As part of his coverage of the Detroit Lions activities at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., Anwar S. Richardson’s update on Florida State left tackle Zebrie Sanders includes video of the 2009 ESPN Monday Night Countdown’s “C’mon Man” segment showing an unusual play featuring Sanders. You might remember it. While his quarterback is scrambling, and doing a hell of a job saving himself, Sanders doesn’t move from his stance. At all.
What happened? It was a long time ago, and the Lions coaching staff is better equipped to put it in perspective than I am, but I can’t shake the question.
First, as I watch the replay again, and then again, I feel concern for the young man’s physical health. Did he have a TIA or some other type of brain episode? Seriously, I’m asking. It’s eerie how he doesn’t twitch, look up, waver or flinch.
Then I begin to wonder about his capacity to be mentally present. Did he realize too late that the ball had been snapped and then was too embarrassed to move because he was so obviously tardy?
Oh, wait, that’s how I would react. Simple embarrassment wouldn’t be an issue for a high-performing, highly skilled collegiate athlete in such a situation.
In fact, neither scenario is likely to be at the root of Sanders’ famed immobility. At the time, some online commentators speculated that his lack of movement was due to over-conditioning in a freeze technique practiced by the Seminoles to avoid false starts. If that’s the case, that’s incredible
focus, the type that can be channeled for the good of the Lions offensive line.
With that explanation in mind, I feel safe in assuming that this embarrassment is well behind him. I can let the question go, for clearly he has outperformed that incident in the years since. All the same, if I see the fellow in a Lions uniform come the regular season, I might be a little too eager to see if he freezes again.