Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Former Rams Linebacker Mel Owens A Winner On And Off The Field

 BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

During the next couple of weeks, expect to see more stories come from the 2024 NFL Draft in Detroit held from April 25-27.

There are times when you have to hunt for stories and others when they fall into your lap.

I’ve covered the NFL Draft in four different ways.

First, in the early 1980’s, I covered the Miami Dolphins and worked with legendary coach Don Shula. For a young guy that was 19-years old, it was an unforgettable experience.

Second, later in the decade and into the 1990’s, I worked with the Detroit Lions and covered the draft many years under head coaches Wayne Fontes and Bobby Ross. I’ve never seen more press releases, bios, etc…than I did during these years. I can only imagine how many trees were cut down with the amount of paper that I read. The Lions PR Department did an outstanding job keeping us up to date, fed us great and there were plenty of interview opportunities.

Third, I had the opportunity to cover the Jacksonville Jaguars. I met a lot of great media people, the PR Staff was extremely hospitable, no shortage of food and there were good press conferences with key football people. By this time, a lot of the bios and press releases were online and not much paper.

This latest experience was my first time covering the event nationally. 

I’ve covered four Super Bowls and am familiar with the big stage. 

During the week leading up to the event, I participated on Zoom Calls and on my podcasts, utilized all the information that I compiled. It was great covering it in my hometown!

When you’re covering a big event, there are some things that you can’t prepare for and that’s what your strategy is because you don’t know what individuals will be around.

I’ll go back to my favorite movie of all-time, Hoosiers and take a comment that actor Gene Hackman used when assessing his new job, “Let’s see what hand I’ve been dealt.”

During the Super Bowl, if you’re roaming around radio row, the media area or everywhere, there will be no shortage of interviews.

But in this case, I struck early on the first night.

Jeremy Ballreich was covering his first event for the South Florida Tribune. I told him to follow my lead and he’ll have a productive weekend. To ensure my credibility, I had to set a great example.

I wasted no time approaching former Michigan Wolverine and Los Angeles Rams Linebacker Mel Owens. 

On last nights edition of Inside The Pigskin, I found out from my panelist Mel Farr Jr. that he was a teammate of Owens with the Rams. Mel was impressed that I was able to talk to Owens on the first night.

Ballreich, one of my prize pupils was impressed with how I went about my business in a no-nonsense manner. I’m hoping as his time in this business continues, he’ll develop that same tenacity to think on his feet, although he has come a long way in the year we’ve worked together.

As far as Owens is concerned, he has the qualities that I look for in a guest, and he was more than happy to give me whatever time that I needed. We did the one-on-one in an area where there were no distractions.

Mel Owens was born on December 7, 1958. 

Ironically, he shares the same birthday as my late mother and he is just four years older than myself.

How much time did I have to prepare for this interview? 

None.

Owens played for the Michigan Wolverines and had a successful nine year career with the LA Rams.

After his NFL career, he’s a partner and attorney at Law for Namanny, Byrne & Owens, protecting players rights to receive Workers Compensation.

Owens brought a great balance of success on and off the field.

During our interview, we talked about the Michigan Wolverines National Championship, Jim Harbaugh, his playing career, what he’s doing now, etc…

Once you view this interview you’re going to learn about a man that defines the term, (Student Athlete) and has mastered it to perfection. 

When the interview for the Motor City Mad Mouth Show was completed, I gave Mel a signed copy of My Book, “Lessons From The Microphone.”

My goal is to stay in touch with him going forward and hopefully reunite him with Mel as well as have him on other shows.

Vanessa Williams had a song called “Save The Best For Last.”

In this case, I “Saved The Best For First” because what I learned about the NFL Draft is you better get as much done on the first day. As the draft continues, a lot of people come for the first day and leave for the last couple of days.

The National Networks are scattered all over the place so it’s hard to land those individuals where the Super Bowl is a huge candy store.

I’ve always felt that some of my favorite interviews were the ones that had no preparation. 

But the key to any good interview is have a lot of great core questions then make sure your follow up questions are strong. Before you know it, you’ve spent a sufficient amount of time with the individual and provided your fans great content.

When you have an intelligent individual like Owens and a 44-year veteran in Sports Media like myself, I know that’s a strong combination. 

Experience is priceless. You have to know when to capitalize on opportunities when they come your way and move quickly!

Scott Morganroth can be reached at southfloridatribune@gmail.com and you can follow him on Twitter/X @TribuneSouth. To see his broadcasts, subscribe to the South Florida Tribune You Tube Channel.

Finally, Scott wrote a book, “Lessons From The Microphone” and you get purchase it on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


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