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News » Millen never forgot where he came from

Millen never forgot where he came from

Millen never forgot where he came from
May 7, 2009 (Morning Call delivered by Newstex ) --

As director of the Nike (NYSE:NKE) "Coach of the Year" Football clinic back in March, Jim Tkach wasn't impressed with Florida coach Urban Meyer. His cold, standoffish style turned off Tkach and many others involved with running the clinic.

So, when I asked Tkach to tell me what he thought of Matt Millen on Wednesday at the Bo Tkach Memorial Golf Tournament at Blue Ridge Country Club, he used Urban Meyer as a contrast.

"Matt is the complete opposite of Meyer," Tkach said. "Matt never forgot where he came from. He's a grounded, sincere, down-to-earth person who will always bounce back."

Matt Millen, and?his?wife, Pat, have become close friends of Jim and Sandi Tkach.

Jim said he doesn't know where they would be without the support of the Millens. When Bo Tkach died in 2007, Millen called from Detroit.

"When he found out what happened, he called right away, and asked what he could do," Tkach said. "I couldn't believe it was him."

Millen helped to set a whole series of things in motion that has led to Tkach being at the forefront of mental health awareness and issues. The Bo Tkach?Foundation is dedicated to helping?as many kids as possible with?a subject that not everybody is comfortable talking about.

Jim Tkach has gone around the region and country trying to?bring awareness to?serious things that are not as?easily?discovered as a?pulled hamstring or sprained ankle.

Millen is proud of what Tkach has done, turning the ultimate of negatives into a positive.

"It would have been easy to do nothing, but he decided to do something," Millen said.

I talked to Millen briefly before he gave his speech?on Wednesday. He's still uncomfortable talking about the Lions , the NFL, even ESPN where he's going back to work as an analyst.

That's understandable.

But once you get him talking about family, the Lehigh Valley, Whitehall ?old friends like Mike Guman, the Tkachs, etc., etc. it's just like old times and you remember he thinks of himself as? just another guy who grew up in Hokendauqua and played some Football.

I've winced as I've heard the harsh national criticism Millen has received over the years.

Look, the Lions were bad. There's no denying that. As the guy calling the shots, he had to take the blame. He understands that and took full responsibility.

That doesn't change the fact that he's a quality person. I always thought that if even the most angry Lions fan got the chance to sit down and have a beer with Millen,?he'd soften his opinion of him.

I have no doubt that the reason Lions owner William Clay Ford stood by Millen while all others wanted his head was that he saw what kind of person Millen was and didn't want to lose such a morally sound, quality guy.

I told Matt that when many people from around here make it big, they change and can't wait to put the Lehigh Valley in the rearview mirror. He has never done that.

He appreciated the compliment.

He didn't want publicity for what he has done for the Tkach family. In fact, he'd rather credit his wife Pat for her role as the Tkachs' spiritual counselor.

But it's important to reveal the other side of people. You can judge Millen for what was accomplished in Detroit and he'll take his lumps. That's not the sole measure of the man, however.

As I said in a column this morning, this guy's a winner in far more important things than Football games.

Newstex ID: 34735896

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 7, 2009

Cory Redding Name: Cory Redding
Position: DT
Age: 27
Experience: 6 years
College: Texas
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