Fanhouse writer and mid-day WIP host Anthony Gargano went bass fishing with Kevin Kolb. The first part of his story was relatively tame, other than when Kolb recounted a story about how he killed a rattlesnake while hunting with his future wife at 17 years old. The second part of the story is much juicier.
It starts with honestly one of the most disturbing stories I’ve ever heard about any kid, that took place when Kolb was a helper on his football coach dad’s team. He was in fourth-grade and one of the eighth-grade players was teasing him:
And so there was this one time that one kid rode young Kevin Kolb extra hard, and Kolb challenged him to a tug of war with the bath towel wrapped in electrical tape the team sometimes used, and Kolb beat him. And Kolb was so emotionally charged, brimming with fear-breaking sick and tired, that he then beat that one kid with the towel wrapped in electrical tape into submission, whipping him to the ground.
“I beat him until they had to pull me off him,” Kolb spits. “They were like, ‘Kevin … stop!’ Stop! Kevin, stop!’ That kid was a little punk. I was never going to let that happen to me again. I was never going to let anyone make me feel that way again and I never did.”
Gargano writes splendidly, but he tries to gloss this incident over with a simple line that it provided Kolb with “the gift of fortitude.” I think it’s a little more than that. As a fourth-grader, Kolb beat up a kid probably twice his size, and would have continued if people hadn’t restrained him. That’s an incredible competitive fire to have in the Eagles huddle, but it’s also an incredibly violent and disturbing image.
There’s a ton more in the profile. How Kolb’s still “sick” over his interception to Ed Reed in 2008. How Kolb’s high school was basically a semi-pro team. How AJ Feeley thought Kolb should take it easy in practice to make Donovan McNabb look better. How McNabb felt threatened by Kolb’s presence from the beginning, and embraced Michael Vick to push his young challenger down the depth chart.
How former Eagles General Manager and current Browns GM Tom Heckert would have offered the farm for Kolb:
“Whatever Andy wanted, I would have given him,” Heckert said at the time. “A one (draft pick), a two … two ones. No joke. Kolb is legit.”
There’s so much to think about that perhaps I’m getting too hung up on the image of fourth-grade Kolb standing over another kid, beating his snot out. Yet it does repulse me at a very basic level. Hopefully Kolb can channel that “fortitude” into an team attitude that makes losing unacceptable in the Eagles locker room — and he never has to challenge anyone to a tug of war again.