Rutgers QB Mike Teels remembers 9/11 and dad Print
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Monday, 08 September 2008 13:29
NCAAF Headline News

 PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) -Mention Sept. 11 to Rutgers quarterback Mike Teel, and he doesn't talk about a game on Thursday night against North Carolina.
For Teel, the date brings back memories of 2001 and the greatest fear he's ever felt in his life.
Teel was taking 10th grade economics at Don Bosco High School in Ramsey when terrorists crashed two jetliners into the World Trade Center, killing more than 2,700 people.
The Twin Towers site was the headquarters for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the bistate agency that runs the area's bridges, tunnels, airports, buses terminals and shipping ports.
Teel's father, Mike Sr., is a police officer and accident investigator with the agency.
For 12 hours, Mike Teel didn't know whether his father was alive or dead.
``The phones, you couldn't get a hold of anyone,'' the Rutgers senior said. ``I couldn't get him at the office.''
It wasn't until about 8 p.m. that Mike Teel Sr. called home and let everyone know he was OK.
the younger Teel said. ``It was probably the most scared I have ever been in my life, for my father, for someone in my family.''
The older Teel had called home earlier in the morning to tell his wife, Debbie, that he had to work overtime. What he didn't say was that he was going to the George Washington Bridge to investigate an early-morning accident.
Mike Teel Sr. saw both jetliners crash into the towers, finished his investigation and hurried to the crash site. The towers collapsed before he got there. Thirty-seven of his fellow Port Authority police officers were killed.
``Had he been down there, he would have been like a lot of his friends and not made it out of there,'' said Mike Teel, adding he knew about 15 or 20 of his father's friends.
Teel said his father doesn't talk about the day much.
``For him, I think it was a lot harder than he wanted anyone in the family to know,'' the quarterback said. ``I remember a rough night for him. You can't say anything to change it. You can't do anything to feel make it feel better when you lose someone that you went through the academy with and someone you have known since you were 25, 24-years old. Then you find out he died. It's something you can't change.''
Coach Greg Schiano has not talked to Rutgers (0-1) about the significance of playing on 9/11, but he will in the next day or two.
e, which a lot of players do, everybody has their own personal memories and their own personal tragedies that occurred during 9/11,'' Schiano said.
Rutgers plans to hold ceremonies to commemorate the 9/11 anniversary.
``It will be an emotional day and a good way to remember these people because we are playing in the New York media (area) on 9/11,'' Teel said.
Having North Carolina (1-0) here for the game also is important for Teel. When he took over as Rutgers full-time starting quarterback in 2006, his first start was against the Tar Heels.
Ironically, he developed a fever and a stomach virus on the way to the game and needed to have liquids pushed into his body the night before the game. He hit 14 of 20 passes the next day for 145 yards.
Teel was disappointing in the season-opening loss to Fresno State on Labor Day, hitting 20 of 39 passes for 263 yards and two interceptions. He believes he left 21 points on the field in a scoreless first half with three bad passes.
``I have been over eager in practice,'' Teel said. ``When I throw a bad ball I have been too hard on myself. I let it carry over to the next play. I talked to coach and that's something I know I can't do. I have been here long enough. My team is depending on me and that's something I need to do for my team.''
It would be a nice memory seven years after one of his worst.
 

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