Meehan: football for nothing, kicks for free Life of the semipro can be semi-tough

August 16, 1991|By John W. Stewart

It's one thing to be 32 years old and earning millions of dollars bTC for the privilege of getting bounced around as an NFL quarterback. But it's quite another to be a 32-year-old quarterback who gets bounced around for nothing.

That's the position in which Ron Meehan finds himself as he prepares for another game for another team in another league in another city.

Talk about the consummate semipro football player and you're talking about Ron Meehan. When he started at quarterback for the Baltimore Bears in their Mason-Dixon League opener two weeks ago, it marked the start of an 11th consecutive season of playing for "the love of the game."

"Maybe it's the position," said Meehan, who will lead the Bears against the York (Pa.) Lions tomorrow in York.

"With a good offensive line in front of you, you can play a long time. It's those guys in the trenches who tend to wear out a lot quicker."

The Bears have won their first two games -- 12-6 over the Shenango Valley Blasters and 7-0 over the Brooklyn Kings -- and Meehan is 26-for-44 passing for 326 yards and three touchdowns.

The Kings are the defending champions of the American Football Association, a nationwide organization of more than 200 teams.

The Bears, with a home field at Patterson High School, will play a 12-game schedule.Postseason playoffs will lead to an AFA championship game in Canton, Ohio.

So what keeps Meehan's football clock ticking?

"As for me, as long as I can get up in the morning, I'll keep playing. I've probably lost a step, but I've become smarter and I know my limitations. When you're younger, you don't think you have any limitations," he said.

Meehan has spent more than half his life playing organized football. There were single-season passing records at Woodlawn High School, and when he finished at Towson State as an honorable mention All-American, he held school passing records for attempts, completions and yards.

As a four-year starter (1977-80), he guided the Tigers to a 26-13-1 record (two seasons in Division III and two in Division II) and was in the final game at Burdick Field (1977) and the first at Minnegan Stadium (1978).

"With the pros, I got caught in the USFL-NFL situation, trying out with several teams and finding out if you were dropped by a [United States Football League] team, no NFL team thought you were any good," he said. "You just didn't get much of a chance to show what you could do."

He put his name in playbooks in pencil, and a pro career was over before it started. Since then, it has been 10 years of Chambersburg and Frederick and Arbutus with varying degrees of success, including all-league selection every year but one.

Meehan fits his football -- twice-a-week practices and weekend games -- around a regular work schedule for the Winner Distributing Co. and for ATC Inc., seller of cellular telephones. He and his wife and their four children live in Ellicott City.

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