Manning’s Toronto connection

Manning’s Toronto connection

Canadians making the news early in the 2012 NFL season include Toronto’s Orlando Franklin, Hamilton’s Austin Collie and former Western Mustang Vaughn Martin. Senior NFL Columnist Pete Prisco was impressed with Toronto’s Orlando Franklin during the Broncos season-opener against the Steelers:

One of the great concerns for the Broncos heading into this season was whether right tackle Orlando Franklin, who excelled as a drive blocker in the Tim Tebow gimmick offense a year ago, could transition to a more conventional tackle. In other words, could he hold up in pass protection? He sure did against the Steelers. Matched some against LaMarr Woodley, Franklin did a nice job. He moved his feet, even engulfing the powerful Woodley at times. If Franklin can play that way all season long, the Broncos might have as good a tackle tandem as there is in the league with Ryan Clady on the other side.

Philip Blake, the other Guard from Toronto on the Broncos roster, was inactive for the opening game against the Steelers.

Also from, Dan McLellan reports that former CIS Western Mustangs star Vaughn Martin has become a leader on the San Diego Chargers defence:

At the time of the draft, it appeared general manager A.J. Smith may have reached by selecting Martin. Martin is a native of Lucea, Jamaica where he grew up playing cricket and soccer. Martin moved to Canada when he was 9 years old, but he didn’t begin playing football until his sophomore year of high school and entered the draft with just one year of college experience.

He played just 10 games with no starts in each of his first two NFL seasons. Then last year, Castillo broke a tibia in Week 1. Martin started the remaining 15 games and finished the season with 49 tackles (five for a loss) and a sack.

Martin understands the importance of production, but he is not defined solely by numbers. He’s equally concerned with how he goes about his daily business, a skill he learned from Castillo and Cesaire, two unquestioned, long-time leaders of the D-line until they were recently released.

“I just remember coming in as a rookie, lost,” Martin said. “I didn’t know where to go and they set a good example for me.

“I watched how those guys dealt with adversity, up and down. I watched how they dealt with success when we were 13-3 (2009). We were playing well and had good games. And I watched them when there were bad games.”

Martin feels indebted to Castillo and Cesaire for taking him in and showing him how to be a pro. It’s a debt he can never repay, so Martin has chosen to pay it forward.

“You wish they were teammates forever,” he said. “But the league moves in one direction. The best thing you can do is try to follow the good example of the guys who came ahead of you and learn from the guys who are still here as you continue to go on forward.”

The Chargers drafted ends Corey Liuget (1st round in 2011, 19th overall) and Kendall Reyes (2nd round, 49th overall, this year). Clearly, there is competition, but it hasn’t impacted Martin’s greater role.

“Vaughn is a great leader,” Reyes said.

Liuget said Martin’s best leadership skill is his ability to learn from his mistakes.

“No matter how bad his last play was, he always tries to make up for it whether it is with effort or technique,” Liuget said. “He always seems to do better the next time around. He doesn’t get down on himself. He’s always relentlessly trying to get to the ball and trying to do what he needs to do in the scheme of our defense.”

Martin appreciates the sentiments, but he insists it’s just the job.

“I think I am the same person,” Martin said. “What you do is make mistakes. A coach told me a long time ago, I think it was in high school, ‘A mistake is only a mistake when it remains uncorrected.’”

According to Yahoo Sports’ Adam Hughes, Canadian Austin Collie (born in Hamilton, Ontario) has been cleared to play this season:

Their (Colts) receiving corps got a little beefier on September 12 when Austin Collie was cleared by team doctors to practice this week and to play against the Vikes. It’s unclear whether Collie will start, but Colts fans will take every little bit of good news we can get at this point. Collie has been out of action since he suffered a concussion on August 19, his third such diagnosis in less than two years. Anyone who has watched the Colts closely during that time frame knows that Collie also took some other wicked licks that didn’t officially result in a concussion, so every hit to the head is cause for concern. That’s why I was a little surprised when head coach Chuck Pagano gave the “full go” nod to Collie leading up to last week’s opener. In the end, of course, that was a bit optimistic, as the veteran receiver was held out of practice and the Bears game. The timing of this return feels less rushed and is a bit more palatable, and it certainly has to be welcome news for everyone who makes their living by the Horseshoe.–nfl.html