The date was April 18, 1998. That is was a long time ago goes without saying. But it is the first time I remember Juan Castillo speaking.
He had been on Ray Rhodes' staff for a couple of years in an entry-level position, learning the business of NFL coaching. Now he was the offensive line coach in what pretty much everyone knew was going to be Rhodes' final season as the Eagles' head coach. This particular day was draft day. It was the day the Eagles picked Tra Thomas.
As part of the media sales job, reporters were brought into one of the players' meeting rooms at the Vet, those old, cramped, damp places with the stained ceiling tiles and the ever-present hint of rodents watching your ever move. There, Castillo popped in a videotape of Thomas and commenced coaching.
I can't tell you exactly what he said, but the memory is full of "whams" and "bams" and whatnot as Castillo grew more and more excited about the player his team had just drafted. His enthusiasm impressed everybody that day. It was really kind of infectious, even given the hard-bitten crew to whom Castillo was preaching.