Should Brock Bolen turn out to be a chip off the old block, Jaguars special teams could be very exciting to watch in 2009.
Is he a chip off the old block?
"I'd like to think so, yeah. I've been raised in a military family and toughness is taught in a military family; toughness and discipline," the undrafted rookie from Louisville said following an OTA practice this week.
So what's so special about the old block? Well, Brock's father is Jim Bolen, a self-proclaimed soldier of fortune. The elder Bolen's book, "No Guts, No Glory," details his life as a "brawler, soldier, mercenary, bounty hunter, bouncer, bodyguard, businessman and all-around nice guy," the cover of the book proclaims.
"People used to tell me when I was 16 years old that I would never live to be 18," Jim Bolen says in his book. "Then, when I made it to 18, they told me I would never live to see my 21st birthday. Then it was my 25th, then 30th, and so on."
This summer, Jim Bolen will watch as his son attempts to carve out a career in professional football with the Jaguars. Brock is a hell-for-leather fullback who can run, block and catch, but his pursuit of a roster spot will almost certainly depend on his performance on special teams.
"Everybody has to be disappointed when they don't get drafted. I went into the draft not expecting to get drafted and hoping for an opportunity. I had about eight or nine teams call me. Jacksonville seemed like the best fit. Coach Del Rio got on the phone with me. Just the words he had to say made me feel like I had a good opportunity to make the team here," Brock said when asked why he signed with the Jaguars.
"I feel very disciplined and very tough when I need to be. The game of football is a lot like life," he added.
Brock's life, however, pales in comparison to his father's. The elder Bolen, a Vietnam veteran, writes in his book:
"Due to the old combat movies I watched at a very young age, I always wanted to be a soldier and experience combat. I did that. I wanted to build and race hot rod cars. I did that. I wanted to ride motorcycles. I did that. I always wanted to be tough and able to handle myself. I think I proved that. I read books about soldiers of fortune that went to Africa and were mercenaries for hire. I did that. I wanted to have children who were respectful and loving to me. I have that," Jim Bolen writes.
"He wasn't the meaner one. My mom was the meaner one. You'd think she was the soldier of fortune. It was great having a role model for a father. You expect him to be this mean guy but he's the nicest guy on the exterior," his son said.
What is Brock's favorite story from his father's amazing collection?
"He's getting pulled out of the jungle. The helicopter started pulling him up but started drawing fire so it couldn't gain altitude so it had to stay low and it dragged him through the jungle and he was hitting trees and being shot at," Brock said.
"It's a great book. I've heard most of the stories but some of the stories I haven't heard. I'm not a huge reader but I couldn't put the book down," he added.
"After you read this book, every action-movie hero you've ever seen will seem like a wimp by comparison," the book jacket proclaims.
Running down under a punt? Colliding with kamikaze kickoff-coverage gunners? Tame stuff by comparison.
"There's a difference between being tough and showing people the respect they deserve. He and my mom raised me and I think they did a great job," Brock said.
Is there glory in Brock's football future?