Roch around the clock


The Kickoff

May 25, 2006|By ROCH KUBATKO

I'm working out at Triangle Fitness in Eldersburg, I glance at the front door and notice someone walking through who looks exactly like John Mackey, the Hall of Fame tight end.

That's because it was John Mackey, the Hall of Fame tight end.

Very little gets past me.

Pete Wright of the Howard County police department, and another friend, accompanied Mackey to the gym so he could meet the owner Joe Eder, a die-hard Baltimore Colts fan, and sign a few autographs. Mackey suffers from frontotemporal dementia, a mental affliction similar to Alzheimer's disease, but he's still a commanding presence when he walks into a room. Heads turn, even if he's not easily recognized.

Mackey signed a few photos, including one that read: "To Joe: You are a great winner. I am blocking for you so you will score big in life. John Mackey 88. Colts. Hall of Fame." He also showed off his Super Bowl and Hall of Fame rings and let Eder pose for photos with them.

Everything Mackey did came off instructions from Wright, and some requests had to be repeated for him to understand. Mackey grabbed a nutrition bar and started to peel off the wrapper. Told that he should wait until after lunch, Mackey munched on it anyway. You've got to pick your battles.

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