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Journal Entries 2004
November 15, 2004
October 11, 2004
September 2, 2004
August 13, 2004
August 4, 2004
July 28, 2004
July 1, 2004
June 16, 2004
June 9, 2004
June 3, 2004
May 25, 2004
May 9, 2004
April 30, 2004
April 21, 2004
April 7, 2004
March 26, 2004
March 19, 2004
March 10, 2004

Journal Entry from Utah
November 15, 2004

Another month of the season has passed and not a whole lot has changed on my end. I am still here in Utah trying my hardest to be patient and wait for a good fit to happen with a team and get back to work.

These next two weeks should be interesting because a lot of transactions should be happening. Normally at this point of the season teams either have a chance to make the playoffs or they don't. The teams that do not have a chance for the playoffs start mixing up their rosters and releasing guys in order to prepare for next year's season. My agent seems optimistic that I should get picked up here in the next few weeks by one such team. That is where it will get interesting because then comes the decision again if the team will want me to go back over to NFL Europe and play another season or just stay and train in their off season workout program. It will be an interesting next month or so to see what will happen.

Life is kind of interesting right now because I am trying to balance a couple different things and keep everything in perspective at the same time. I'm trying to make some decisions that will definitely affect my life now as well as my future. First was an amazing real estate job offer in Arizona that could make me a lot of money, but it wasn't football and it would require moving on and starting my next career right now. Second was a TV gig in New York that I was interviewed twice for, once in Cleveland and then out in LA. I thought a lot about both of them but after discussing it with family and friends I just decided I wouldn't be happy doing either one of them right now. Even though both of them would be awesome to do at some point in my life, football is what I want to be doing right now. I don't want to regret anything when my football career is over and my window of opportunity of playing at this level is very small. My body! will only be able to compete at this level for a couple years, but I feel my mind and my other abilities will be able to provide me with similar if not better career opportunities in the future.

So here I am, still in Utah, still training like crazy and still hoping something will fall through in the next little while. Fortunately I'm keeping myself busy; I can't stand to stay idle. This last month was actually pretty fun, I did quite a bit. My Saturdays are always spent at my brothers University of Utah games sitting front row with one of their jerseys on and screaming at the top of my lungs. I almost got kicked out of Qualcom stadium in San Diego when they were playing San Diego State; needless to say I disagreed with one of the calls. I didn't think the officials paid attention to what the fans said but I got one of theirs attention after a terrible call. Their team is still undefeated and ranked 6th in the country. I am traveling to Wyoming this week to watch the game it is supposed to be like 20 degrees. Fortunately for the Utah fans, I have people selling Utah beanies in the parking lot before the game to keep their ears warm. ! It is one of my little side businesses I have been doing to keep busy. For those that know me, you know I am always trying to sale something, rest assured I haven't changed I have hats, shirts, bandanas, rally towels, insoles, jewelry, sunglasses, cars, mobile homes, pretty much just about anything for sale at any given time and if I don't have it I will get it. LOL

A couple weeks ago I took a little road trip as well, I flew down to Dallas to pick up a car I bought off of EBay. I spent a day there visiting old friends from the Cowboys (Witten and Romo), then an old mission buddy David Green, and then some friends I knew from church Leonard and Allen. My friend from Phoenix BJ who is a pro heavyweight boxer 9-0 flew in also to help drive my new car back home. We drove 15 hours straight all the way to his home in Phoenix. We stopped in El Paso for a couple hours to visit Ed Stansburry a friend and former teammate from Berlin Thunder. BJ and I both speak Spanish so we drove across the Mexico border into Juarez for lunch. I spent two days in Phoenix with BJ and his wife and then we took off for San Diego to make it to my brother's game.

At the stadium parking lot we met up with my sister Amy her fiancť Sean and a couple of their friends, as well as my old UK roommate Tim and our friend Jason. We tailgated and visited in the warm sun for awhile, something I wasn't used to because it has been so cold in Utah. While we were waiting me and the boys walked around and sold Utah Football t-shirts to the Utah fans. It seemed like there were more Utah fans then San Diego fans. The game was great we killed them. That night was Halloween so we went people watching downtown; there were some creative costumes. Everyone kept asking us who we were dressed up like. Since we didn't bring costumes, we just said we were NSYNC (music group). The next two days I went down to Mexico, once with the boys and the next day with my brother Jonathan. I love it down there, it's just relaxing and the food is great. From there I went to LA for a couple days and then stopped in Las Vegas on my way back to Utah to help my brother Jonathan sale his Mary Kay cd's at a conference.

Well that's about it, I am just keeping busy doing little things on the side and training my butt off. Some good news is that the high school football team I have been working with plays for the state championship this weekend, I hope they win.
Anyway, hopefully I will have some better news next time I write, until then take care and God bless! AB

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Journal Entry from Utah
October 11, 2004

I am so sorry to everyone for not writing for the last month and leaving everyone hanging as to what happened in Chicago. Iím finally ready to send a little update and catch everyone up to speed as far as whatís going on with my career.

As most everyone knows now I was released by the Chicago Bears on the final roster cut made September 5th. It was frustrating after signing with them last December and going to NFL Europe and winning the World Bowl while wearing their logo. I came back from Europe to go straight into training camp with a new coaching staff I had never met and with a new offense that wasnít built for my receiver build. To make matters worse I was struck in the kidneys early on and had to sit out for two weeks of camp trying to heal. I was able to play in 3 of the 4 preseason games against the 49ers, Saints and the Browns enjoying every minute of it.

Upon being released I flew back home to Utah to visit family and friends and continue working out using the high altitude as a great training tool. Within the first few days back here my agent notified me that I would have a workout with the Carolina Panthers. I was flown out there the next week for my workout along with 3 other receivers from around the country, one of them being my former Berlin Thunder teammate and good friend Chas Guessner. Usually workouts consist of running a 40 yard dash, some shuttle drills and then about 30 minutes of running routes with a QB throwing you the ball. The team sends out their player personal, scouts and maybe some coaches to evaluate your performance. Generally with receivers they obviously look for how you catch the ball and run your routes, but more specifically they want to see how your hips turn, adjust to the ball, and overall body control. I felt really good about my workout, I could have run a little faster 40 time but my shuttle drills and routes felt great and I caught every ball thrown to me.

Unfortunately at the end of the workout they went in and evaluated the film from our performance. They decided they werenít ready to sign anybody just yet, but personally they told me I had an awesome workout and I would be on their board as a future prospect if things didnít work out with the guys they have.

The next week I decided I needed a break for a couple days so I flew out to Los Angeles for a possible business venture as well as to visit my old UK roommates Tim and Win. It was good to see them and just relax a little bit and remember the old days in college. I then flew back here to Utah and went straight from the airport to my brothers Jesse and Jasonís football game against Utah State, they crushed them. In fact, their team University of Utah is doing awesome they are ranked 11th in the country. That has been probably the best part of being home right now is that I am able to go and watch my brothers play. I never had the chance up until now because we always played the same days and I lived in a different part of the country or world. It has been great being able to see how they have developed and worked hard to get to where they are and experience some of the success that comes from their hard work.

Other than that, I guess the latest news from my agent is that there are a few teams out there expressing interest in bringing me in for a workout or for a job if there are injuries or lack of performance. I guess the teams mainly looking at me now are the Chargers, Eagles and Panthers. It puts me in a tough situation because I have to keep working out like I could be picked up today and at some teams practice tomorrow. I have tried to make the most of the last few weeks though, other then working out I have stayed busy with a few investments (as always), as well as catching up with old friends and a little dating on the side. I also have been able to volunteer time with some of the high school football teams around here. It keeps my fire burning to remember my humble beginning where it all started as a 5-6Ē 119lb clumsy freshman who rarely got in the game. Just by walking out on the old high school field I am flooded with memories of the struggles, disappointments and finally the success I experienced growing up playing this game. Itís been very rewarding to help out the coaches and practice with the kids.

I guess thatís about it, itís already October and I am enjoying life here in Utah for now, who knows where I will be tomorrow but I am enjoying today.
I wish you all the best, take care and God bless! AB

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Journal Entry from Bear's Training Camp
September 2, 2004

I apologize to everyone, it has been two weeks since I wrote my last journal entry and I have a lot to catch you up on.

I returned back to practice after game #1 of the preseason which the team won in overtime 13-10. Game #2 was against San Francisco, which happened to be my favorite team as a kid growing up. I actually first liked the Bears when I started playing football because my mom bought me a used Walter Payton #34 jersey at a yard sale and they had just won the 1985 Super Bowl. I wore that jersey every day when I would get home from school. It didnít matter what sport I was playing, I loved it. Eventually I grew out of it and the Bears werenít winning many games, so the fair weather fan that I am, started cheering for the Steve Young led Forty-Niners team. Needless to say it was pretty cool to play here in Chicago as a Bear in Soldier Field against San Francisco.

The week of practice went pretty well, my injury bothered me a little at first. Thanks to a lot of prayers and some rehab; I got through it and had a really good week of practice. My reps were very limited as the coaches tried to get more and more reps for the starters and 2nd team guys. My only real chance to show what I could do came later in the week when we started running a scout offense of the Forty-Niners to prepare our defense. It felt good to get out there and really start running routes without thinking and just relaxing and doing whatís drawn up on the card. It works out well because the other receivers are tired from going against our scout defense, so they donít want to have to take more reps so I can get all I want.

The game rolled around on Saturday and it was really cool to be in the newly renovated Soldier Field. This was actually my first time even being in the stadium other than a light walk through a couple nights before. We broke camp Wed. of that week, it was nice to move out of the dorms and come back up to north Chicago where our actual facilities are. Plus Iím in a hotel now and they have a lot better beds and showers.

The game went well and we were able to pull off another close win. Soldier Field was filled and I got my first taste of the Chicago fans, they are awesome! They played the starters the entire first have and then started rolling in the other guys in the second half. I played the fourth quarter on both special teams and offense. I did get thrown one pass but it was under thrown and batted away. It just felt great to get out there and run around and play football.

Week #3 was back here in Lake Forest where I live. Practice was pretty much the same, limited reps but I try to take advantage of the ones I do get. The weeks practice went pretty quick even though we are still on a really long schedule very similar to our training camp schedule. (except we donít have the night meetings) Our #3 preseason game was against New Orleans here in Chicago. We really should have won it but they came back late in the fourth quarter to edge us out. The third preseason game is traditionally the game for the starters to play most of the game and really work on timing etc. to get ready for the season opener. It was a long game with 30 penalties between the two teams. Tyler Tuttle my buddy from high school and his wife and kid came to the game, it was really good to see them.

This week is the final week of preseason, we play game #4 in Cleveland against the Browns on Saturday. Then they make the final cuts the next day. Yesterday was a tough day around here because they cut 20 guys. I hate this part of football but it happens and its not easy to swallow.

That is about it, it is week #4 and it all comes down to this week. Week #4 is traditionally the week were teams rest their starters and I should get a lot of playing time. Wish me luck and keep me in your prayers.
Take care and God bless! AB

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Journal Entry from Bear's Training Camp
August 13, 2004

The last 10 days havenít been very exciting in any way I look at them. After two miserable long days in the hospital I was finally able to check out and rejoin the team at training camp. My official injury was diagnosed as a bruised kidney and a slightly torn abdomen. Because it was an internal injury the team medical staff took every precaution to prevent further injury as well as rehab me back on to the field as soon as possible.

The first couple of days back were really weird even though I obviously couldnít practice with the team I was out there on the sideline in my jersey and shorts trying to take all the mental reps I possibly could. My first practice back I only lasted half the practice, I got dizzy and my stomach hurt so they sent me in. Since that day though my body has seemed to have recovered very well and I now feel little to no pain at all. The worst part was staying behind at the dorms while the team traveled for a three day scrimmage against the St Louis Rams. I had to stay back at camp with one of the training staff to rest and have my urine tested twice a day. Finally by day five after the incident my urine was cleared as normal and I was feeling much better.

A week to the day of the injury I had a check up with the doctor that did all the tests on me. He said I looked good and cleared me to slowly start working out again. His slow was a lot slower then my slow but I am sure itís for my own good. The first couple days back all they let me do was walk! I was so bored, the whole team is practicing next to me, diving, running, hitting etc. and I have to walk around the field for 20 minutes instead. After a couple days of walking they let me start lifting weights a little and at practice I was able to jog. I started getting antsy to get back out on the practice field because I was feeling so well but the trainers insisted I needed more time.

Yesterday the team went to St Louis to play the Rams, this time as an official preseason game. I had to stay behind again and finish up my rehab, this time they bussed me up to our regular season workout facilities and put me in a hotel. The last two days I have had two a day conditioning drills here at Hallas Hall. I feel great in fact I am now running full speed routes and was just cleared by the trainers to start practicing again.

Last night the team won a close overtime victory 13-10 and today everyone has off to recover. Tomorrow Saturday I will practice but will be limited to non-contact drills only. If all goes well Monday I will be clear to practice normal. I am so anxious to get back out there and play. We still have three more preseason games the next is the 21st against the San Francisco Forty-Niners. I will keep you all posted. Thanks so much for all your thoughts and prayers for me and my injury.
Take care and God bless! AB

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Journal Entry from Bear's Training Camp
August 4, 2004

It has been a very demanding and eventful first week of training camp here in Bourbonnais, IL. I reported Tuesday the 27th of July to Olivet University after a troublesome trip from the airport. My ride called me while I was on my flight to Chicago and mentioned he wouldn't be able to pick me up on his way to camp because he was running late and was going to go another direction. That left me stuck nearly 2 hours from camp without a ride. Fortunately, I have some good friends down here that I met at church, I was able to call one up at the last minute and he and his wife picked me up and drove me down here.

That night I mainly just did the administrative side of things, filling out paper work, ID's, lockers, and checking in my dorm room. Last year with the Cowboys we had camp in San Antonio staying in a really nice hotel right on the River Walk and practiced inside the Alamodome. This year we basically use the campus here at Olivet as our own. We all are required to stay in the dorms and eat in the cafeteria. We use all of their locker rooms and football and soccer fields for our practices. They have very nice facilities I am sure due in part to the Bears financial help but they really do have a nice setup.

The first day's morning was spent by meeting after meeting required by the NFL to inform us of different aspects of the league. Then we had introductions and presentations etc. of those helping with the camp and what we should expect throughout the next couple of weeks.

In the afternoon we held our first practice of camp and I got my first taste of the offense as well as the defense I would be going against for the next couple of weeks. Practice is always easier to do when there are fans there cheering you on; at times that's what makes camp bearable. Our three practice fields are surrounded by high school style bleachers filled with Chicago Bear fanatics. The Cowboys had the same type of following last year at the Alamodome, its fun to get to know these fans. Before and after practice I try and spend a good 10-15 min signing autographs for the fans. There is a wide variety of fans present, some are fanatics and know every players life story, plus some. Other fans are season ticket holders and just enjoy following the team when they have the time. Many fans here though never have even been to a game and this is their only chance to see the players they cheer on all season long on TV. I feel for them because I had never even been to a NFL game myself until I played in one, they are expensive. I really do try and stay as long as I can to do autographs and take pictures with people. It's neat to meet everybody.

The rest of the week followed along day by day, each day long and slow but rewarding as I slowly grasped the offense and tried to make plays day in and day out. That is the biggest thing about playing at this level is you have to be consistently good everyday. Day two and three are always the hardest because no matter how hard you train and prepare yourself for camp you will get sore. It's just impossible to avoid some things and getting tired and sore at training camp is one of them. Once you get on the field and warm up your adrenaline pushes you through practice but afterwards and at night trying to sleep are miserable. I end each practice with a 10-min ice bath to try and lessen the stiffness in my legs for the next day. Just off the practice fields they have 10 or so horse feeder troughs filled with water and buckets and buckets of ice for the players to soak their lower body.

Our daily schedule alternates but we generally have one practice one day and two the next. We go full pads in the mornings and helmets, shorts and shoulder pads in the afternoons. My day starts at 7am with breakfast followed by practice on the field at 8:30. Practice runs about two and half-hours and then I use another 30 or 40 min catching some extra balls and cooling down with stretching and ice tubs. Then we have a couple hours for lunch and rest. I would rest a lot more but I don't know the offense so my free time is spent studying the playbook trying to catch up with everybody else. At 2:30 we have a special teams meeting for 30 min then the offense meets for another hour going over the film from the morning practice and putting in the new plays for the afternoon practice. Our offense installs about 20-30 new plays for each practice, so when we have two practices in one day it takes a lot of work to remember them all. Next we are back on the field for another couple hours of practice followed by the same cool down routine and autograph signings.

Dinner is served at 6:30 and then we are back in special teams meeting then a full team meeting at 8:10. We then divide up for offense/defense meetings going over the afternoon practice film and once again installing new plays for the next morning's practice. We finish the day with a position meeting, with just the WR's and our coach. We go over some fine-tuning of our specific assignments and technique. From there we grab a snack from the meal room and head to our rooms. I study my plays for the next day and fall asleep by bed check at 11pm, just to do it all again in the morning.

Sounds pretty exciting huh! I bet you all wish you were here in camp with me right! It's fun though getting to know the guys and the people who run the team behind the scenes.

Well, now its time for the bad news. I am actually writing this journal entry from my hospital room. Don't worry, I am going to be all right but I spent last night here and I will spend tonight here as well. I guess I got hit at some point during Monday's practice bad enough to make me urinate blood that evening. They brought me to the ER to find out what was wrong with me. They did a CAT scan on me and an MRI, as well as number of tests to find out what was wrong. It looks like I just have a bruised kidney and a small tear in my bottom left abdomen. Needless to say it is very painful, so they thought it would be best if I stayed last night in the hospital to monitor me. It was a good thing they did because I reacted badly to the medication and spent most of the morning today throwing up. We switched medication and things are going much better now. Tomorrow morning I will return to the team and start doing what I can to rehab and get back on the field as soon as possible. It is hard to say what time length we are looking at right now but hopefully I will be back within a week. I will keep you posted. It couldn't have happened at a worse time because I really need to be out there practicing and showing my worth. This week is an especially bad time to be out as we go to St. Louis for two days of practice against their team and then a scrimmage game this weekend.

Next week we have our first actual preseason game and it's against St. Louis again. I really hope I am back and ready to go for that game. I will keep you all posted here on the website so check back for further updates.
Take care and God bless, keep me in your prayers. AB

UPDATE 08/04/04 12:20PM EST: I am checking out of the hospital in 10minutes. From here I am going to the trainers to discuss rehab etc. and what time length I will be out. I am hoping to be back by next week in time for our first real preseason game against St Louis. Tell everybody I am ok.....

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Journal Entry from Utah
July 28, 2004

A quick update on what has happened since my return from Europe.

A month has already passed since our World Bowl win in Germany and I guess its time I catch everybody up with life away from football a little before I start camp in Chicago next week. At the conclusion of the World Bowl I was flown to Birmingham Alabama for two days where I had my exit physical. From there I flew to Chicago to join in on their last week and a half of practices. My body was was so tired from the season in Europe I wasn't sure how well I would perform but fortunately the coaches took it pretty easy on us NFL Europe guys and didn't ask us to do much. I guess we really couldn't have done much anyway because we didn't know any of the plays. It was good to be there though and get familiar with the coaches and the system before we get fully emerged into it at training camp.

I was in Chicago adjusting myself to the "American Lifestyle" up until July 2nd working out all mornings and getting familiar with the area in the afternoons. Although I lived there all of January the city is completely different in the summer. I went downtown a few times once to watch my first ever Cubs game, it was such and awesome time I have always wanted to go. The next trip down was to go to the beach, I didn't know CHicago even had a beach. It was a lake beach right near downtown but very cool.

I flew back to Utah from there and was able to go down to my hometown of Fillmore Utah with my sister Tammy to visit for the 4th of July. It was good to run into old friends and catch up with people I haven't seen in years. I spent the next week in utah also mostly up in Salt Lake City with my brothers Jesse and Jason who play for U of Utah. We had a blast just relaxing by the pool and eating lots of food all week. You know your going to eat well when you hang out with two 300lb guys all day. LOL I really enjoyed that week, my strength coach told me my body needed to rest and that I shouldn't work out. I never thought it would be hard not work out, but it really was, my body had been going so hard ever since January it was used to it.

The next week I jumped on a plane and flew to Dallas Texas to help my older brother Jonathan with his business. He sings parodies about Mary Kay cosmetics and I was in charge of his vendors booth selling his cd's for their huge national seminar convention. I had done it before in previous years and actually kind of enjoy being around thousands and thousands of woman (pink ladies), imagine that. LOL Anyway business went well for him. I was able to have my mornings free to work out and then my nights free to hang out with all of my friends from the year before when I lived in Dallas.

From Dallas I flew to Los Angeles for two days to visit my old college roommates Winston and Tim who live in Pasadena. We spent the mornings working out and the first day's afternoon in Malibu on the beach and the second day in Chinatown and little Mťxico in downtown LA.

I jumped on a plane again last night and flew back to Utah where I am now. Its July 23rd, I will be here for the next few days packing up my stuff and finishing up my final workouts. I fly to Chicago and check in on the 27th to start training camp. I will keep you all posted throughout camp so check back.
Take care and God bless. AB

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Journal Entry about Aaron's visit to Prague.
July 1, 2004

The opportunity to take a trip to Prague in the Czech Republic doesnít come very often, so when it did I felt I had to take advantage. It had already been a long weekend, we had just got back from the Scotland game and pretty much the whole team was exhausted. We had traveled Friday from Berlin to London and then to Scotland. In Scotland we ate terrible food, (see journal entry) we played a long physical game, and then went out that night to celebrate the win in downtown Glasgow. Sunday morning we jumped back on the plane and traveled back to Berlin through London and it was such a pain getting the whole team through checkpoints and customs etc. When we did get back to Berlin late Sunday I was so tired all I wanted to do was sleep for two day break but I also knew that the season was winding down and I would only be in Berlin one more week. I asked a few guys if they were up for the trip, all of us had heard really good things about Prague. We had often talked about going sometime during the season but it had just never worked out. I knew this was our last chance to go but everyone I asked said they were too tired to go or werenít sure if it could all be worked out on such short notice.

Monday morning we had a little practice at the stadium to loosen up our sore, muscles from the game. We ran and lifted some weights for a couple of hours. While we were working out I started using my salesman skills to do some convincing of some players that this trip might be a once in a lifetime opportunity. I was coming up with all sorts of reasons to go, it was really funny but hard work everyone was really tired and had a lot to do on our only day off left in Berlin. Kevin Deronde from Iowa, (Iowa State/Texans) had always wanted to go so he was a sure in, but the others were a little different. Rolando Cantu mi carnal offensive lineman de Monterrey Mexico (Cardinals) also was easily convinced. Next I moved to Chas Guessner from Maryland (Brown/Patriots) who was normally always down to explore but had fallen in love with a hot German girl over the last few weeks and decided he wanted to stay. I was mad because me and him had planed on making the trip since day one, but he wasnít budging he was really sore from the game too. I then went to QB David Rivers from Georgia,(Virginia/Falcons) his wife had just left the day before to go on a little trip with a couple of the other wives of players so I convinced him he needed to go. Finally we got our fifth man in fullback Ed Stansburry from Texas El Paso,(UCLA/Texans)) he took a lot of work but on the bus ride from workouts back to the hotel we talked him into it at the last minute.

We were set, there were five of us ready to go. The problem was our bus got back to our hotel at 12:45pm we had to be at the bus station in downtown Berlin to catch the train at 1:30pm. The train station from the hotel was an easy 45 min subway ride, by car we could make it in 25-30 min. There were a couple snags to the plan though, we needed a coach to unlock our passports, we needed to pack and to top it off we didnít have a car to take us to the train station. As the bus approached the hotel I delegated the responsibility of taking care of things to different guys. Ed just needed to pack because he loves his electronics so I knew he would need time to get his computer, digital camera etc. together and I didnít want to rush him too much in fear he might back out of the trip. Kevin had already packed so he had time. I put him in charge of getting together water bottles for all of us to drink during the trip, drinks are so expensive in Germany. Rolando and Dave needed to pack and find a car and driver to the train station. I had to find a coach and get the passport as well as quietly jump on the computer and find some info on hotels in Prague, everything wasnít quiet as planned as I had led them to believe.

Somehow, it all came together and by 1:05pm I found myself smashed in the trunk of a hatchback station wagon pulling out of the parking lot. Due to German laws a car is only allowed to carry five people, so our driver Dennis a 350lbGerman national lineman made six people. He said in his broken English that it was impossible for all of us to go together, I begged to differ and quickly threw myself into the back of his familyís hatchback station wagon that he had on loan for a few days. Before he could argue I began to have the guys throw their luggage on top of me to hide me, I nearly suffocated once we got going because my head was resting on a big blue plastic trash bag that held 15 liter sized cold water bottles that Kevin had snaked from the team water cooler for the trip. I could barely move back there but somehow I managed to adjust the bags enough with my head to create an air pocket so I could breathe. It was a good thing I had them cover me up because would you know it, there was a random police seatbelt check at the first red light we hit.

Dennis had the heavily loaded blue wagon flying down the autobahn trying to get us there on time. I donít know how the old little blue Mercedes could even move, Dennis in the driverís seat weighed 350lbs, Rolando in the passengers seat was a slim 330lbs. The back seat held Kevin at 245lbs, Ed at 240lbs, and little Dave smashed in between them at a light 215lbs. Then there was me at 210lbs nearly dieing in the back somewhere underneath the mountain of heavy luggage packed to the roof.

Like Harry and Lloyd said on the movie Dumb and Dumber ďwe were really doing itĒ and I wasnít about to complain. After all I did have the ice cold water bottles pressed tightly to one side of my face to calm my steady sweating and hot flashes. Time was ticking and Dennis was doing awesome weaving in and out of traffic. With exactly 4 minutes to spare we rolled up to the train station and quickly jumped out of the car. Every one thanked Dennis and took off running. I made it no more than three steps when I fell to the ground paralyzed from the waist down due to lack of blood to my lower torso. I donít think my legs had ever been so asleep but thanks to the road trip Gods I managed to hobble my way up the stairs to the train track just in time.

The train ride was a comfortable five hours long in our little six seat, reserved, sliding glass cabin. Our only problem was that we had not reserved the booth nor did we even have tickets for the train, there was no time to buy them so we just jumped on. That led to an interesting conversation an hour into the trip with the ticket people who spoke very little English. We were afraid they would make us get off but fortunately we were able to pay a slightly higher rate on the train and keep on going. They told us we were good all the way until Prague with the tickets we had bought. The ride was absolutely beautiful as we left behind the rolling green and yellow fields of farmland for the thick tree covered rocky cliff mountains of southern Germany. The train tracks went alongside a river from Dresden all the way up through the canyon and over the mountains to the Czech border. It was an incredible view the entire ride.

After a short stop at the border our small cabin window door was quickly slid open. It was the customs officers who hurriedly stamped our passports and moved on to the next cabin. A minute later the glass door was slid open again, this time it was a Czech ticket man. We innocently showed him our tickets we had bought that supposedly guaranteed passage to Prague. However, he informed us in the worst English ever that they were only good to the German, Czech border. We were all stunned, I couldnít believe it that me the hustler was trying to get hustled. By the look on the faces of my teammates I knew it was up to me to play this one cool and find a way to get us through this as cheap as possible or the guys would have my head. I had told all of them before we left an estimated price for the entire trip and that low total was what convinced many of them to go. We had already paid the German ticket people what I had expected to pay the whole way to Prague.

I went to work quickly by playing the nicest, most innocent American idiot you could ever imagine and kindly told him we had thought we had paid for the whole trip, which was true. He said no problem, but we must still pay him nearly the same amount we had already paid the German guys and he would let us stay on the train. I couldnít tell if he was playing dumb or just taking advantage of us. I argued and argued and it soon became obvious that he was getting frustrated, he started beading sweat from his forehead. That led me to think he was either getting really mad from the language barrier and was going to kick us off the train somewhere high in the mountains or he was just trying to get away with making some money off of us. I went with my instincts and kept haggling him and playing stupid. Luckily my persistence paid off though and he finally muttered ďok 50 Euros business okĒ and something about Prague. That was good enough English for me we quickly gave him the money rather than continue the argument for the 300 Euros he was trying to get from us. We just thought he was a jerk for trying to take our money, in fact, he didnít even give us a receipt. We thought for sure there would be a small armed militia waiting to arrest us at the next stop but it turns out he was right the whole time we checked prices later and we actually did owe him 300 Euros because we hadnít bought our tickets in advance. I guess he was a nice guy after all.

At this point I didnít know how the trip could get any better, it was already filled with car races, police checks, last second arrivals and now hustling with ticket guys that donít even speak your language.

We walked off the train and wouldnít you know, it took only 30 seconds for it to get even better. Instead of an armed militia firing squad waiting to take our lives it was the beautiful Czech women taking our hearts. It was incredible how gorgeous the average female citizen was regardless of her age. We spun in circles for awhile trying to get grasp on the situation and get ourselves downtown. After buying a 24 hour all mass transit pass for $2 (which we definitely got our moneyís worth) we were on our way.

Downtown was amazing! The plan upon arriving was to first, find a hotel and get rid of our duffel bags and then second get some food and see the city. Itís amazing though what some cheap food in the streets and beautiful girls do to a bunch of guys. We ended up standing in awe just starring at our surroundings, if you know what I mean, and eating the best fried chicken sandwiches for your money I have found. When we came to we just figured the train had dropped us off in a singles man heaven. We couldnít find anything wrong with the city, the streets were clean, the old buildings were the best I had seen in all of Europe, the people were very helpful and very friendly. There were castles, churches, bridges, rivers, statues, parks, shopping, restaurants of all kind and lots of people watching. Wow, I feel like I should work for thier chamber of commerce to promote their city to the rest of the world, but it is everything I am telling you and more. We had a blast just walking around and observing the city and completely forgot our task at hand to find a hotel. At least most of us, Rolando who had hurt his knee in the game a few days before was hobbling behind along with Ed who struggled to carry his big heavy duffel bag filled with his electronic toys.

Our first stop was a cheap hostel I had found on the computer but they unfortunately had no vacancy, a phrase we would become very familiar with over the next four hours. According to my findings on the internet the city was filled with cheap available hostels and hotels, but for some reason we couldnít find either. The hostels were all cheap but full and the hotels were all expensive because we didnít reserve in advance. Needless to say we walked and walked and walked, the city was still incredible so we didnít mind too much backtracking again and again and again the same city streets but even I was getting impatient. I mostly felt bad for the other guys, Rolandoís knee was swollen and sore and everyone was getting more tired on our day off than had we practiced back in Berlin. We decided we were willing to pay a little more and just get a hotel but by the time we gave up on finding a hostel all the downtown hotels were filled. We took a couple pit stops at different places to relax a little. While they enjoyed the cheap bargains at a bar I ran up and down streets asking every place I could find if they had rooms. I felt responsible for not finding anywhere to stay, I could not believe everywhere was booked on a Monday night. I guess more people know about Prague than I thought. Anyway at around 10 pm we finally found a hotel at a good price with huge rooms, just a block from the first hostel we stopped at earlier in the afternoon.

Although we were all exhausted by the time we snuck all five of us up into the room we were all pretty tired. There were three beds in the room and nothing sounded better then jumping in one of them, but naturally I took the floor with the couch cushions since it was my fault we walked all day. Instead of resting we quickly began showering and getting ready for a night on the town. We had no time to waste we were only in Prague one night and some of us might never get back there so we wanted to see what it had to offer. By about 11:30pm we were looking pretty good when we hit the streets.

I couldnít believe how fast the busy city streets had died down in just an hour but there was hardly anyone out on the streets. We didnít care we were all dressed up and we werenít about to just go back to the room. First thing we did was some find some food. All of the beautiful restaurants with outdoor dining that lined the streets were all closed now so we happily settled for some more fried chicken sandwiches from the street vendors and some McDonaldís for dessert. From there we started looking for some fun but the first fun we were offered walking out of McDonaldís was from a bunch of stray prostitutes and we had to politely decline. LOL

We really wanted to find a club or something where we could do some dancing but not just a regular one, we wanted a cool one like we had seen on movies. After lots more walking we ended up finding a smaller version to the underground cave type club in the movie Triple X which was filmed in Prague. Needless to say we were excited other than the fact we couldnít understand anyone we had a good time dancing and people watching. I couldnít believe all the people that were out on a Monday night, I was hoping they were tourists because I couldnít imagine what they must do on a weekend or something. It was a lot of fun just being there and experiencing the environment even though we were all too shy to talk to any girls. O.K. It was really just me, the other guys had girlfriends and Dave was married. I guess I canít blame them, it was just me that was intimidated by these European women.

A few of us made it home after a few hours and a few of the others made it in a few hours before sunrise, but we all got up together and hit the sights early in the morning. I was the tour guide armed with my maps and bus routes. As soon as we stepped outside the hotel door it started raining. We ran and hurriedly jumped on a bus which happened to be the wrong one and it took us all the way across town starting a city wide mass transit tour that lasted all morning. We were trying to get back to the main subway stop to drop off our luggage in a locker so we could walk around town weight free. After we figured out the bus was taking us the wrong way we jumped on the subway and went to four different stops before we found one that had lockers to lock our stuff up. After we got rid of that we were on worn out but we hadnít even done anything yet.

At around 11am we finally made it to the place we wanted to be a couple hours before, I was not doing a good navigating job. The rain was still falling pretty heavy but the sights were so awesome we marched on. The rain got so bad I even splurged and bought an umbrella, if you know me very well thatís a big purchase. I donít often buy accessories that make life easier, for some reason I fight through life without, just to save money. Yes, its something I am working on changing in my life but for now itís the way it is. Anyway, we were pretty soaked but there were so many cool buildings to see. On the other side of the river that separated historic downtown from the castle and palaces was where we started.

On the top of the hill overlooking the whole city stood a huge cathedral built in the center of a royal palaces yard. Basically the whole top and part of the side of the hill were amazing buildings built inside a huge wall for the royalty. Now it was open to everyone and it was an amazing sight to see. We pushed through the rain, up thousands of steps and past a beautiful part of the town to finally make it to the top. It was all the worth it when we got there to be able to look over the entire city and to see what was on the top. I recommend Prague to anyone if they are looking for a great historical yet romantic vacation, it was incredible.

On the way down the hill it was hilarious because Ed who is a huge Polynesian fullback with dreadlocks down to his shoulders was wearing a Maui shirt and sunglasses. We all started acting like we were security for him and we escorted him through the crowds and down the hill. We had one guy hold an umbrella for him and two of us walked in front clearing people out and one behind making sure nobody got him from behind. It was so funny people started taking pictures as we past not knowing who he was but figuring he was someone important. We called him the Prince of Maui, I guess we are easily entertained but I am all about free fun.

When we made it back to the bottom of the hill we found ourselves at the river and starring at some of the most incredible bridges ever built. The most famous one was the one used in the movie Triple X and Mission Impossible and there it was right in front of us. It was so old but so unique, lined with huge copper statues up and down either side and the architecture design just made it look so mysterious. It was a great rest stop and recollection point of all the things we had seen. Behind us stood a hill filled with incredible buildings and structures and in front of us was the bridge across the river into old town.

We continued walking on into old town looking for a restaurant, by now we were pretty familiar with the city since we had walked its streets four or five times the day before looking for a hotel. We sat down at an outdoor restaurant right in the heart of old town. On each side of us stood an old church, one of which had one of the oldest most amazing clocks in the world. In fact, it was the pride of the city when it was built. According to the legend, the man that built it was going to build another one in another town and the city people went and poked his eyes out so he couldnít. The blind man to return the favor went and found his way to the top of the church to the huge clock and jumped into the shafts and pulleys and in losing his life broke the clock. It took the next 200 years to repair it.

After a great lunch we started our souvenir shopping and making our way up to the subway stop. I had it planned to meet there and we would ride the subway one stop and be at the train station to get our train back to Berlin. Everything worked out great I grabbed a couple more fried chicken sandwiches, and ice cream cone and some post cards. We all met up on time and made our way to the train station with 15 minutes still to spare. We got our luggage from the lock boxes and while the others went to look for some last souvenirs Dave and I tried to figure out what track our train was leaving from. We started to get nervous when none of them said anything about Berlin. We tried to go to the info booth but the line was way too long and we only had 10 min until our train was supposed to leave. It was right then we both figured out at the same time that we were at the wrong train station; ours was the other one all the way across town. For some reason morning trains left from one station and afternoon trains from the other. We both looked at each other and said, ďRunĒ. We ran through the train station yelling for the other guys trying to find them. They were in the middle of buying treats as we pulled them out of the store. We ran to the subway again and to make matters worse we were in such a rush we jumped on the wrong subway and went the wrong way. By this time Rolando and Ed were pretty scared, this was the last train back to Berlin that day and we had practice the next morning. I wasnít too worried because I am used to these last minute escapes, but when we started going the wrong way I even started to worry a little.

The next stop we jumped out and quickly got on one going the other direction, fortunately for us Prague had a great transit system and got going the right direction fast. I donít know how but that 5 min subway ride seemed like it took hours. As the subway stopped we made a mad dash for the train dragging our duffel bags behind. Once again the road trip Gods were looking over us and we jumped on the train seconds before it left.

The ride back was nice and relaxing there were a lot of empty private booths so we laid across three seats each and slept for most of the way. The last hour or so of the trip we got together in the same booth and laughed and reminisced over our amazing adventure. Iím still not sure how things all worked out and we were all alive, well and happy but we were. I had such a great time seeing, experiencing, and eating new things as well as getting to know those guys a lot better. They were good road trippers and great guys. Like I said earlier, I recommend Prague to anybody, it was absolutely amazing and my favorite city I visited while in Europe. If you actually read this whole journal entry you must be pretty bored, sorry it was so long but it really was a great trip. Well, thatís it for this entry, I hope you enjoyed it and you can see it someday.
Take care and God bless. AB

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Journal Entry returning to the States from Germany
June 16, 2004

Iím writing this last journal entry as a Euro NFL player on a bus headed to Frankfurt from Gelsinkirchen where I have been all week. Iíll stay the night tonight and be on a plane headed back to the states first thing in the morning. I canít believe itís already over; four months have come and gone since I first reported in Tampa, Florida for training camp. It has definitely been an interesting experience, I guess I couldnít have really imagined the experiences I would have, but I am so glad that I had them. The long hot days of training camp to the cold rainy practices of Berlin all somehow seem so long ago now but so worth it. Last night I had the chance to taste its worth in a showdown win in the championship game last night in the World Bowl.

The World Bowl win was such a great accomplishment for our team and organization. We had so many firsts this year for the organization: like win the home opener, never lose at home, beat Rhine and Frankfurt at their stadiums, etc. In fact, we may go down as the best team ever to play in NFL Europe. We were the first team to win 10 games in a season, first team to beat the same team three times in one season, twice in regular season and once in the World Bowl. Needless to say we had an awesome team with different players stepping up each week and making plays to assure the win. There is always something special about championship teams and I think we had something special. Especially for NFL Europe where the majority of the players come here with a selfish attitude and no real team concept. Many players get worn down and tired of being away from home for so long and lose sight of why they are actually here. Our team was unique in that since we had a good balance of the good, the bad, the mean, the nice and even the ugly to come together as a team early and become a family far from home.

This last week was fun but went by very fast. I wrote my last journal entry on Tuesday night after the kickoff banquet from our hotel for World Bowl week in Gelsinkirchen, a small town north of DŁsseldorf. I was able to get out and walk around the area after I wrote that night. The hotel is surrounded by trees in every direction. To the south is old town, where you can find a few old buildings and few tourist attractions. To the north by foot about 10 minutes is the actual downtown of Gelsinkirchen, itís basically just a mile long strip of shops and stores. During the day there are people everywhere but at night it was like a ghost town.

Wednesday- we had a pretty normal day with practice and meetings, my free time was spent with my Mom exploring the small subway system and downtown. Thursday was little more exciting, after morning meetings we went to the stadium where the World Bowl would be held for Media Day. Our team was first; we took pictures and talked with the media a little about what we expected from the game. We met outside of the stadium but on the same grass we would play the game on. The stadium is pretty amazing, not only does it have a retractable roof to protect you from the weather, but it also has a retractable field. Itís a grass field all natural and everything but it growing on about three feet of soil and then a huge cement plate that is on wheels. One side of the stadium's lower seating folds up opening the stadium right into the parking lot. Then the huge 120x60 yard long field is motor driven out of the stadium right into the parking lot where they water the field and it gets sun.

After pictures both teams met up and we went into the stadium and they announced the All-NFL Europe team on the big screen. Our QB was named offensive player of the year, as well as many others being named to the All-NFL Europe team. Thanks for those who voted for me.

That night was when the excitement really started because we had bowling night! It was just as if we were still in Berlin going bowling on a Thursday night. This time we werenít in a little old makeshift bowling alley in the middle of nowhere, we were in a huge 30 lane, glow in the dark, disco playing, state of the art bowling alley. Before we could bowl we had a great American dinner with buffalo wings, chicken, fries, dips, chips, jalapeŮo poppers, just about every appetizer you can imagine (and all you can eat). I would have eaten a lot more but I was so excited to bowl. After dinner they brought both teams up and the NFL executives that were present, presented us with our World Bowl watches in a short ceremony, then the bowling began. I was wearing my white wig I had bought at a flea market a few weeks earlier hoping it would bring me some luck and break the streak of bad luck I had been having the last few weeks. It was pretty cool when the bowling began, all the lights were turned off and the glow in the dark bowling started. Both teams were divided into teams of 5 on each lane competing individually for a $100 reward to the highest bowler. I got shafted and was put in the lane next to the wall; I couldnít even do my patented leg kick follow through. Somehow I still had the best score on my lane but with 30 other lanes of competitors competing for only 10 spots into the final round, I just fell short of qualifying. O.K. I am building all this up like it was a huge competitive tournament but it really wasnít, half of the people didnít even bowl and the other half could care less. I think it was just me competing with myself and of course the other couple bowlers on my team that I go with every Thursday back in Berlin. It turns out they didnít even have a finals, they just gave the $100 bucks to the best first round score. I walked away discouraged but happy that I got a free watch and a meal out of the evening. The worst part was me and my partner in Berlin Dave Rivers lost our combined score total against our arch rivals Marc Dunn and Dicky the equipment guy for the Thunder team title that we had held for so many weeks.

Friday was relaxin, I had a few meetings in the morning and the whole afternoon off. My Mom and I decided to go to DŁsseldorf for the afternoon and see some sights. I had been there before when we played Rhine Fire earlier in the season and if you remember from my journal entries, I really liked the city a lot. It was no different this time, we had a great time walking around and people watching. Everyone is out in the streets eating and drinking at the outdoor restaurants. The Euro Cup soccer tournament started as well, so there were even that many more people out getting drunk and carrying on in the streets. I took my Mom to a little pizza place I ate at at least five times last time I was there, itís so good. Itís basically a fast food pizza store, with all fresh ingredients. They spin the dough right in front of you and thin it out so it will cook fast. The sauce, cheese and toppings are then thrown on and itís put in a fiery hot brick oven in the middle of the store. Depending on how many toppings itís done between 2-4 minutes, hot and fresh.

That night we had our team meeting and final preparations before the big game. I really felt good about things, the team really has a unique closeness for a professional team where too often players just look at it like a job and donít give it their heart.

Saturday, game day finally arrived and I was so excited to get on the field. All day I sat around the hotel watching the clock, waiting for the hour to get there. I ended up watching the DVD movie, "Miracle" with my Mom to pass the time and to get my mind right. It started raining really hard as we loaded the buses which made me glad we were playing the game inside.

The game started slow, for those of you that watched it you probably werenít very impressed with either team. Both teams had turnover after turnover and neither team looked really sharp. It turns out the fumbles were caused by the field conditions. The night before Metallica had a concert so they rolled the field surface outside into the parking lot. Well it rained during the concert and got the field all wet, then that morning they rolled it back inside and painted the wet field for our game. The paint and the moisture from the grass combined to make a slick film that coated the ball every time it was set on the grass to be snapped. I had never seen so many fumbles in one game but there was an explanation for it. Anyway we went into halftime tied with a team we felt we should be blowing out like we had the week before.

The second half was a different story; we started making some big plays and refocused on the task at hand rather than playing on all emotion from the magnitude of the game. I had a couple catches and also a couple special teams tackles to help the cause. Probably the biggest play I made was recovering their onside kick attempt in the last few minutes of the game. As the last seconds ticked off the score board, it sank in that we had really done it and I went crazy. We were running around screaming and taking pictures right and left. There were a million photographers and cameramen covering all the post game festivities. Wow, it felt so awesome to win the game and hold the World Bowl trophy high above my head. I havenít had the chance to win a championship since my senior year of high school football at Millard in 1995. The icing on the cake was that even though my entire family wasnít there, I knew they were happy and celebrating with me thousands of miles away.

Eventually I found my Mom in the stands and was able to sneak up the stairs a little way and get a big hug and kiss from her as well as a few pictures together. Honestly, it was a game and a moment I donít think my teammates and I will ever forget. We went as far as we possibly could in that league and we won.

After locker room celebrations and the jokes and the games that always accompany a big victory; we made our way back to the hotel for an after party. It was fun at first to go around and congratulate everybody and say some last goodbyes, but after a little while some of the guys had a little too much to drink and I had to help them back to their rooms. I celebrated with some orange juice and kept myself entertained next to my Mom watching the guys.

Well, I guess thatís it for the World Bowl week. I am now in Frankfurt and tomorrow morning I leave for the states. I did get some bad news though, I have to go to Birmingham Alabama for a little while and Iím not sure how long to get some treatment on my back. I got hit with a helmet and itís a little bruised. It might only be a few hours it might be a couple days but I already had X-Rays and there are no problems. I just need to get passed by a doctor there before I can go to Chicago. Once in Chicago I will have another physical and then back home to Utah for a little while to hang out with my family and some of my friends, I kind of miss them I guess. Anyway, I had an awesome experience here, I thank you for supporting me along the way and hope you enjoyed my journal entries. Itís actually fun to sit back at the end of each week and think my experiences over and end even more then that put them on paper and share them with friends and family.
I wish you all the best, take care and God bless! AB

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Journal Entry from NFL Europe in DŁsseldorf, Germany
June 9, 2004

This week was a long one but definitely a good one. As you know I went to Prague last weekend and I didnít get back until late Tuesday night. Wednesday we were back on regular early schedule and it was very hard to get up after so much walking and traveling in Prague. Anyway, Wednesday and Thursday I took every advantage of the limited free time we get in between meetings, on the bus, and during coaches long boring talks to catch up on sleep. LOL

The exciting part of the week was when my Mom arrived on Thursday; I hadnít seen her since February, she looks great! She seemed very happy to see me after a miserable experience traveling here. Her flight out of SLC was delayed a couple hours which caused her to nearly miss her flight in Chicago. From there she flew through London, where they lost her luggage. Then it was to DŁsseldorf where she grabbed a train and traveled another 5 hours to get to Berlin. Then to top things off I had a meeting so she had to figure out the subway system and travel 40 more minutes to find my hotel. Good thing she is the smartest person I know or she would have never found me.

Most of the rest of the weekís free time was spent with her showing her around the regular hot spots for tourist and eating great German food on every street corner. Thatís the best part about having visitors I eat out on the streets everyday. Thursday night I took her to bowling night with me, unfortunately for her this week we didnít play teams, we went one on one. When we play teams we bowl 2 or 3 games and we are done but I bowled 12 games that night. I bowled terrible and in so doing lost the standing of the #1 bowler on the team. Donít worry this week in DŁsseldorf at the World Bowl we are going bowling Thursday and I am going to reclaim my title. Saturday, the day before the game, I took her to beautiful Potsdam, itís a city outside of Berlin I have been there a few times already, but I am amazed every time by the amazing gardens and palaces. Itís great to just walk around and listen to the birds and smell the trees and flowers and ponder life. Ok, I donít really do that, I just like the ice cream the vendorís sale. (LOL Ė Laugh out loud) Later that night we went to an awesome steak house complements of my grandpa. It was the same one I went to with him when he came out to visit. He sent money with my Mom to make sure I ate there, I was so glad he did, I needed a good American meal.

Game day rolled around Sunday and things went great, our team absolutely crushed them. It wasnít even close, we beat them 41-0. Our defense played awesome and our offense seemed unstoppable. I had my best performance of the year also catching 6 balls for 78 yards and 2 touchdowns. I finally moved up on the depth chart so I am seeing a lot more balls coming my way. Hopefully a lot of you guys were able to watch the game on Fox. The best part was my Mom was there to see me play so well. She must be my good luck charm because it seems when sheís there I do well, she came to my senior bowl game where I caught the winning TD. Then in college against LSU where I had 3 catches for 3 TDís, I think I need to get her to more games.

After the game they had a big firework show and we signed autographs, etc. We were regular season champs with a 9 and 1 record, only the 3rd team ever to finish the season here with that record. We then had a post game party that kept us all up late. The next morning bright and early I packed up my hotel room that I had been living in for the last 3 months, it was actually kind of sad in a weird way. I am anxious to go home but sad that this probably wonít ever happen again. We loaded the busses and went to the train station. My Mom left on a train for Braunshwig where she stayed for two days to do genealogy on the Rostenbachís. I left for a small town north of DŁsseldorf called Gelsenkirchen; it is where I will stay all week for the World Bowl.

Itís Tuesday night and we already had our first practice here. The facilities are really nice and the area is filled with parks and ponds. Tonight we had the big kick off the week banquet with both teams present and all the NFL executives, it got a little heated up but not to bad. I think after the whooping they took from us last Sunday they didnít have much to get excited about.

My mom also made it back tonight and she will stay here with me the rest of the week. She had an awesome time researching our family lines and found a ton of new information from the original books that are hundreds of years old. Some of them they wonít let anyone photocopy so you canít find the information online, you have to go through the actual books.

Anyway thatís about it, I feel great other than a couple of aches and bruises but with a week this big you donít really feel them. Iím very excited for this week and hope you all get a chance to watch the game this Saturday. For those that saw the game last weekend donít be surprised by the long hair, its cool here in Europe. I did however shave my ugly mustache that I was growing since mini-camp. I havenít had long hair since high school; I forgot what a pain it is. For the game last week though I did look like the famous soccer star David Beckham, I had the pony tail and all. I was just short the diamond earrings, the expensive car, lots of money, and the beautiful wife at my side. Other then those minor details, people told me I looked a lot like him. LOL.
Have a great week, take care and God bless. AB

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Journal Entry from NFL Europe in Berlin, Germany
June 3, 2004

This last week has definitely been an exciting one for me, filled with four of my favorite things: football, traveling, food and girls!

It started when I loaded up a small duffle bag with everything I would need for the weekend and jumped on a double-decker bus with the rest of the team headed for the Berlin airport. We werenít allowed to bring any check-in luggage because it always gets lost in Scotland. Rumor had it that the best part about going to Scotland to play was the layover in London, they were wrong, I loved Scotland. London did look really cool though, on the return trip it was a very clear day and we flew practically a full loop around the city before landing. I was able to see the entire city from a few thousand feet.

After an hour flight from London we arrived in Glasgow, Scotland and headed to our hotel. We were originally supposed to see the monument built in honor of William Wallace, the guy the movie Braveheart was based on. Unfortunately, the flight and the chaos of having to travel with an entire team internationally had enough people so tired that we just went to the hotel. Our hotel was right downtown, it only took me five minutes to round up some guys and be back down in the lobby ready to go exploring. I loved the city - it had a Victorian building boom from the 19th to early 20th century and the beautifully architected structures still stand strong throughout the city.

There wasnít any really breathtaking building or anything, but there were just so many old buildings up and down every street that for some reason I was impressed. The highlight for me was the big city building in George Square; it looked like a huge castle. The city also has a number of museums and art galleries but everything closed within the first 10 minutes of our walk. At 6pm the whole city shuts itís doors to all business. I guess they have a law to close down at 6pm on weekdays, fortunately most of the restaurants stay open until late. We were especially glad because the team meal in the hotel was terrible. I donít consider myself a picky eater at all, I canít be. Iím one of ten kids. Growing up you ate what was on the table and you liked it regardless of what it was or how much there was. This meal was bad, they had buffet style weed salad without dressing, a boiled half of a chicken and next to that was boiled steak meat. The meat was so tough you couldnít chew it and the chicken was so dry, I had to fill my mouth half full with water before a bite just to wash it down.

That night was pretty cool for me because at our team meeting the coach passed out a paper and pen for the team to vote for captains. One offensive, one defensive and special teams. The team voted our QB Rohan Davies offensive, TJ Bingham defensive and for Special Teams I was voted in as captain along with Scott Farley. It really meant a lot because it wasnít the coaches assigning captains or even us voting at the beginning of the season for players we really didnít even know. This vote was one near the end of the season, by the players and for people you really knew both on and off the field. Until this point in the season the captains for each game were different people based on coachesí decision of who played well the week before. This vote made us captains for the rest of the season including the World Bowl.

The game was Saturday afternoon at 2pm and wouldnít you know it our pre-game meal at the hotel was none other than weed salad and boiled chicken, this time with no meat. Hardly anyone ate which really showed the first half of the game, we were so tired from traveling and lack of nutrition. Scotland had only won two games all season but they jumped to a quick lead on us and were really beating us pretty bad most of the first half, until we scored right before halftime. We were losing 13-7 at halftime and completely drained of energy. Luckily at halftime we all ate some energy bars and drank some fluids and came out looking like a completely different team, I think the team should endorse the bars! LOL (laugh out loud) The second half was all Berlin; we came back to win pretty easy. I felt really good about the way I played both on offense and especially on special teams.

The trip back home was about as exciting as the one there, it was hot, miserable, and it took all day. That evening after a quick nap I went downtown here in Berlin to a once a year culture festival. Itís a three day event that has an estimated 2 million people show up to walk around and buy from vendors all around the world. You can find about every country represented, selling goods from their native land. The Peruvian section was cool to visit and make some business contacts. They were selling a lot of the same merchandise I sell back home but for a lot more, I like the markup with the Euro over the Dollar. The best part was the food booths; I tried food from everywhere. But for the big meal, I stuck with a German favorite of ham and sauerkraut.

That was pretty much my week. This week is off to an awesome start though because I finally made the long awaited trip to Prague in the Czech Republic on my day off. It was such an awesome 24 hours that I am writing a whole separate journal entry to describe it. The other thing is my Mom is flying in tomorrow and she will be here with me for the rest of the season. I canít believe I have less than two weeks, this week here in Berlin and then next week in DŁsseldorf for the World Bowl. The last two games are on Fox Sports, so cheer us on.
Take Care and God bless! AB

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Journal Entry from NFL Europe in Berlin, Germany
May 25, 2004

Another couple weeks have come and gone; as usual I have some stories to share. The first, was an escapade to see the the city of Hamburg. I sat uncomfortably sideways in the back seat while two of our biggest offensive lineman easily filled up the front two seats of a small, blue, rented Mercedes station wagon. I found out they were going only minutes before they left, because a third offensive lineman cancelled. He was too big to fit in the backseat. I invited myself and they were happy because they knew I loved exploring and navigating road trips and was small enough to fit in the backseat. The three hour drive there flew by, maybe it was because I slept the whole way or possibly it was because both of my legs went to sleep due to lack of blood circulation. I couldnít walk for five minutes after we got there. The city was very cool, despite the occasional rainy moments; it was a great day to get out and see the city. It was a Monday so the downtown had its regular amount of people coming and going to work which made parking very difficult to find. It didnít help that we were parking a big station wagon when the majority of cars here are little tiny Mini Coopers, and Smart cars. Both look like little go-carts with roofs. A big parking spot is hard to find, I guess thatís why every major city here has such an intricate subway system. Itís very nice not having to worry about parking here in Berlin with the easily accessibly bus and rail system. To make a long story short, we walked around and took pictures of a bunch of old buildings like I do in every city I have been to while in Europe, but for some reason I continue to be fascinated by each new one I see. My favorite places to see in Hamburg had to be their huge copper coated parliament building covered with weathered green statues of men and horses. I also liked a few of the churches, one was bombed and the other we took an elevator to the top to overlook the entire city beautifully built along the Elbe river. I really enjoyed Hamburg.

My next exciting adventure, other than practices where we never know what method of torture our coach will come up with next, came when my older brother, Jonathan flew in a couple of days later. I had been calling and emailing him trying to convince him that he needed to return to Berlin where he lived 15 years ago on his Mormon mission. He lived here for months before being transferred to another city, from which he watched the wall come down. A lot had changed since he had been here, the obvious being that now there was no East and West Berlin. His first night here we went to a movie at the Sony center; a huge recently completed development project including million dollar apartments, shopping malls, restaurants and movie theatres built right where the wall stood years before. It had to be pretty weird for him to sit there watching a movie in the same spot he used to climb up watch towers and peak over the cold, spray painted, cement wall through sharp barbwire to see armed guards patrolling the no man zone night and day. I had a great time having him here. Although I had seen most of the sites already, it was nice to learn a little more of the history of things from him as well as to have a translator. When he first got here I was a little worried that he couldnít even speak German anymore. We ordered some food and he froze up and couldnít say a word, I had to order in English. It must have just been jetlag, because he didnít disappoint me again. In fact, by the end of his 10 days here he was back to perfect form. If it werenít for his shaved bald head and the fact that he wore shorts everywhere, (even on cold rainy days -just like he does at home in Utah in the winter), people might have taken him for a local.

Our next game rolled around that weekend. It was supposed to be a good one; if we won we secured a spot in the championship game, the World Bowl. It wasnít that exciting of a game though we jumped on them pretty good and ended up winning convincingly over the Rhine Fire. I had a pretty good game with two catches for 45-yards and a touchdown, as well as three special teamís tackles. The best part though was that we are now going to the Super Bowl of NFL Europe, the World Bowl on June 12 in DŁsseldorf. This last weekís free time was spent with Jonathan traveling around different spots seeing new things and trying all sorts of different candies, treats, desserts, and foods that he hadnít had for years. I really enjoyed going to his old area (where he lived), because I finally found some cheap discount stores, as well as second hand stores etc. Sunday he went to his old church where he was on his mission. It was like he had never left, he found familiar faces of families that remembered him and some that he remembered.Thursday, Jonathan took off on a trip I am still very jealous of; he went to Prague and then on to Vienna before meeting up with me in Frankfurt for the game. He said they were both incredible cities. Hopefully, I can get a free day one of these next few weeks and get down there before I go home. I canít believe I only have three more weeks here.

Frankfurt as a city wasnít as cool as other places I had been, mostly because it was so modern with skyscrapers and office buildings. It is the banking capital of Germany and although its population is only 650,000 during the day it is filled with 2 million people. The highlight of the trip had to be early Saturday morning when I found one of the best flea markets I have ever been to. Along the banks of the Rhine River every Saturday morning people flock to this huge flea market. The vendors had stuff from all over the world from African drums, to Chinese stress balls, to leather coats from Uruguay. I was in heaven, even though I didnít buy much I could have walked around all day and been completely happy. The Frankfurt game was one of our biggest games of the year to this point because they were the only other team with a 6-1 record. They also were playing their last home game of the season and ever in that stadium because they are having the World Cup there in 2006. It was one of the best games I have been in. It went back and forth the entire game ending with our defense stopping them on a 4 down and 1 with less than a minute to go deep in our territory. We won by four points and spoiled their incredible post game party, which went on despite the loss. It was pretty amazing though the field was filled with 5 huge hot air balloons and fireworks for about 30 minutes. They also had a bunch of famous German bands and singers performing, I changed clothes and came out and watched for awhile it was such a good show.

The next day Jonathan left me for his wife and his four beautiful daughters (imagine that) and flew back home, I jumped on a train with the team and came back here to a cold, rainy Berlin. Things are going well but seem to be nearing an end. We have two more regular season games followed by the World Bowl and then I am coming home. Itís been an awesome experience so far and I am definitely excited for the remainder of the season. This week we go to Scotland and then our last regular season game is here against Frankfurt again. Then we all move to DŁsseldorf for World Bowl week and then fly back to the states after the game.
Hope all is well, keep in touch and God bless! AB

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Journal Entry from NFL Europe in Berlin, Germany
May 9, 2004

I will have to write this journal entry quick for two reasons, the first being that I have to go get treatment on my calf and two because I just got home from our game and we lost.

I missed last weeks journal entry so I will try and catch everybody up from where I left off right before we played Amsterdam for the second time of the season. It was a great game once again. I think all of the games are so close because the talent level in this league is so close that no team really runs away with the game. We led for most of the game thanks to a couple big long passes to my old roommate in training camp in Tampa, Richard Alston. He has really been playing well lately. Amsterdam however was able to take over the lead on a long TD of their own thrown by Clint Stoerner one of my QB's back in Dallas. So here we were again 4th quarter, 3rd down, less than 4 minutes remaining and we were losing. The only difference this week from last week (when I had a big catch) was this time it wasn't 3rd and 26 it was only 3rd and 3, but equally as important that we get the first and keep the game alive. I ran a short 5-yard route over the middle and Rohan Davey threw the ball to me. I caught it and broke the tackle from the guy covering me and then looked up field. We were on the 37-yard line so I had a ways to run, but I was able to make a couple of guys miss and then outrun the two safeties to the end zone for a touchdown. The place went crazy, it felt so good to finally get in the end zone and score my first professional TD. The best part was the way a few of the reporters wrote about it, they said I used, "speed to run away from the tacklers". I don't think anyone has commented on me using speed for anything, so that made me feel good. That was my only catch of the game; luckily it was the game winner. I also had 3 tackles on kickoff team which is always good.

After the game it was kind of funny because they brought over the film crew and told me to talk to all of the fans at the stadium. I assumed they were recording it and then would play my quote sometime. It didn't happen that way, as soon as I started talking into the microphone I heard a familiar voice being echoed out from the big speakers in Olympic Stadium. Sure enough my microphone was live and the camera was recording my face right onto the big screens in the stadium. Wow, I wasn't expecting it at all and almost forgot what I was going to say. Fortunately I came to and made up with something clever. I don't know what I even said or how the fans even understood English, but they all started cheering so I guess it wasn't too bad.

This last week started off great my body was feeling good and healthy and I was practicing really well. Wednesday everything changed. My left calf muscle had been bothering me off and on for a couple of weeks due to a deep bruise but I was able to practice and play without any real pain using a tight sleeve to keep the muscle warm and tight. I think my muscle just was fatigued. Half-way through practice I slightly pulled my calf muscle running a route. The trainers pulled me from practice and started me on about 6 hours of treatment a day for the last few days to try and get me healthy by Saturday's game. I wore a boot all week and didn't practice at all the rest of the week.

Game day rolled around yesterday, we arrived a day earlier to Koln which is near DŁsseldorf and Frankfurt. I was still unsure if I would be able to play and was a game time decision if I would play or not. During warm-ups I struggled at first but felt ok. My trainer wasn't equally impressed and had me pulled from all special teams and limited to short routes and run plays on offense. Basically that meant I wouldn't be playing and that's what happened. I played less than 10 plays in the game and most of them were running plays. It was an awesome game though; it almost killed me to have to watch it. We went back and forth the entire game until late in the game we kicked a field goal to break the tie game at 21 to go up by three. We thought the game was over especially because we intercepted their first offensive play and ran it back inside the ten yard line. Somehow our offense couldn't get into the end zone and we had to kick a field goal to go up by 6 points with less than two minutes in the game. (This is where it gets sad) They kept making plays and drove the length of the field to get the ball inside the 10 yard line. Then with 1 second left in the game they threw a jump ball to their receiver in the back of the end zone, he caught it and they won. It was our first loss of the season and a heartbreaking way to get it.

Today we spent traveling home by train for 5 hours in the rain. The only good I can see from the game is that we found out we have to play until the end, something I had already learned time and time again at Kentucky. I guess I did get some rest and my leg is feeling much better. This morning I was able to see a little bit of Koln before we left. They have this incredible cathedral that took more than 600 hundred years to build, in fact they had scaffolding on it today (maybe they're not done!). LOL (laugh out loud) It was huge, very gothic and scary looking, I thought.

Tomorrow I am scheduled to go and get an MRI on my leg and then we will know exactly what's wrong with it, I think it's fine but it's better safe than sorry. We play Rhine here at home this weekend.
I hope you have a great week. God bless! AB

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Journal Entry from NFL Europe in Berlin, Germany
April 30, 2004

Another week has passed and as usual I am a few days late getting my journal entry sent. I guess its better late than never.

The game last weekend against Rhein Fire was definitely our hardest test of the season so far. Maybe it was because we were playing at their stadium where Berlin Thunder has never won in the teams existence. Maybe it was the extra 20,000 thousand fans they have at their games compared to any of the teams we have played so far. Maybe it was because of the noise, imagine 20 high school bands with every imaginable instrument playing at once as loud as they can, each playing whatever notes they want. It was just straight chaos! We could not hear anything in the stadium and to make it worse there were about 300 people blowing whistles as loud as they could, you could never tell if a play was over or what. Anyway despite it all we some how found a way to win and move into first place in the league with a record of 5-0.

The game started out really slow for us offensively, we had some costly turnovers in the first half that really hurt us. On top of that we lost three players to injury in the first quarter including two of our receivers. In this leagues we don't have a lot of depth so we were hurting for players. From then on it was just myself and two other receivers who had rotate and run every play. Defensively we played pretty well but we still allowed 10 points in the first half. Half time was not fun, basically we were tired, beat up and losing 10-0. Rhein had a great game plan against us so we had to make some adjustments.

The second half we didn't look much better until the fourth quarter when we started rolling offensively. We finally got a drive going and scored early fourth quarter and made it 7-10. Defense held them and we got the ball back with 5 minutes left and were forced to put together a drive if we wanted to win. We drove down to about midfield until we started to struggle. We were called for two penalties and had a couple incompletion which made it 3rd down and 26. In the huddle the QB just told me to run and he would throw it up to me. Luckily it happened that way. I out jumped the DB and the safety to catch the ball for a 45 yard completion, the bad part was I got tackled on the one yard line. (that is a WR nightmare to have a big catch and not score). The good part was my catch happened to be the play of the game and it finally quieted up the obnoxious crowd. We scored the next play and won the game.

The day before the game I was able to get a little and see the city where Rhein plays, its called DŁsseldorf. It is a beautiful city built right alongside the Rhein river. As almost every city I have seen here it had the usual old cathedrals and cobble stone streets. i guess the unique thing about this city was how rich it seemed. It was filled with expensive clothing and jewelry stores. The streets were lined with the nicest cars I have ever seen in one place, from Bentleys to BMW's, to every kind of Mercedes built. The people have money here I guess. It was very western European in the sense that everyone was in the streets sitting down at restaurants and bars eating and drinking outside. Even the people not sitting at the tables that went up and down the side of streets were standing with a drink in hand just chatting away. Overall I thought it was one of the cleanest and nicest cities I have seen so far.

That was pretty much it for last weekend. This week I haven't done anything other go to the library and read "Harry Potter" to a bunch of kids. It was so funny because I thought I was going to read to a bunch of young kids but when I got there they were all like 12-16 years old. The worst part was I know nothing about Harry Potter so I didn't even know how to pronounce the names of the characters, the kids kept correcting me on my pronunciation. It was embarrassing but I made it through and we actually had a pretty good time. Just for the record the picture was staged I didn't actually read to them with my shoulder pads on and them sitting all around me like 5 year olds. hahahaha

The kids looked at me pretty funny when I first got there maybe because I had a big handlebar mustache that I have been growing out for the last 2 months or maybe it was my long shaggy hair that I haven't cut in four months. I figure I'm in Germany and don't need to impress anybody so I have been growing out a mustache. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity for me, because never in my life would I grow one in the states, it is so ugly. My hair is going to stay though, my brothers at U of UTAH are growing theirs out also. By the time I get home in June it should be ready to cut so I can find a girlfriend but meanwhile I am going through an ugly stage.

Well that's about it, we play Amsterdam this weekend we beat them the first time we played thanks to a couple trick plays we threw at them. We have our work cut out for us this weekend to remain undefeated. In fact, they beat the only other undefeated team Frankfurt last weekend. The other two receivers are still hurt so it will be up to just three of us to run a lot of plays.
Hope all is well take care and God bless!! AB

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Journal Entry from NFL Europe in Berlin, Germany
April 21, 2004

Life here in Berlin is good and after three games I'm feeling pretty good about things. Our team is 3-0. I missed last week's journal entry so I guess I have some catching up to do!

The game two weeks ago was pretty cool, mostly because we won, but also because it was in Amsterdam. We loaded up the team from here in Berlin Friday morning and took a fast train all the way across Germany. The trip was kind of fun because all of us players were together in the same area playing games, joking, and watching movies. The view was incredible as well, even though we were flying past the beautiful green rolling hills at 260 kph. We passed through the whole countryside seeing little towns, castles, churches, windmills, and farmland.

We arrived there Friday night and had a few hours break. Most of the players took a nap in their room, but not me. I was on the first hotel shuttle to the subway station to get downtown. Two of the other guys came with me. We toured though downtown Amsterdam as fast as we could so that we could make it back to the hotel in time for meetings. Downtown was really pretty cool and very clean as long as you stay away from the red light district! The whole city is paved with windy cobblestone streets lined with skinny high rising buildings. I read the history of the city and they were made that way because in the old days buildings were taxed on their width and not their height. Anyway, I am sure you are wondering and the answer is, yes, I did get asked about 5 times from random people on the streets if I wanted to buy some drugs. That part of the city was ugly, there were a lot of druggies standing and even passed out on the side of the streets. For the most part though I thought it was a really cool city. My favorite part was the 400 or so canals that run through the city, I wanted to do a boat tour but there was no time. Fortunately, we made it back in time with exactly 48 seconds to spare. It was a little too close for comfort. In fact, the only reason we made in time was because we jumped in the luggage compartment in the back of the shuttle from the subway station to the hotel and refused to get out. The shuttle was already full and if we would have waited in line for the next shuttle we would have been 15 minutes late. Finally the shuttle driver gave up and took us back just in time.

Game day went well although I didn't get any passes thrown my way I did have a good day on the field. It was a wet game so we really didn't throw the ball much, our four offensive turnovers didn't help either. It was a neat experience though because their stadium is really pretty cool. It's built over the top of a freeway and has a retractable roof. It was built to house one of the premier European soccer teams Ajax, but they share with NFLE.

This last week was another week of preparing up for our game with Cologne, they were 0-2 before playing us, but both losses were close ones and were mainly because of special teams. We thought they would have their kinks worked out but they didn't. We hammered them on special teams too. In fact we only won by four points. If it weren't for our great field position after every kickoff or punt we might have lost. I played pretty well grading out at 96% for the game, but the thing I was most happy about was two tackles on the kickoff team and another one after an interception. As far as the receiver position goes every week, a different guy is the leading receiver. We really spread the ball around; maybe next week will be my week to have some big plays.

The win put us at 3-0, tied in the league with Frankfurt who we will play in a few weeks. This week we travel to DŁsseldorf to play the Rhine Fire who are 2-1. It should be a fun game. They have the second largest average attendance in the league at around 45,000.

The highlight of the last two weeks was when I got a phone call Iowa. My Grandpa told me he and his wife would be coming to Germany to visit me and that they would be there in 3 days. It was a good surprise. They arrived and stayed right here in the same hotel. They were here for 7 days and we had a blast. I took them all over the city and all of the surrounding places too. The best part was a couple days ago on my off day we rented a car and drove 2 hours to do some family history research on the his side of my family. The Rostenbach's came over to the states in the 1800's. We visited the town they came from and even looked through some old church books to find dates. My mom, the brilliant lady that she is, already has done all of our family history for hundreds of years, but it was neat to confirm the dates from the actual books. The best part was driving 110mph down the autobahn so I could get back to our team meeting. My grandparents said they weren't scared, but I don't believe them.

That is about it for now, we take off tomorrow for our next game against Rhine. The game will be televised back in the states on Direct TV. It will be shown twice during the day (Saturday) on the NFL network channel.
Hope all is well, God bless! AB

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Journal Entry from NFL Europe in Berlin, Germany
April 7, 2004

My first full week here in Berlin is past and it was an interesting one. It started out Monday, on our day off, when me and a couple teammates decided to rent a car and tour the city and countryside a little. It was a lot of fun. I stayed up the night before and came up with a game plan of all the places I wanted to see by highlighting my map. The day was going great, we went and saw some really neat things from huge castles on the lake to bombed churches from WWII. The only problem was our driver, my teammate, who had only driven a manual transmission twice in his life rented the car in his name and had to drive. We came so close to getting in so many accidents, I was getting whiplash every time we took off after a stop sign. He stalled it so many times, it was ridiculous. The other problem was we weren't in America and although the drivers here aren't as crazy as the South American ones, they do get after it. Eespecially on the autobahn, where there are no speed limits. I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later and it did, we ran in the back of a parked van. Luckily, we were just trying to parallel park so we barely hit it, but it was enough to do a little damage to our car. From then on I took over the wheel and we were able to see a lot more of the city in less time. When we finally did get home after about 10 hours of exploring, we went to work 007 style. We repainted the scratched bumper as well as straightening out the dents on the license plate. The next day the rental company picked it up and the guy was cool. He gave us props on our work; he couldn't tell it had even been wrecked.

The rest of the week was just work. We started practicing really hard and game planning for our first game against the Scottish Claymores. It almost feels like I am still in training camp in a sense because I wake up at 6:30, go to breakfast, then meetings, and then the 30 min bus ride to practice. We practice for a few hours, lift weights, eat lunch, and then come back to the Hotel. We have about a 2 hour break then meetings and dinner. Some of the guys go downtown at night. I think they are crazy because people here don't even go out until around midnight, so if you do go out you don't get home until 3 or 4 in the morning and we have to wake up at 6:30am. I tried it one night and thought I was going to die at practice the next day. I decided to invest my nights into something more productive and educational. Now I play playstation 2 or cards and then go to sleep!! haha Actually, I really am trying to learn German and have been putting in some time studying that as well as reading some books I brought with me.

Yesterday we finally had our first game. It was a pretty neat experience even though I didn't dress. They go all out here as far as bribing the fans to come to the game. It was crazy to see all the games and fun stuff they had set up out front of the stadium for the fans. Inside the fans were loud; there are no rules against noise makers so it seemed everyone had something they were banging on to rattle the other team. It must have worked, because despite the heavy rain we won 20-14. It was actually a really good game. It was the first time Berlin has ever won their home opener.

The good news is yesterday, the day after the game, the coach called me in and told me he was going to activate me. I will be playing from here on out. I am excited; it almost killed to watch last weeks game. I have got to play! I have been doing really well in practice; I guess it's time to start playing. This week we play at Amsterdam. Check back next week to find out how it went.
Take care and God bless. AB

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Journal Entry from NFL Europe in Berlin, Germany
March 26, 2004

It was one of the longest, most painful, and uncomfortable flights of my life, but I finally made here to Berlin. The flight from Tampa to Munich was completely sold out, non air conditioned, and 9 1/2 hours long. When we arrived, we jumped on a short hour long flight to Berlin. The worst part was being smashed into a little seat next to a big lineman. I guess it could have been worse, I could have been the lineman. I felt bad for the the big guys, they eventually almost all just stood up in the aisle for most of the flight to keep their legs from cramping up.

It was good to see the landing strip and it only got better when they had our teams cheerleaders and a bunch of fans waiting for us as we came off the flight. There are some crazy fans around here who love football. From there we went and checked into our hotel which is about 30 minutes southwest of downtown in a place called Teltow. By the time we got settled in the room it was 3pm Berlin time, which meant it was 9am back in Tampa. Even though we slept very little overnight on the flight they wanted us to get accustomed to the time change and wouldn't let us go to sleep. Instead we loaded the buses and they drove us to our practice facility as well as a tour of the Olympic Stadium where we will be playing our home games. It was pretty cool because there is a lot of history to the stadium. It was home to the 1936 Olympics as well as Hitler's rallies and troop marches.

Day two was spent with a short run and lift in the morning at the practice facility, then we went on a city wide tour. Berlin is an amazing city with so much history and things to see and learn about. I couldn't possibly see everything in one day, but we did hit the main points of interest like the downtown government buildings, the remaining part of the Berlin Wall, and Checkpoint Charlie (before the wall was built this was an intersection filled with tanks and soldiers from the Soviets and the USA facing right at each other guarding the border line). I'm really excited to get back downtown and see some more stuff in depth, it was hard with the whole team because everyone has different tastes and wanted to see different things. Others just complained and don't want to see anything.

Day three was more normal; we had our first full padded practice in the morning and regular meetings in the afternoon. The night was fun though we loaded up the buses and went downtown to a huge night club where they had a little party for the team. Rather then chase girls like most of the guys, I had the opportunity to meet a lot of the staff. People like the General Manager that run the Berlin Thunder as well as our sponsors. You know me -always networking.

So far, so good. I feel like my body has caught up to the time change and also the cold, in fact its snowing here right now. I guess I was spoiled in Tampa Bay. Our first game is next weekend here in Berlin.
I hope all is well, take care and God bless! AB

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Journal Entry from NFL Europe Training Camp in Tampa, FL.
March 19, 2004

Today is Friday the 19th and we just finished our last day of training camp practice. It wasn't as sharp as it should have been but we at least looked pretty good considering we have been going twice a day for the last 3 weeks.

Tomorrow morning we have our final scrimmage against the Cologne Centurions. Sunday is off and Monday the final roster fly's out to Berlin. I guess the weather over there is more like what I have been avoiding the last 3 weeks down here in the hot sun. It's cold there, in fact, last week they had some snow storms even though its supposed to be spring weather.

As far as my body goes, I am holding up pretty well for the most part. My bruised ribs are feeling much better and my infected blister on my foot is healing. The foot was what was really hurting me because of the swelling. I have been seeing a doctor who regularly drains it and treats it.

Camp has been good. I have continually been getting better and even learned a few new tricks of the game. I have also been able to meet a lot of guys from around the country as well as the international guys on the team. As can be expected they want to keep in touch and do business one day, since I am always trying to make a buck selling something. I'm very anxious to get over to Germany and get this season started.
Take care and God bless. AB

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Journal Entry from NFL Europe Training Camp in Tampa, FL.
March 10, 2004

Today we had our first live scrimmage against another team,(Rhein Fire). It was good to go out and play against someone other than my own teammates, even if I did get a couple of bruised ribs out of it. So far Training camp in Tampa has been long and very tiring. Like most training camps, each day is filled with lots of practice, lots of meetings and film, and little rest.

I have been here for almost two weeks, the first few days were just meetings and physicals followed by a two day passing camp with just the wide receivers and QBs. The rest of the team then joined and we have been having full gear practice two times a day ever since. The offense is almost installed and luckily it's not too difficult to pick up.

Today felt so good to get out of the practice routine and have a game situation. Two of my good friends play for Rhein; QB Chad Hutchinson from the Cowboys and punter Brooks Bernard who I was training with in Chicago. It was also good to have a few catches in the scrimmage and play very well in front of all the pro scouts from around the league.

The schedule from here on out is a scrimmage this saturday in Raymond James Stadium (home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and then next wednesday and Saturday then we leave for Europe on the 22nd. Things look really good and I am excited for the season, we really have a good team. Check back for more entries I will try and write every week.
Take care and God Bless. AB

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