By LARRY VAUGHT
Boyle County native Jacob Tamme has been in the NFL for six years, and will be playing in his second Super Bowl Sunday when his Denver Broncos take on Seattle in New York. Tamme, 28, was a fourth-round draft pick by Indianapolis in the 2008 after his record-setting career at Kentucky. He has 164 career catches for 1,594 yards and eight score. He caught a 1-yard touchdown pass and had another 23-yard reception in last week’s AFC title game win over New England to send him back to the Super Bowl where he played for Indianapolis when the Colts lost to New Orleans.
Statewide media members have covered/watched Tamme’s high school, college and NFL career. Lexington Herald-Leader columnist Mark Story, former WLEX-TV anchor Mary Jo Perino, Kentucky Sports Radio host Ryan Lemond, WLEX-TV sports anchor Alan Cutler, UK Radio Network play-by-play voice Tom Leach and WLAP Sunday Morning Sports Talk host Mark Buerger shared their insights on Tamme.
Question: What continues to impress you the most about Jacob Tamme?
Story: “His competitiveness. Because Jacob is such a nice guy in civilian life, I think his competitive drive gets overlooked. The fire that allowed Tamme to soar above Eric Berry to turn a sure Tennessee interception into a 40-yard UK gain and launch Kentucky’s big rally against UT in 2007 is a big key, I think, to what has allowed Jacob to ‘make it’ in the NFL.
Perino: “His professionalism. He may not have gotten the same opportunities to play as he did last season, but that hasn’t stopped him from working hard and taking advantage of every time he did get on the field, even as a special teams player.”
Cutler: “Class act. As classy an athlete as I’ve ever talked to at UK.”
Lemond: “ Considering the shelf life of most NFL players is usually just three years, Tamme continues to impress me with his ability to stay in the league. I think it comes from his incredible work ethic and being a true “team” player. If he has to play special teams, he does it. If he has to tackle somebody, he does it. If he has to put his hand down and block some 280-pound defensive end, he does it. If he has to block to set up a play, he does it. If he has to catch a pass, he does that too. He deserves it because he has worked hard at it his entire career.”
Leach: “First, he’s always been a class act. As for on the field, what has always impressed me is that he makes ‘significant’ catches. In the AFC title game, his two catches were a touchdown and the play that sealed the win. At Kentucky, he often seemed to be the go-to guy for a key third or fourth down pass.”
Buerger: “From a football standpoint, I think his staying power in the league is what impresses me the most. The NFL is a tough business. Even if you manage to avoid the injuries that drive a lot of guys out, careers aren’t necessarily long. He has had a really good one. From a personal standpoint, I love the way he has used his success to help others, and the way he remains a proud Kentuckian and come back to do so much of his work here. Seems like a truly all-around good guy.”