Mt. Laurel, NJ (Vocus) April 23, 2010
Ken Dunek, a hulking farm boy who created the roster of a Super Bowl team with no credentials and scant encounter, captures the perform and play of celebrity athletes in a initial-person book crammed with one-of-a-kind sports memories and moments.
?When I?ve told pals about the intriguing characters I?ve met for the duration of my life, they?ve said I really should write a book,'' stated Dunek. ''So I did.? (A surprisingly very good one, says his former coach, Dick Vermeil)
''An Improbable Journey'' particulars Dunek?s odyssey via life as an NFL and USFL champion and as a Forrest Gump-like magnet for the jocks and entertainers he has encountered, chummed with and observed in his post-pro travels.
Dunek recalls being the cash-low fourth in a round of golf with millionaires, including NBA legend Julius Erving. Ken?s playing partner neglected to tell him how significantly they had been playing for. So, at the finish of the match when Erving forked over numerous significant, crisp bills, he just stood there in shock and reluctantly accepted the winnings.
Dunek describes his function as a blocking dummy for the duration of a one particular-on-a single practice session with Hall of Fame member Lawrence Taylor. And he recalls becoming publicly put down by insult comic Don Rickles, kicking back with Hall and Oates, and choosing a fight (by proxy) with Michael Jordan.
Page immediately after page, in dozens of up-close celebrity vignettes, the author reveals the kindness and quirks of household names. Plus, there are touching moments like the childhood memory of helping NFL icon Vince Lombardi find the locker room at Wrigley Field.
And dramatic moments: Ken explains the bedrock help his network of family members and buddies offered immediately after Alexandra, a single of his triplets, was diagnosed with life-threatening cancer at 1 year old. And how that exact same network sprung into action years later when his wife, Terri, sustained life-threatening head injuries from a automobile accident.
Super Bowl Champion Coach Dick Vermeil wrote the foreword to ''An Improbable Journey,'' praising the ''raw talent, backed by passion and intelligence'' he saw in Dunek. The Vermeil/Dunek friendship is something the former player discusses throughout his motivational speaking engagements.
From the rostrum, Dunek describes getting a cost-free agent at the 1980 Philadelphia Eagles coaching camp field. Incredibly ill with the flu, he bumped into Vermeil as they were each heading to the practice field. ''You?re sick back in the trainer?s space,'' barked Vermeil. Dunek continued to the field and croaked, ''Everybody?s gotta die someplace, Coach. This is as very good as any.'' From the respect in Vermeil?s eyes, Dunek knew he had created the team as backup tight end.
Vermeil says he knew Dunek was talented athlete, but, ''What I didn?t realize was that he had this great potential to write.''
For his component, the former player writes glowingly about Vermeil, not as a football coach, but as a friend who was in continuous contact with Dunek even though Terri battled for her life following the auto accident.
Dunek attended Memphis State University on a basketball scholarship. He in no way played organized football until his third year in college when a football coach spotted him playing pigskin catch. He signed as a free agent with the Eagles in 1980 and was a team member (injured) for the 1980 Super Bowl. He then played the 1983-85 championship seasons with the Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars of the now-defunct United States Football League.
''An Improbable Journey'' can be bought at kendunekbook.com.