Uncertain offseason ends on positive note for Kent’s Karney


  • BY Wire Service
  • Saturday, June 27, 2009 5:00pm
  • Sports

He doesn’t push a car around with his bare hands anymore as he did during his years at Kentwood High.

Nor does Mike Karney send fan letters to NFL players like he did as a high school senior. But deep down, 10 years after leaving Kent and five years since being drafted by the New Orleans Saints, Karney is still the same even-keel, level-headed guy who considers himself a “freak.”

Which might help explain the 5-foot-11, 255-pound fullback’s reaction to being released by the Saints in March while he was on the way to his own wedding rehearsal. Karney didn’t point fingers or slam the organization that chose him out of Arizona State University in the fifth round of the 2004 NFL draft.

Instead, Karney did what Karney does: He took it in stride and with class.

“I had five good years down there,” said Karney, who was a second-team All-Pro selection in 2006. “It was kind of a deal where I started seeing the writing was on the wall. Things were changing with what we were doing offensively.

“(When) you have a quarterback (Drew Brees) who can do what he can do and is as accurate as he is, you’re going to throw the ball,” Karney said. “When you don’t run the ball much, there’s not a lot of fullback in there.”

Of course, the timing could have been better.

“I just didn’t know it would come the day before my wedding, which I thought was a little odd, more than anything,” Karney admitted.

Odd, indeed.

It set off what proved to be a whirlwind stretch of five days for Karney: He was released on March 5, married on March 6, then was in St. Louis on March 10 signing a new three-year, $3 million contract to play for the Rams.

Yet, for Karney, the hard part wasn’t being released or juggling his schedule while in the middle of one of the biggest moments of his life.

It was telling new wife Kim that the newlyweds’ honeymoon to the Bahamas would have to be postponed so the big guy could attend the Rams’ early offseason training program.

“That was the tough part,” said Karney, who now makes his home in Scottsdale, Ariz., and who returns to Kent every June to run Karney’s 44 Kids Camp at French Field. “But Kim has been a trooper. It worked out almost to what I wanted it to be. This couldn’t be a better situation for me to be in.

“From a playing standpoint and what they’re asking me to do, I’m really excited about that.”

What Karney was even more excited for, however, didn’t come until this past Sunday, when he and his new wife finally were able to embark on that long-awaited honeymoon.

“We’ve been waiting a while,” Kim said. “But it has all worked out for the best.”

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