Rick Patrick:Greene Publishing, Inc.
For Madison County High School (MCHS) graduate and former Cowboy football star, Ironhead Gallon, the past month has been a “dream come true.” Gallon has been playing football with the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL). Gallon recently took time from his busy schedule in Arizona to sit down and talk with Greene Publishing, Inc. When asked about his first NFL game on Thursday, Aug. 3, his response was what one might expect. “Oh man, that was just like a dream come true. [It was] just a blessing,” said Gallon. That dream-like feeling faded quickly, and it was down to business – playing football. “At the end of the day, it's just playing football; the game you've been playing since you were little.”
Playing football is something Gallon has done very well since he was a youngster and later as a MCHS Cowboy, then at Georgia Southern University. “[We] could tell when he [Gallon] was little that he would make it big [playing football],” said Rod Irvine, paraprofessional at MCHS, and play-by-play announcer at Boot Hill Stadium. Gallon has continued to make the most of his opportunity with the Cardinals. So far, he is leading the team in tackles, with 15 total tackles, 10 of which were solo tackles. He has seen significant playing action during the NFL pre-season, which began on Thursday, Aug 3.
On Saturday, Sept. 2, all NFL teams must trim their rosters from 90 players to 53. The Cardinals' regular season begins on Sunday, Sept. 10, against the Detroit Lions.
The pressure to perform at every moment is part of the game at the NFL level. It can be a challenge for young players to balance working within a team system and making an impression and competing for a job. Gallon seems to take that pressure in stride. “[Football] is meant to be fun,” said Gallon. “I'm used to having to compete for playing time. You just do what you can do. [You] just give it your all.” Gallon says he has pretty well learned the playbook and has been concentrating on the more technical aspects of the game. “[There's] always room for improvement.” Currently, Gallon is listed as the third strong safety on the Cardinals' depth chart, behind veterans Antoine Bethea and Tyvon Branch. Branch and Bethea have 11 and 10 years experience in the league, respectively. Considering the relatively short career span of NFL players, both Bethea and Branch could be considered to be on the downside of their careers. This could be a factor in determining Gallon's future with the Cardinals.
Before hanging up the phone, Gallon said he wanted to give a “shout out” to the MCHS Cowboys. Even though he has found himself in the desert of Arizona, he still has the heart of a Cowboy.