In an effort to keep you up to date on former Beaver Greats making a living in professional sports, we bring you this status report on Buffalo Bills linebacker Keith Ellison, courtesy of Brian Galliford at Buffalo Ramblings.
One: Using a movie, describe your team this season. Who is Keith Ellison playing in this blockbuster?
If we assume that the Buffalo Bills are representative of any episode of Star Wars (save the awful Episode I), Keith Ellison would be a nameless, faceless droid. He was a starter last season, sure, but his play was rather mediocre, and he's been relegated to reserve and specialist in Buffalo this season. He'll probably never be a guy that can consistently be relied on as a starting defender. He does, however, have a chance at being a captain of the special teams unit, however, so let's call him a droid commander. [For too many reasons to list in this space, Star Wars movie analogies are not allowed.--ed]
Two: What past or current player does Keith Ellison remind you of, and why?
Ellison is a pretty cerebral guy. He's far more adept at the mental aspect of the game than he is the physical side. He reminds me of Mark Kelso, a former Bills free safety - he's not that talented and he'll never have Kelso's impact, but they did more than they were expected to based on talent levels simply because they were so smart. Ellison should be in this league a long time simply because he's sharp mentally. His quick mind is what enabled him to hold his own as a starter in his rookie season, when he was a sixth-round pick.
Three: In the Buffalo Bills kitchen, what spice, condiment, or utensil is Keith Ellison and why?
Keith Ellison is a butter knife. He's not dangerous enough to make any impact on his own, but used correctly, he can inflict some pain. Hopefully he can have this type of impact on Buffalo's elite special teams unit.
Four: If you were GM for a day and Keith Ellison demanded a trade, give us your most realistic, fair-value trade for this player and that would benefit your team the most.
I'm not sure any team would be looking for a mediocre reserve linebacker, but since you asked, I'd look to trade him for help at tight end. The Jets' Chris Baker, who is very talented but has never been used correctly (and who wants out of New York), seems like fair trade value to me. Intra-division trades are rare, however.
Five: What is the most amount of money you would pay to try to tackle, be tackled by, or play catch with Keith?
If I'm paying to get hit by somebody, I want it to hurt so badly that I'll have no choice but to remember it forever. [A craigslist gift certificate is in the mail, friend.--ed] Keith Ellison doesn't do that. The only thing I'd pay Keith Ellison for is the chance to pick his brain about Buffalo's defensive system.
Six: What is the signature play of Keith Ellison's career with the Bills? Describe it in as much detail as possible. Also, were you there?
Last season, as the Bills' defense was attempting to force a three-and-out in a late-season fourth quarter comeback bid against the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants, the Giants were, clearly, attempting to run out the clock. The Giants held a 31-21 lead, but the Bills had some momentum, and there was enough time to at least get the game closer. Ellison missed a tackle, however, on Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw, who sprinted 70+ yards for a score, and the Giants won 38-21. That's the play I always think of when the subject of Keith Ellison is brought up. I was, in fact, at that game, but left early (I know, I'm a sucky Bills fan) and missed this play. Replays were gruesome enough. [This strikes us as a slightly bitter interpretation, considering Keith also picked off an Eli Manning pass last year that led to a Bills' TD.--ed]
Seven: If Keith missed the team bus and was standing by the side of the road on game day, would you give him a ride?
Certainly, if only for the chance to talk to him. I'm sure he's a great guy. But Keith Ellison doesn't miss the bus. He might miss tackles, but he won't miss the bus.
Seven-A: What if it was a road game? What is the farthest away road stadium that you would drive him to, personally? Please take into account the consequences for the number of days work you would probably miss.
My loyalties to Keith Ellison end at Ralph Wilson Stadium. There are very few Bills players that I would sacrifice work time to drive long distances, and Ellison is certainly not one of them. Marshawn Lynch, maybe... you know, since he doesn't have a driver's license and all. [We know of a Cal blogger who would most likely beat you to it.--ed]
Eight: Do you expect Keith to improve, level off, or regress this year, and why?
I think he's already started to level off - we know what we have in him. We have a smart player who won't make a lot of mistakes, but isn't physical or aggressive enough to be a full-time starter at this level. We do, however, think we have a solid backup and a solid special teams performer in Keith Ellison - so he should be here for a while. [Note: Keith Ellison started in 9 games in 2007, after being inactive for the first 4 with an ankle injury.--ed.]
Thanks a bunch for coming on and keeping us up to date on former Beaver Great, Keith Ellison!