HBO’s Hard Knocks series returns tonight, Aug. 9, with the Los Angeles Rams as the NFL team in the spotlight during training camp. It marks the 15th anniversary of the first season that trailed the Baltimore Ravens following their Super Bowl victory during the previous season.
The show has presented viewers with many compelling, goofy, crazy characters over the years. Did you know there was one season when the silky tones of Live Schreiber weren’t the ones you heard during the show’s narration? During the 2007 season with the Kansas City Chiefs, HBO used Kansas native and Chiefs fan Paul Rudd, who has since gone on to star in a few popular movies, including one in which he plays Ant-Man.
Now that we have caught up with that obscure actor, what are the rest of those faces doing today? You know, the ones that became stars for a few weeks only to fade into oblivion with other HBO television characters, like Will McAvoy and Martin Tupper. What are they up to?
Glad you asked.
2001: BALTIMORE RAVENS
Todd and Ashley Heap: I’m sure everyone remembers Todd Heap, as he had a very good career as a tight end for the Ravens before winding down with the Arizona Cardinals in 2012. But Todd and Ashley were a storyline throughout the first season as newly married high school sweethearts adjusting to life together in the NFL. That’s a recipe for divorce and heartache if there ever was one.
Then again, no it’s not! I fully expected to read about Todd living alone in a one-bedroom apartment in Bethesda while Ashley was on her second husband, but no. They are still married and have five kids together.
Dwayne Missouri: He was the other rookie on the show, although he was a seventh-round pick desperate for a roster spot. If you don’t remember him, he’s the guy that did a bunch of puking during one episode. The Palm Beach Post tracked him down in 2012 and asked him about his 15 minutes of fame.
“That game I was throwing up every third play or whatever it was,” Missouri says. “Having to watch that on camera, that wasn’t one of the better times.”
Missouri didn’t make the Ravens, but he caught on for two games with the Cowboys that season before spending the rest of his career overseas or in the Arena League. Today, he’s an assistant football coach and teacher at a high school in San Antonio.
One side note: After Trent Dilfer “won” a Super Bowl the previous year, Ravens training camp featured a quarterback battle between Elvis Grbac and Randall Cunningham. ESPN needs to produce a 30 for 30 Doc and Darryl-esque version of Elvis vs. Randall.
2002: DALLAS COWBOYS
Quincy Carter: The Cowboys were in such a bad way that Carter became the first second-round quarterback to start Week 1 in his rookie season. Carter fought for a starting job against Chad Hutchinson and won it. The Cowboys went 5-11 and four years later, Tony Romo took over the job.
Carter’s last NFL season was in 2004 with the New York Jets. From there, he went to the Canadian Football League, the Arena Football League, the Indoor Football League and finally to the American Indoor League with the Corpus Christi Fury, where he played this season.
The 38-year-old wants to go into coaching when his football career ends.
2007: KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Boomer Grigsby: He attempted to make a position switch during training camp, from linebacker to fullback, and he made the team despite an injury. He played three seasons with the Chiefs and one game with the Miami Dolphins in 2008. He was on the practice squad with the Houston Texans in 2009 and now he’s just a regular person with a LinkedIn page.
Seriously! Here is Grigsby’s LinkedIn page!
He works as a sales rep for Stryker Neuro Spine ENT in Las Vegas, a medical company with a web site that features many stock photos.
Bobby Sippio: He was the arena league wide receiver that wanted to latch on with the Chiefs. He made the final 53-man roster, but was dropped for Tyler Thigpen, then added to the practice squad. He dressed for nine games in 2007 and finished his NFL career with one kickoff return for six yards.
In May 2012, Sippio was charged with attempted murder, kidnapping and armed robbery of his girlfriend’s brother in Osceola County, Florida. Sippio has been in jail awaiting trial for more than four years, but there is a pretrial motion set for Aug. 30 at 8 a.m., according to the woman I spoke to at the Osceola County Courthouse who didn’t seem to appreciate my commentary about the wheels of justice turning slowly here.
Brodie Croyle and Kelli Schultz: Maybe Hard Knocks wanted to recapture the Heap magic by highlighting a young couple adjusting to NFL life. People went crazy because Kelli is a very attractive woman on a television screen and Brodie had the sort of bangs that scream “third-round draft pick destined to wash out of the NFL.” It was compelling.
Much like the Heaps, Brodie and Kelli are still together and have two children. Unlike Todd, Brodie’s NFL career was short-lived and ended in 2012. Today, Brodie is the associate executive director of Big Oak Ranch, “a Christian home” for abused or neglected children.
2008: DALLAS COWBOYS
Todd Lowber: He was the wide receiver with the physical tools, but not enough skill, so he was let go during final cuts. He never made it beyond the practice squad of an NFL team.
Lowber is also the second ex-player with a LinkedIn page. He now works for the Department of State in the position of Government Relations. He’s done that since April 2013. If you’re wondering what “that” entails, that makes two of us, because his freaking LinkedIn resume says “top secret clearance” is required to know. Is Lowber a spy with a LinkedIn page? Maybe he’ll delete it after this hard-hitting investigative story is released.
2009: CINCINNATI BENGALS
J.D. Runnels: This show loves to focus on fullback competitions, and this year, J.D. Runnels was cut from the team in front of the world. He never got back into the NFL as anything more than a practice squad player and concluded his football career in 2010 with the Florida Tuskers (now the Virginia Destroyers) of the UFL.
Runnels is now a personal trainer in Midwest City, Oklahoma, and reflected on his Hard Knocks time in a January 2014 piece in The Oklahoman. Let’s say he’s still mad he got cut.
For me, I know how well I had been playing. I’m glad they showed some highlights of me. You have to realize at some point that it’s not all about talent and it’s hard to come to that conclusion. I feel confident with people knowing that I didn’t get cut because I (stink) basically. That’s why I don’t really don’t particularly watch the show but I also don’t hate it. I feel like a little bit of it is political when teams make roster decisions — who they have their money invested in and who’s healthy at the right time and things like that.
2010: NEW YORK JETS
God Damn Snacks: They still exist. Rex Ryan made them famous and, while he has lost weight over the past six years, God Damn Snacks continue to flourish throughout the world, especially America.