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Jenni Carlson: Brandon Weeden is Oklahoma State's own Forrest Gump

Some Oklahoma State fans are already ready to crown new quarterback Brandon Weeden as the best player on this year's team. But it's some of the people Weeden has met that make him interesting.
by Jenni Carlson Modified: August 10, 2010 at 8:48 am •  Published: August 9, 2010

STILLWATER — Ask Oklahoma State fans to name the best player on this year's football team, and most think about it for a moment.

Not Thomas Rossiter.

"Brandon Weeden," the Edmond resident said over the weekend as he stood in line during Fan Appreciation Day. "I'm so excited."

The Cowboy quarterback has played only one half of meaningful football in the past eight years. Was that second-half performance against Colorado enough to earn the title of best player on the team, to beat out the likes of Kendall Hunter and Markelle Martin and Orie Lemon, to make orange-clad fans gush?

"It was," Rossiter said. "I was shocked with the speed, the velocity he puts on the ball, and then it's right where it needed to be."

Even though his play on that Thursday night has fired up Cowboy fans — and rest assured, folks are stoked about this guy; we'll have all the details next Monday in our annual fan poll — that one half of football isn't the only reason Weeden ranks as high on the intrigue scale as any athlete in our fair state of late. He is fascinating because of what he's done on the football field and off it.

Because of his time in professional baseball, Weeden has already lived another life.

It has been a Forrest Gump existence.

You remember how the movie character was always crossing paths with famous people? Weeden might not have bumped into Elvis Presley, John Kennedy or John Lennon — he's not that old — but he has encountered lots of interesting characters.

The day the New York Yankees made Weeden their first pick of the 2002 baseball draft, Weeden got a call from George Steinbrenner. Not long after, he met The Boss in person.

Weeden played rookie ball in Tampa, Fla., where Steinbrenner had a home. The heavy-handed owner would regularly stop by the stadium and pop into the clubhouse to check on his investments.

One time when he did, the Yankees were mired in a 10-game losing streak.

"Stay away from The Boss," the players whispered to each other.

Weeden laughed as he recalled the story.

"He was not a happy camper," he said. "Everybody sees The Boss, and everybody kinda scoots this way — 'I don't want him sitting by me.' He was an intimidating guy."

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by Jenni Carlson
Reporter and Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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