Forgotten Player of the Moment – RENALDO NEHEMIAH

Renaldo Nehemiah

(by Ed Agner)

Mmm, speed. The NFL loves speed over pretty much everything. Be a smallish and slowish but good college lineman or a smart QB without the physical tools that makes Mel Kiper need to change his shorts and you’ve got next to no chance at getting a serious shot at the NFL. Be faster than high school lovin’, even if you have no other discernible football skills and you’ll get all kinds of interest from NFL teams.

Hey, no one said life was fair.

And it’s football’s speed addiction that makes for all kinds of interesting and amusing results. Now, normally most NFL teams will let colleges do the dirty work in trying to convert men who are accustomed to running in shorts and tank tops into speed burning wide receivers or corner backs or kick returners. But now and then some NFL executive tries to think outside the box – normally Al Davis and normally to tragicomedic results – to the amusement of the rest of the league and all its fans.

Hey, Dallas turned Bob Hayes into a HOF level WR. Isn’t the discovery of the next Bob Hayes worth a little time and investment?

Sure. Unless it’s Renaldo Nehemiah.Nehemiah

Renaldo Nehemiah was a world class high hurdler who missed his shot at the gold thanks to the US boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics.

Bill Walsh was coming off his first Super Bowl title and the ego we all grew to loathe was just taking shape.

It was a marriage made in heaven.

(Before you start – yes, I know all about former Raider and world class sprinter Ron Brown. But at least Brown became a perfectly acceptable kick returner – that and he suckered himself on to the Rams before he was a Raider. I’ll have plenty of Raider self-loathing sprinkled throughout this without picking too much at those old wounds, thank you.)

Anyway, the signing got a Sports Illustrated cover and all kinds of hullabaloo. He was to beRN_SI Bob Hayes v. 2.0. Nehemiah was a world class athlete! Bill Walsh was a genius! This HAD to work!

Hey, Nehemiah was a high hurdler! Jumping the high hurdles was kind of like jumping over a pile of players. Shoot, it was practically the same. Perfect!

Well, hurdles don’t hit. And Nehemiah had little in the way of a football background. And he was not a very big man – Total Football II lists him a 6’1″ 181, if that’s true then the Zendejas brothers were all pert near William Perry. It was EXACLTLY like an Al Davis experiment.

To be fair, Renaldo Nehemiah was about as good as notorious 49er first round flop, J.J. Stokes. Hmm, now that I think of it – neither would take a hit, neither had good hands, neither ran good routes, neither could fight off chucks at the line of scrimmage. Wow! It’s like they were the same person!

After 3 years, Nehemiah amassed all of 43 catches, 754 yards and 4 TD’s serving mainly as a deep threat decoy where both he and the 49ers prayed that nothing would have to come his way – EXACTLY like an Al Davis experiment. He cut out after the 49ers won the Super Bowl in ’84 and returned to the track world where he again competed at a world class level.

Of course the 49er’s didn’t end up with too much egg on their face considering they drafted some kid named Rice from a small college in Mississippi in the first round of the ’85 draft – EXACTLY like an Al Davis experi…Dang!


SUPER AGENT~! Renaldo Nehemiah

Buy the SI Cover from the place I stole the image for almost $200~!!!!

Pro Football Reference


 

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