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NFL Great Dan Marino Tries To Help

Give Hall of Fame Miami Dolphins Quarterback Dan Marino, one of the most accomplished National Football League quarterbacks of all time, some credit for trying to help both of Great Neck’s football teams.


In a meeting last Friday, arranged by the Great Neck  Record, Marino spoke with all three varsity quarterbacks from Great Neck North and Great Neck South and gave them some personal tips and encouragement. Unfortunately, Marino’s expertise, advice and inspiration weren’t quite enough to help either team win the next day on the field in their Nassau V games. 


North quarterback Brian Kahen’s 60-yard touchdown pass to Rom Cohen and Kahen’s two-yard run were highlights in the 21-14 Blazer loss to Jericho on Saturday. It was North’s first defeat in three games this year.


South’s quarterback, Ben Lee threw two touchdown passes in a 55-28 Saturday loss to Port Washington.  Lee’s passing TDs were his first of year, but the Rebels have yet to win in their first three games.  Lee completed scoring passes of 4 and 28 yards to Andrew Cohen. Lee also ran in a two-point conversion and passed for another conversion to Eitan Agagi.


Kahen, a 5-8 senior, Lee, a 5-10 junior and North’s backup quarterback, 5-9 junior Tyler Weiss, and Lee, who’s a 5-10 junior, met with the 6-4 Marino who was visiting Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza at 420 Northern Boulevard. Marino, a partner in the 40-restaurant chain, appeared as part of Anthony’s grand opening. Anthony’s manager Angela DeLeonardis, a Port Washington resident, help coordinate the meeting between the Great Neck athletes and Marino.


Amid the crush of TV and news reporters and fans wearing Marino replica jerseys, the former Dolphins star and current CBS NFL Today commentator was gracious and patient as the three players asked him for advice, his opinions and autographs. Marino held off others in the crowd who were seeking attention, autographs and pictures to speak with the boys first.


The first question in the conversation actually came from Marino who asked, “How are you boys doing so far this year?” When they answered, he replied, “At least you’re doing better than the Giants are,” referring to the Giants’ poor start this year in the NFL.


Each of the boys was asked beforehand to come prepared with one question as it was anticipated that Marino would have very little time, if any, to have a discussion. Not only did Marino, whose career spanned 17 seasons, over 61,000 yards passing (420 TDs), a Super Bowl appearance and election to the Hall of Fame in 2005, answer their questions, but he also diagrammed a play for them.


“He was very nice,” said North’s Kahen. “I asked him if he could diagram a play that would help us beat a ‘cover 2’ defense. “ With the marking pen that Marino had just used to autograph a football for Kahen and his teammates, Marino drew it on a paper from Kahen’s folder and explained it to all three quarterbacks. 


“He drew up a great play,” Kahen, who also plays linebacker, continued. “He told us that it beats all ‘cover 2’ defenses.  It beats the safeties and beats the linebackers.”


Weiss, who plays tight end in addition to backing up Kahen, asked Marino, “What’s your best quarterback drill? “ Marino answered that jumping rope was the best and said that it put him in shape and helped with his agility.


In commenting on the meeting, Lee said, “It was really great to meet and talk to someone who was one of the best of all time.”


This Saturday, Great Neck’s teams switch opponents. South hosts Jericho at 3 p.m. and North hosts Port Washington, also at 3 p.m.  The following Saturday (Oct. 12), North meets South at South at 1:30 p.m.