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Yes, Folks, He Can Take A Hit
Ralph Wiley
August 23, 1982
Renaldo Nehemiah cleared his first hurdle in the NFL neatly, and intact
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August 23, 1982

Yes, Folks, He Can Take A Hit

Renaldo Nehemiah cleared his first hurdle in the NFL neatly, and intact

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Nehemiah's next series came in the third quarter. On second-and-two from the Raiders' 49-yard line, Nehemiah lined up wide right. The Raiders zoned and Safety Ken Hill's responsibility was the quick out, which Nehemiah ran. Guy Benjamin's throw was a trifle behind Nehemiah. He gathered the ball against his pads and eluded Hill before being tackled by Cornerback James Davis. He then grinned unabashedly as his teammates gave him taps of congratulation and acceptance.

"I was impressed with his overall performance, but I wasn't as dubious as the rest of the guys," said Hill, who as a sprinter for Yale had competed against Nehemiah in a track meet. "I knew he was a competitor." With 13:35 left in the final quarter, Nehemiah, flanked right once again, drove to the inside of James Davis, positioned himself like a veteran for an outside move, and then broke back inside. He caught rookie Quarterback Bryan Clark's short pass and executed a fine cutback move, making it look innate. Lott, a hard critic, was impressed. "I think his confidence and his competitiveness will carry him farther than his speed will," he said.

Madden said that in leaving track for the football field, Nehemiah was "going from driving on a country road to the Los Angeles freeways." But Nehemiah, for once in his life, was in no hurry, merely adjusting to the pace of the traffic. "If I start trying to prove things," he said, "I'll outsmart myself. There's still so much that I have to learn."

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