Joe Vellano, New England Patriot
It’s been an amazing road so far for our very own Joe Vellano as he nears completion of his second season as a New England Patriot. Joe may seem like a Cinderella story and in this case, this story does include “magic”, the magic of hard work and heart. It’s a story about one man who relies on what he learned as a little boy, that hard work as a student of the sport, solid family values, a humble nature and a strength that can persevere above all, to follow a dream.
Nowadays, most news reports you hear from the media on professional players include paychecks or problems. That’s not the case with Joe. Even while following a grueling season schedule, Joe managed not only fit time in for the kids, as in the case of this photo, but on a bi-week traveled home to Colonie, N.Y. to support his alma mater. Joe visited his ‘boys’, the CBA varsity football team, where he gave a pep talk to the football team before the Section II Class AA Super Bowl championship. They went on to win, all the while with Joe cheering in the stands.
"I was in their shoes not too long ago," Vellano, 25, said this past week. "I wasn't the biggest, fastest, strongest – even in high school. I talked about the importance of learning the game, getting better every day. It doesn't matter where you're from, your background. You just don't give up."
CBA coach Joe Burke: "He's got so much on his plate in terms of his own preparation, that he takes time to talk to the team ... "It's real easy sometimes way down the road to remember where you came from. But for him to be thinking about it now, in the short term, it's a tribute to him, the time he gives back to his family and his program." You wonder where time went when athletes were heroes, harken back to the time when commercials with Mean Joe Green and that spirit, that magic that made you truly love the game and its players. We know the magic lives on, in at least once case where we have the privilege to watch first hand.
The Troy Record recently printed an article about our very own New England Patriot, Joe Vellano. Reporter Steve Amedio made the analogy that, “Vellano speaks in a virtual whisper with an economy of words. He is the Derek Jeter of professional football for having the ability to carry on a conversation without saying much about what he does. It’s the same football field job he did when he was a dominant two-way lineman at Christian Brothers Academy, the same job he did so well as an All-American at Maryland where, as a junior, he led the nation in tackles by a defensive lineman… Just on-field actions. So far, those have spoken volumes.” We know the heroes are out there. We know that the kids of today can be the Joe’s of tomorrow, with a little perseverance, a little hope and a little bit of Patriots No. 72 magic.
Way to go kid.
Photo Courtesy of the New England Patriots/David Silverman