Cum­mings em­braces change to line­backer

He fig­ured to sit as a backup QB

The Washington Times Daily - - Weather - BY PA­TRICK STEVENS

AN­NAPO­LIS | The text re­quest­ing a meet­ing with of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Ivin Jasper ar­rived just af­ter Jarvis Cum­mings re­turned to Navy from win­ter break. There were only so many rea­sons to sum­mon the quar­ter­back.

Or, more specif­i­cally, the soon- to- be- for­mer quar­ter­back.

“I looked at it and said ‘I don’t know what this could be about,’ “Cum­mings said this week. “I had about a mil­lion things go­ing through my head: ‘I haven’t been in trou­ble, my grades are good.’ I just started elim­i­nat­ing things and it just came down to ‘Well, I’m prob­a­bly play­ing some­where else this spring.’ “

In­deed he is. The No. 7 re­mains the same, but Cum­mings is roam­ing the Mid­ship­men’s prac­tice fields this spring in a white de­fen­sive jer­sey as an out­side line­backer.

Such is life for many would-be quar­ter­backs at Navy. The pro­gram has the lux­ury of bring­ing in large re­cruit­ing classes, and Cum­mings was one of three quar­ter­backs in his class alone.

One of them, Trey Miller, is en­trenched as Navy’s starter af­ter serv-

bat­tered op­po­nents hither, thither and yon for years with­out get­ting a ti­tle shot. The fault lay not with his skills but with his man­ager, a wheezy old-timer called Sam “The Mum­bler” So­bel who should have been im­mor­tal­ized by Da­mon Run­yon.

Sam would call me three and four times a day un­til I had my num­ber changed. His most fre­quent un­der­stand­able line was, “Heller, I gotta big story, but I can’t talk about it.”

When I be­gan to com­pre­hend more of what The Mum­bler was say­ing, I fig­ured it was time to stop cov­er­ing box­ing.

Foster’s con­tract later passed one way or an­other to Mushky Salow, a veteran man­ager who re­port­edly had mob con­nec­tions. I don’t know if that was true, but Foster soon got his ti­tle fight and knocked cham­pion Dick Tiger half­way back to his na­tive Nige­ria. Later, Foster served many years as sher­iff of Al­bu­querque, N.M., and you can bet his box­ing ca­reer taught him how to rec­og­nize ne­far­i­ous types.

I cov­ered one of Foster’s fights along with a veteran Star re­porter who showed up at ring­side in a silk shirt and white suit. “Bad idea,” I told him.

A few mo­ments into combat, Foster got his op­po­nent in a corner above us and clob­bered him in the chops. Mouth­piece, teeth and blood rained down on us, and pretty soon my col­league’s white suit was a charm­ing claret. I don’t think the guy cov­ered an­other fight.

If Sugar had been there that night, he would have laughed his head off. There wasn’t and isn’t much that’s funny about box­ing, but Bert al­ways found the hu­man­ity. He will be missed.


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