Thanks to Paul Zimmerman for his outstanding article on Raider linebacker Matt Millen (This Raider's a Real Riot, April 16). Millen brings an intensity to football that all who play the game should possess. He is indeed the ultimate warrior.
DANA K. VIGE
Defensive Secondary Coach
Sutherland High School
Matt Millen has to be the most intense, feistiest competitor in the game. If I ever get to coach a youth football team, I'd love to mold my defensive unit into 11 Matt Millens. In fact, the only time I wish Millen weren't so fired up is when he plays the Dolphins.
Nobody writes football like Paul Zimmerman, but I hope young athletes won't read his story on Matt Millen. Millen's statement, "Melosky told me, 'Give him the big lariat across the head,' " is a knockout blow to the ideals of sportsmanship and integrity. I think any athlete who has suffered a severe head or neck injury would agree with me.
St. Augustine, Fla.
SI has now profiled two outstanding and remarkably similar linebackers. The first, the late Todd Becker of the University of Pittsburgh, who died at the age of 20 from injuries suffered in a fall from a third-story dormitory window ("Any of Us Might Have Done It," Nov. 21), was described as a "killer." "He loved to hit." "He sort of scared you at first, because you couldn't tell what he was going to do...he wasn't a brute.... He cared for the people around him.... But he was kind of...wild." The second, Matt Millen, is described in similar fashion: "He was so intense, he'd get into so many fights in practice, that the assistant coaches would complain.... [His] play was fanatical.... [He] surveys the world of NFL football in an ever-mounting rage."
Rick Telander's article on Becker pointed out that if young football players fail to temper the violent behavior often vigorously encouraged in them by society, they could be headed for failure, disappointment and tragedy. Paul Zimmerman's story on Millen suggests that if youths perfect their violent behavior, they can be headed for glory, success and happiness.
The message of the Telander article was that there is no buffer zone between the football field and the real world, and that we can hardly expect our football heroes to quickly and easily shut off the emotions that brought them success on the gridiron. Millen is the best inside linebacker in football and, apparently, a good-natured human being, but I only hope that by glorifying Millen's violent actions you haven't led some young player down the tragic path of Todd Becker.
I wonder why you chose to give this smart mouth so much print.
Steve Wulf's article (Searching for a Sea of Tranquillity, April 16) on golfer Phil McGleno/Mac O'Grady was truly uplifting. I'm a student at Bucknell University, which has an abundance of corn, cows and conformists, and I found it refreshing to learn that someone with a slightly off-center view of life can succeed without giving in to the popular notion that to chase a dream is childish. As I read the quotes from McGleno/O'Grady's journal while sitting in my English 104 class, I felt as if I had gained a friend. Thanks for giving me a new name to look for in the sports pages and a new inspiration to help me through life.
In the article about Mac O'Grady, Willie McCovey was quoted by O'Grady as saying that I did not play in the Crosby one year because I was too scared.
I don't know who makes up these stories. On the golf course, I am like Snoopy: I have nerves of graphite.
CHARLES M. SCHULZ
Santa Rosa, Calif.