bay, but as Elzner pointed out he did pick up a Super Bowl ring.
“I watched him win the Super Bowl at Cowboy Stadium, but, of course, he didn’t make it onto the field.”
Flynn as a Packer
“He has unlimited potential to be a strong silent type.”
“He’s not going to be John Wayne, but he might be Matt Wayne.”
On Flynn’s less than memorable season with the Seattle Seahawks last year, Elzner added:
“Let’s face it. The guy who did beat him out is a once in a generation type quarterback.”
About his chances of succeeding with a Raiders team that won just four games in 2012:
“He doesn’t care if its a jalopy or a souped-up sports car. He’s going to drive the car.”
Elzner also praised Flynn’s leadership skills:
“If things go wrong, he’ll take the bullet for the team. But when things go right, he’ll point to his teammates.”
As Elzner pointed out, Flynn’s teams have made a habit of winning a lot of football games.
“I leave you with this thought,” Elzner stated. “My daughter grew up with Flynn, and in her middle school yearbook, he signed: One day your Dad will talk about me a lot.”
“I talked a lot about him in high school, and his senior year at LSU, but he didn’t have much luck in Green Bay.”
Both Raiders fans and Elzner will hope that Flynn’s middle school prediction rings true in 2013.