So, I come down and of course the “GM” is in the lobby, on his cell, starring at the elevator doors, waiting on “the unit”. I quickly realized that I’m the one who’s going to get poked and prodded this week, not the players in the combine. Understand, Cerrato has a long track record in football not just with the Dan Snyder owned Redskins. Vinny was in San Fran for nearly a decade and served in an extremely high capacity as both Director of College Scouting and Director of Player Personnel. Prior to 1991, when he joined the 49ers, Cerrato was the recruiting coordinator for Lou Holtz at Notre Dame. He has a Super Bowl ring (1994) and a National Championship (1988) on his resume, I explain his credentials to illustrate how for the last 20 years he’s been going to the combine to pick apart people. This week I’m his target.
A man is a creature of habit and Vinny Cerrato is no different. Wake up same time, work out same time, when Vin is ready to rock and roll you better be ready or in his mind you’re running late. Coach Cerrato was in analysis mode and I figured it out far too late in the game. Hotel lobby doors open and we are off, walking to dinner in Indy at the combine, just two dudes talking football and life and work. Five feet into our travels Vinny runs into a couple of guys he knows… Rams new Head Coach Jeff Fisher and GM Les Snead. We say hello, crack a joke or two, mention radio and we are back walking. Next stop another group of friends, a group of four guys that include a current coach, scout and former scout and a radio guy. They were sitting in front of a restaurant at the bar watching basketball and telling stories. We went inside, chatted for a few, hugged, laughed, told a story or two then hit the doors again. I’m finding fast that this guy is home on the road in Indy.
We finally get to the restaurant, both of us starving, and see Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome eating alone at the bar watching basketball. Ozzie true to form is playing it smart and safe with his dinner, fried jumbo shrimp with fries. Vinny and I go say hi, they chat for a brief moment and I get our table. The dinner was actually pretty normal, I found a few of Vinny’s likes… the crust on bread not the soft spots and his white wines better be COLD. He went “wine guy” on the waiter explaining how and why to keep it cold in the bottle and in the glass. He attempted to order creamed corn (which I love) but without the cream… What kind of sense does that make? We talked life, family, football, work … normal dinner convo really. We talked about theories on Ravens players, needs of other teams, old football and radio stories, all that stuff. After one bottle of $94 wine and our dinner plus appetizers we were done, time to walk it off and back to the hotel. Lights out for the 1057 the fan crew came early weds night because Thursday morning started at 7:15am in the lobby ready to go, so said Sargent Cerrato!
Part 3 will be day one of our live broadcast from Lucas Oil Stadium… To Be Continued…
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