Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
Growing up many of us will never have the opportunity to meet or speak to our childhood idols, I was fortunate to do just that. R.C. Owens and I met several years ago shortly after he moved to Manteca with his wife Susan. They immediately got involved in the Manteca community, they opened a business and provided countless acts of kindness that benefitted many organizations. R.C. became a good friend and we talked many times over the years about family, growing up and of course football. We had one memorable conversation just prior to him being inducted into the Manteca Hall of Fame which I had the pleasure of being the Master of Ceremonies. I had the opportunity to read his complete bio a week before the event. During our discussion we spoke mainly of our childhood and how our mothers were such huge influences in our lives. I also asked him if he knew Earl Morrall, who in my opinion was the greatest back-up quarterback in NFL history and had many milestones that most of us have forgotten. When growing up playing football with friends, we would pick a player to imitate, everyone picked Bart Starr or Johnny Unitas and I would be Earl Morrall.
Famous for his high top football shoes and his trademark flattop haircut, he led Michigan State to a win over UCLA in the Rose Bowl, He replaced Johnny Unitas to lead the Colts to an NFL Championship and a Super Bowl, and quarterbacked most of the games during the Miami Dolphins undefeated season in the NFL. He also was named NFL Player of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year and claims ownership to three Superbowl rings. Shortly after we had this discussion, R.C. invited me over to his home to visit. Upon arriving he immediately picked up the phone and dialed, not knowing what to expect, I suddenly heard R.C. say, “Earl, I have your biggest fan in the world here and I want you to speak with him”. After picking myself up off the floor, I spoke to my boyhood idol for about 30 minutes and was thrilled. About a week later, I received a handwritten note, picture and a box of football cards of the greatest quarterbacks of all time from Earl Morrall, what a thrill, even at my age. We all have our childhood heroes and in most cases never have a chance to meet or talk with them. R.C. provided me with that and I will never forget his incredible act of kindness.
R.C. was a hero in his own right. Many of those that have benefitted from his desire to help through his many community service projects may never know that this giant of a man had a role in their life.
R.C. was a generous man who had much success on and off the field, he was an incredibly talented man with a huge heart which he was willing to share. His family, professional football, and all of us in the greater Manteca area lost a true gentleman. I was fortunate to know him and have some great chats and visits over the years. My only regret is that with my busy and sometimes hectic schedule, I did not find more time to stop by and visit to share and listen to this remarkable man. R.C., thanks for the words of wisdom, the great stories and making a big kid’s dream come true, you will be missed.
June 19, 2012