Average Joe of the Week: Bam Morris
Yinzer Nation’s very own Byron “Bam” Morris. Near and dear for his prominent role in the Steeler’s run to Super Bowl XXX, Morris compiled an average career stat line of 3.809 yards rushing and 35 touchdowns in 75 career games. Certainly more than you and I have combined, but a far reach from your household Steeler feature backs such as Franco Harris and Jerome Bettis, who if you still are not aware grew up in Detroit and played in the Super Bowl in Detroit.
The Doak Walker award winner out of Texas Tech, had a promising role as a rookie gaining 836 yards and hitting pay dirt 7 times. You follow that up with a 559 yard, 9 TD Super Bowl runner up campaign, think he is well on his way to becoming anything but average. Oh how we were so wrong. The first problem issue to derailing his stardom was having a supporting role to starting running back Erric Peagram. I am still trying to figure out who in the hell Erric Peagram is too, you are not alone. Second, is being on the team with such measureable average Joe’s like Neil O’Donnell, Kordell Stewart, Tecmo Super Bowl stud John L. Williams, and the two headed monster of Mike Tomczak and Jim Miller. Good lord, how can you separate yourself from a myriad of mediocricy? I am guessing on any given day or any given sporting event anywhere in America seeing one of these jersey’s on a Steeler fan is in play.
His career really began to “peak” in 1996 when began to realize he was an NFL player in the early to mid 90’s. First came the car search finding 4 kilo’s of marijuana and 1 gram of coke. After being cut by the Steelers he took out his anger at that decision by the Rooney family by assaulting a woman in Baltimore. Then came the two substance abuse suspensions from the NFL. You know Morris was getting more geeked than Danny Devito because it is even tough to get that suspension in the NFL today. Since he only received community service and probation for both, Bam decided to garner a prosperous second income by distributing marijuana for 2 years to the tune of over 220 pounds of the “hippie lettuce”. Coincidentally he happened to spend those two years in Kansas City being employed be the Chiefs, giving them a return on investment of 895 yards and 11 scores while quickly becoming Sam Hurd’s childhood idol. To tack on an end to his bad boy days the Detroit Pistons would be proud of, Bam got 10 years for violating probation. The nickname “Bam” was clearly a precursor to the sounds of the jail cell slamming shut. I would also be remiss and cutting our readers short by failing to include his 2 game stint with the Chicago Bears where he trounced the NFC for 8 yards on 3 carries.
Like most athletes who serve hard time, he began the reformation process. When he got released he tried to make an NFL comeback that was about as successful as Rickey Henderson trying his hand with the Newark Bears of the Independent League. Never giving up like Jimmy Valvano, he joined the Katy Copperheades of the National Indoor Football League, but was rumored to be beaten out by Rod “He Hate Me” Smart. Realizing the dream was over he decided to give advice to prison junkyard Mike Vick on how to survive jail and how to fade from prominensce after two good years.
The man that beat out Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk for the Doak Walker award and shattered Earl Campbell’s single season Southwest Conference record for rushing yards was drafted ahead of Dorsey Levins and Jamal Anderson. And this Saturday, his career will come full circle as he gets inducted into the Texas Tech Red Raider Hall of Fame along with Byron Hanspard, who is not even worthy of the “high” honor of Average Joe, bestowed upon a truly average man. Congrats Mr. Morris, and when you see Hanspard, tell him to hit the books and work on his 0.0 grade point average.
This was written by Tom Hamm, our resident Browns fan that lives in Cincinnati.
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