Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Day 37° Partly Cloudy

SportsLink

Halliday has earned support on this one

WSU quarterback Connor Halliday (12) looks for an opening against Arizona during the first half of a college football game on Saturday, October 25, 2014, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
WSU quarterback Connor Halliday (12) looks for an opening against Arizona during the first half of a college football game on Saturday, October 25, 2014, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • There are news reports you read and say “well, that makes sense.” There are others that are just the opposite. Like yesterday. Read on.

•••

• Late yesterday morning the news began to trickle out of Washington, D.C. that Connor Halliday, the free-agent quarterback from Washington State, was no longer on the Redskins’ roster for their rookie mini-camp. It seemed odd. After all, Halliday had signed a contract with the team, had been assigned a number and was back in D.C. preparing for the weekend. And he wasn’t there. Then a report came out Halliday had decided to retire. And that seemed really odd. If you know Halliday, heck if you just know about him, one thing you were always sure of was his love of football. The news didn’t add up. Your first thought probably was, what happened? Mine too. But my second was, I wonder if Connor is OK? See, I’ve known Connor Halliday for a while. Years really. The one thing I had learned in all those years knowing him was it takes an elephant, a strong rope and three hours to drag Connor Halliday off the football field. He loves the game. He loves the competition. He loves being on the field. He’s played through injuries that would make a Navy Seal blink. To call it quits, to turn away from the game he loves this close to his NFL dream, something may just be wrong. And that worried me. You see, Halliday is one of those rare subjects a sportswriter covers. One of the rare ones you come to like, mainly because he was so open and honest. If he was hurting, my first thought was to see if I could help. So I sent him a direct message via Twitter, a way we have communicated in the past. And I called a few people I know he confides him, to see if he needed anything. Everyone was in the dark. It had hit them out of the blue as well. As the day wore on, and I prepared to go on the radio show where I am an occasional fill-in host, I knew I would have to talk about Connor’s decision, even if I knew little more than the people listening. So I decided to text him. I didn’t want to say something stupid and misinformed, as I usually do. If I was going to say something stupid, I at least wanted to be semi-informed. Connor responded within minutes. He said he was good, which was, well, good news. So what the heck was going on? The gist of the text-based conversation was he wasn’t playing football anymore, he was done with it. My worries about him being injured didn’t seem to be a concern, but further illumination would have to wait. Which is fine with me. As I said on the radio yesterday – some of my comments you can find here – that’s his business. This couldn’t have been an easy decision for him, but it was his to make. None of us have ever walked in his shoes. None of us knows what went into the tough – I’m sure it was just that – decision. But all of us can respect his right to make it. And to keep his reasons to himself. Maybe it’s an age thing – John Blanchette’s excellent column today covers similar ground and comes to the same conclusion – because 30 years ago I would have been clamoring to know more. But nowadays I get it. And we all should. Connor Halliday gave everything he had to give to football, giving his blood (literally), sweat and tears to use an overused phrase. He almost died trying to win a game for the Crimson and Gray. He had success, he suffered failures, he was human. And now he’s made a public decision to step away. As John wrote this morning, he doesn’t need support for the decision. That was his to make, whatever his reasons. So what then, what does he need? That’s easy. If his years of football have earned him anything from those who cheered him, they’ve earned him support.

••••••••••

• WSU: New defensive coordinator Alex Grinch (pictured, center) has made progress, according to ESPN.com’s Pac-12 blog, but there is still work to do. ... The Cougars announced a quite large hall of fame class. ... The baseball team got past Arizona State 1-0 as senior Joe Pistorese had another dominating outing.

• EWU: The Eagles are in the hunt for the Big Sky track title. Jim Allen has more on the championships’ first day.

• Whitworth: The baseball season came to an end in Texas yesterday, as did the tenure of coach Dan Ramsay.

• Shock: A tough one, with multiple story lines, awaits this afternoon (the game is early due to the Lilac Parade) in the Arena when the Shock hosts San Jose. Jim Meehan has an advance.

• Golf: Jim also has his weekly golf column. This week he sits down with a few pros to talk shop.

• Preps: What a busy Friday. From the Idaho State track meets – Greg Lee has the coverage – to District 8 4A softball in Washington – that’s the bailiwick of Chris Derrick – there is something for everyone. ... Tom Clouse was at the district track championships and has this roundup. ... Lake City and Coeur d’Alene will meet in the State 5A softball tournament. ... Lewiston has made the 5A baseball finals.

• Seahawks: Hardly a day goes by when there isn’t a Russell Wilson contract story or two to sift through. Yesterday was not different, with a report circulating the Hawks and their quarterback were so far apart nothing was going to get done. Then Gregg Bell of the News Tribune posted a report stating that earlier report was incorrect. ... Bobby Wagner is another player who is talking contract extension with the Hawks. ... There was a roster addition made yesterday as well.

• Mariners: The game was tied at one. Ninth inning, first base open, Nelson Cruz at the plate. Walk him or pitch him carefully? Red Sox manager John Farrell picked B. But Junichi Tazawa wasn’t careful enough and Cruz delivered a game-winning single to left, giving the M’s a 2-1 victory. ... The M’s are shaking up their lineup in some subtle ways. ... They need to because they just haven’t been consistent in the clutch.

• Sounders: Any Cascadia Cup match is a big deal. But today’s in Vancouver is even more important as the Sounders are chasing the Whitecaps in the MLS standings. ... Seattle will more than likely have to play without star forward Obafemi Martins, questionable with an undisclosed injury. ... Real Salt Lake looking for a big road win.

•••

• Have a good day. Saturdays with sunshine are always nice, aren’t they? Until later ...



Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

Follow Vince online:






Looking for a Grip on Sports?

Vince Grippi's daily take on all things regional sports has been moved to our main sports section online. You can find a collection of these columns here.