Thursday, February 11, 2016

Father of new Eagles quarterback nearly killed by disgruntled parent of player he coached

G.J. Kinne won't likely make the Eagles' final roster. While that may be crushing for some young players trying to make it in the National Football League, Kinne is tougher than most.

Father of new Eagles quarterback nearly killed by disgruntled parent of player he coached


G.J. Kinne, former Tulsa quarterback, was signed by the Eagles on Tuesday and won't likely make the team's final roster.

While that may be crushing for some young players trying to make it in the National Football League, Kinne is tougher than most.

How do I know that, having never met Kinne myself?

That's because I read a story from 2009 on about an April 2005 shooting at Canton (Texas) High School.

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Kinne's father, Gary Joe, the school's football coach, was shot in his on-campus office during school hours. While his son sat in class mentally preparing for a track meet after school, the students were taken into shelter for what they thought was a safety drill.

Moments later, a police officer and an assistant coach yanked him from the room and placed him in protective custody while taking him to the athletic fieldhouse.

His father, they told him, had been shot.

"It was an awful feeling," G.J. Kinne said. "I kept asking, 'What's going on?' and 'Who did it?'"

Jeff Robertson, a disgruntled parent of a football player, entered Gary Joe Kinne's office and, without saying a word, shot the coach once in the stomach. After he left, Kinne managed to call for help and collapsed when it arrived.

Kinne, just a teenager, was taken into his father's office and recalls that "there was blood everywhere." Gary Joe was quickly airlifted to an area hospital, while Kinne and his family were taken into protective custody.

Robertson was still on the loose.

While at the police station, Kinne was given the news by police officers:

"At the police station, I was told my father had died," G.J. Kinne said. "They said, 'Your father's dead and you are the man of the house now.'

"That was really a bad situation."

The only thing was that his father had not died. He was in critical condition and clinging to life.

Gary Joe Kinne spent about 100 days in the hospital and had three or four surgeries. The man who was given a 10 percent chance of living left the hospital and helped lead his Canton team to a 12-2 record that fall. He also was named the Adams USA National Coach of the Year.

Robertson, who has a tattoo of a gun-wielding Yosemite Sam and the words "Born to Raise Hell" on his arm, was arrested a few hours later on that afternoon.

School authorities said Robertson had already been barred from the high school and told not to attend games after several confrontations, including one at a football picnic where he was accused of "shoving and verbally abusing" coaches. His son was a Canton freshman at the time.

Robertson received a 20-year sentence for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Needless to say, the range of emotions Kinne felt on that April day hardened him to the harsh realities of a world that can be both cruel and compassionate. At such a young age, Kinne was exposed to an event that surely gave him perspective most of us will never comprehend.

So whether or not Kinne has a future with the Eagles, one can bet that he knows there are worse ways to spend your day than looking for a new job.


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