Former Colt Cook finds you can go home again

Setting The Scene

November 06, 2006|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN REPORTER

For a guy who used to shake up opposing quarterbacks, former Baltimore Colts defensive end Fred Cook found himself a little dazed and confused Saturday night.

"I got lost last night," said Cook, who drove 14 hours from his home in Mississippi to Baltimore. "Baltimore's changed a lot. It seems like there are new highways here. I don't remember [Interstate] 395."

Cook, who hadn't visited the city in almost a decade, can be forgiven, and judging by the number of Colts fans who lined up outside the Baltimore Football Alumni Tent yesterday before the Ravens' game against the Cincinnati Bengals, he was.

Bill Dunn of Perry Hall, 47, brought an RC Cola can with Cook's playing card printed on the side of the can. Jeff Laumann brought 10 of Cook's trading cards to sign.

"I was just a kid, but I remember all of the cheering for `The Sack Pack,' " the Pasadena fan, 36, said of the nickname given to the defensive line of Cook, Mike Barnes, John Dutton and Joe Ehrmann. "I liked the whole defense."

For Cook, his return had been delayed by Mother Nature. He had planned to visit Baltimore last year, but those plans were changed when Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast.

Cook, who lives in Pascagoula, Miss., lost two cars to flooding, but he downplayed his losses, focusing instead on the suffering around him.

His elementary school was destroyed. Bodies began to pile up as cemetery owners waited for the waters to recede. The son of a female friend, an ex-Marine, committed suicide.

Cook said he found himself suffering from depression and intense migraines.

"There was so much sadness," said Cook, who said he recently lost 70 pounds as his body battled blood poisoning. "The wind and water was not prejudiced. It took the rich and poor, the young and old."

Returning to Baltimore seemed to refresh Cook, who was greeted with a hug by former Colts teammate Bruce Laird.

"It's a pretty strong fraternity," said Laird, who was a defensive back. "Although you don't see each other as much, anytime you do get together it's like you never left."

Cook, who looked trim and fit, said he missed suiting up. "It brings back old memories of cold Sunday afternoons," Cook said. "It has revitalized me."

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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