Jan. 21, 2009
By DAVID FLORES
Cody Carlson was so competitive when he played at Churchill that he refused to quit after losing a shoe at the start of an 800-meter race during preseason workouts his senior year.
More than 27 years later, then-Churchill football coach Jerry Comalander vividly remembers his reaction when he saw his quarterback running on the cinder track with only one shoe.
"I yelled, `Cody, get off the track! You're going to tear up your foot!'" Comalander said, recalling that August day in 1981. "He wouldn't get off. He had worked hard all summer to get ready for that race." Carlson not only finished, he won running against a group that included wide receivers and defensive backs.
"His whole sock was bloody," Comalander said. "That pretty much shows you the intense competitor he was."
That mental and physical toughness served Carlson well at Baylor and throughout his seven-year pro career with the Houston Oilers. Carlson had his moments while starting 19 of the 45 NFL games in which he played, but he was primarily a backup to future NFL Hall of Famer Warren Moon.
"At least fundamentally, I always was prepared," said Carlson, 45. "As mundane as the practices and weeks could be, I knew it was my responsibility to the team to prepare as if I was going to play every game and every down.
"There were times, particularly early on, when I desired to go to another franchise so I could play. But maybe it was a blessing to spend that time at one place and not take a pounding. I didn't play that much, but yet I was around to help the team have some success."
Carlson had no problem getting playing time at Baylor, where he finished his career as the Bears' all-time leader in passing yardage, touchdowns, completions and total offense.
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