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singersp
07-30-2006, 02:06 PM
Five Years Later (http://story.scout.com/a.z?s=93&p=2&c=550796)

NordicNed
07-30-2006, 02:12 PM
After fives years, it's still hard for me to read stuff like this about Korey's death...

It actually brought a tear to my eye just now.....

He was one of my favorite players and was in the prime of his playing career......God I miss him......

Thanks for all the great moments you gave me Korey.......Rest in Peace.......

singersp
07-30-2006, 02:16 PM
Stringers struggle to move forward

Five years after the Vikings lineman's death, his widow and son try to look to the future while still dealing with the pain of the past.

Kevin Seifert, Star Tribune
Last update: July 30, 2006 – 1:23 AM


ATLANTA - The delivery man knocked on the door, jarring Kelci Stringer in mid-sentence as she chatted in her living room. She jumped up, found four UPS boxes on her porch and flinched ever so slightly after peeking inside: hundreds of condolence cards, retrieved from a forgotten Twin Cities storage lot.

"I hope that this is the last of it," she said quietly.

Five years have passed since her husband, Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman Korey Stringer, died from heatstroke at the team's training camp. Yet even now, his wife and son remain surrounded and constantly reminded of their still-raw pain. Sitting in her tidy home, Kelci Stringer said she has struggled with depression and drinking while searching for ways to establish a legacy for her husband.

She is financially secure, but her bitterness toward the Vikings sounds fresh, stemming from a new round of perceived slights.

They include the termination of her son's health insurance and a judge's order that she pay team court costs.

Although Hennepin County District Judge Gary Larson dismissed her $100 million lawsuit against the Vikings coaches and medical staff, Stringer still insists "somebody dropped the ball" while treating Korey during his final two days. She admits to taking satisfaction in the team's problems since her husband's death.

"The lawsuit was an unfortunate time to go through," said Vikings attorney Jim O'Neal. "It's time for that to be over."

Through it all, Kelci, 32, has found comfort in Kodie, who at 8 bears an uncanny resemblance to his father and bears his personality as well. Kodie speaks often about Korey, saying that "my daddy is dead because he fell down when he was playing football." That interpretation may explain why Kodie refuses to watch NFL games and why he often tries to keep his opponents off the ground while playing little league football.

"Kodie has been my stabilizer these past five years," Kelci said. "Kids have a way of making things better sometimes. But sometimes I feel very, very disheartened. I have this enormous guilt that I've missed my window of opportunity for maintaining Korey's legacy. We've had lawsuits and talked about hydration and supplements and contracts and everything else, but sometimes I think that who Korey was and what he was about has gotten lost in everything."

The 'Gatorade mom'

Water is arranged everywhere in Stringer's red-brick, four-bedroom house in Atlanta's Morningside neighborhood. Bottles line her refrigerator, cases are stacked in her SUV and eight canisters are in the driveway for the family dog, who has his own mini-cooler.

Korey Stringer's death, on Aug. 1, 2001, a day when the heat index was 109 degrees, has turned her into a hydro- obsessed woman. She offers water constantly to guests and is known as the "Gatorade mom" around Kodie's sports teams.

It is just one way she has tried to memorialize her husband, whose body temperature rose to 108.8 degrees after a 2½-hour practice at Mankato. Most efforts, she said, have been frustrating and short-lived.

Stringer has given up on three different books about Korey and his death, but she hopes her fourth attempt will be published. Her Stringer Foundation, set up to help disadvantaged children, is in its second incarnation. She has lived in two different Atlanta neighborhoods, spent a summer in New York and traveled extensively to California over the past five years. She traces her restlessness to the whirlwind months after her husband's death.

"I never went through the normal process of grieving," she said. "It was just one thing after another. As I look back, I was so depressed that I didn't even know I was depressed."

She moved to Atlanta, her hometown, in March 2002, supported by an NFL pension worth about $1.4 million -- including 48 months of health insurance for Kodie -- and her husband's multimillion-dollar savings. For about a year, she said, she spent much of her time in the bathroom -- where she smoked, talked on the phone and drank half a bottle of vodka a night.

Eight weeks of intensive therapy helped her understand and correct a pattern of "self-sabotage," but she still seems conflicted about how to move on from her husband's death without leaving him behind.

"The hardest part is moving forward," she said. "I've thought about just breaking away from Korey altogether, changing my name back to Kelci Jones or Kelci Jones-Stringer. But I want to incorporate Korey into whatever I do because, in all honesty, his death is what catapulted me into a position where I could do something special.

"It's a cycle, and I just keep going around and around. When you look back at this five years, it's why I haven't really accomplished that much. I hate it. I just hate it, hate it, hate it. But I definitely think I'm coming out of the gates now."

Struggles with the NFL

Part of her turmoil stems from the complicated relationship she and her husband had with the NFL. Korey was a kind, unassuming and genuine man, but he did not, Kelci said, carry blind loyalty for the league and was offended by the politics of furthering his career.

Korey Stringer often would tell strangers he was a construction worker, and he once insisted at an autograph signing that his name was Orlando Thomas, the Vikings' free safety at the time. According to his wife, Korey signed Thomas' name for the entire show.

Weight problems dogged Stringer's early career, but he weighed a relatively reasonable 336 pounds when he reported to camp in 2001, and the Vikings' final report on his death implies that he used a now-banned ephedrine diet supplement to lower his weight.

For the first time last week, Kelci Stringer publicly acknowledged that her husband had used the supplement Ripped Fuel, which contained ephedrine. But she said she doesn't know whether he consumed it the day he died. An autopsy and toxicology report showed no evidence of ephedrine use, however. She called the issue "a moot point."

In fact, Stringer considers the Vikings' decision to pursue the supplement angle -- and what she considers a larger pattern of neglect -- as the behavior of a club spurned by a potential member, mostly under ex-owner Red McCombs.

Stringer recalled a Vikings' invitation to a game at the Metrodome in 2002. She accepted, sat with wives of Korey's former teammates, then was later billed, she said, for the tickets.

She said she has asked for the helmet and uniform Korey wore the day he collapsed. The team sent her a helmet, she said, but it was not his, and it never gave her the uniform.

Stringer also sounds livid about Larson's order in 2003 to pay the Vikings $47,588, covering part of the team's court costs from her lawsuit. O'Neal said the team has not forgiven the debt, but has not attempted to collect.

Finally, she says, she wishes the Vikings or NFL would have found a way to permanently memorialize her husband, other than retiring his No. 77 jersey, and she contends that someone could have stepped up to pay Kodie's $790 monthly health insurance bill when the 48-month term expired.

O'Neal said he did not know the details of the issues raised by Kelci Stringer.

"It's like they think he [Korey] caused his own death because of recklessness," said Stringer, who has since filed a $100 million suit against the NFL and Riddell, a helmet manufacturer, in federal court in Ohio. That case is pending.

A reflection of his father

A case of diet milkshakes rests on the counter of the Stringer home, prescribed by Kodie's pediatrician, alarmed by the boy's 135-pound frame.

Kodie is Korey's son in nearly every way. During a 10-minute conversation last week, he spouted plot lines from at least 15 movies. He hummed and talked to himself around the house, reminiscent of his father's near-constant monologues.

Kelci also recently caught Kodie twisting his hair as if to create dreadlocks.

"I asked him, 'Why are you doing that?' " she said. "He told me, 'I don't know. I guess because Dad always did it.' "

Indeed, reporters approaching Stringer after games could find him sitting on a stool, twisting his braids as he considered the day's events. Kodie remembers that and much more about his father: birthday parties at their home in Eden Prairie, a trip to Northwest Fitness Center to watch his dad and the man he calls "Uncle Randy" -- as in Moss -- play basketball.

The most jarring comparison came last week on a practice field, where Kodie and his fellow Knights were practicing. Kodie played right tackle, his father's position, in 2004 and 2005, but his coach has moved him to left tackle.

Like his father, Kodie has a complicated relationship with football. He appears to enjoy playing, especially getting into his stance, an act that transforms his kind face into a warrior's grimace. Yet he has refused, sometimes belligerently, to watch NFL games on TV, choosing to stare at the ceiling rather than the television.

"It's like punishment for him," Kelci Stringer said. "It's just bizarre."

But after watching her son repeatedly hold his opponents up during games, she theorized that he was protecting them -- and himself -- from his father's fate.

That deportment has faded a bit, and during practice last week he flattened three boys during a one-on-one drill. But his grandfather Harold Jones still sees plenty of Korey's gentle presence in the child.

"He's a lot like his dad, just real laid-back on the field," Jones said. "We're trying to get him to be more aggressive on the field, but if that's not him, it's not him. We won't force it."

As Kodie practices, his mother watches quietly.

"There is so much Korey could be helping him with," she said, "and I think Korey really would have benefited from seeing another version of himself on the field. I think that's the hardest thing, is watching Kodie and wondering what Korey would think."

Like boxes on a porch, the memories will continue to arrive.

Kevin Seifert • 612-673-4793

PHOTOS OF THE FAMILY

For a look at the Stringers now, go to http://www.startribune.com/10001/gallery/579579.html

Stringers struggle to move forward (http://www.startribune.com/510/story/582637.html)

FedjeViking
07-30-2006, 02:18 PM
Hey singer I already added this link in the 'heat' (http://purplepride.org/index.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&p=441090#441090) thread. I thought it pertained to the subject there. :lol:

Guess I'll wait and see what (if anything) you miss! :lol:

singersp
07-30-2006, 02:26 PM
"FedjeViking" wrote:

Hey singer I already added this link in the 'heat' (http://purplepride.org/index.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&p=441090#441090) thread. I thought it pertained to the subject there. :lol:

Guess I'll wait and see what (if anything) you miss! :lol:

Hey Fedje! Why did you post it there when this thread already existed? :lol:

I created both threads & if I felt it should have been there, that's where I would have put it. :wink:

Remembering Korey deserves a thread of it's own as you can see by the 2nd article. :wink:

FedjeViking
07-30-2006, 02:41 PM
"singersp" wrote:

"FedjeViking" wrote:

Hey singer I already added this link in the 'heat' (http://purplepride.org/index.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&p=441090#441090) thread. I thought it pertained to the subject there. :lol:

Guess I'll wait and see what (if anything) you miss! :lol:

Hey Fedje! Why did you post it there when this thread already existed? :lol:

I created both threads & if I felt it should have been there, that's where I would have put it. :wink:

Remembering Korey deserves a thread of it's own as you can see by the 2nd article. :wink:


I give up for now! :lol: See above quote! :lol:

singersp
07-30-2006, 02:47 PM
I always wear my Korey Stringer jersey to the Vikings 1st home pre-season game. It's been a tradition for me.

NodakPaul
07-30-2006, 02:49 PM
Part of me is always saddened when I think of Korey. And part of me is both saddened and angered when I hear anything about Kelci. She will never be able to get past Korey's death until she accepts it. And she won't be able to accept it while she is still insistent on blaming somebody for it...

AngloVike
07-30-2006, 08:01 PM
"singersp" wrote:

I always wear my Korey Stringer jersey to the Vikings 1st home pre-season game. It's been a tradition for me.

and I always take time on the 1st August to remember Korey - I always give thanks for my birthday being that day and also make sure to say something for Korey.

PurplePackerEater
07-30-2006, 08:06 PM
I can't believe it's been 5 years already, wow.



R.I.P. Korey.

ultravikingfan
07-30-2006, 08:08 PM
"PurplePackerEater" wrote:

I can't believe it's been 5 years already, wow.



R.I.P. Korey.

No kidding. Seemed like 3 years ago.

FedjeViking
07-30-2006, 09:37 PM
"ultravikingfan" wrote:

"PurplePackerEater" wrote:

I can't believe it's been 5 years already, wow.



R.I.P. Korey.

No kidding. Seemed like 3 years ago.

5 yrs.? Can't be, it was the year before last, wasn't it? Dang I'm getting old!

marcosMN
07-30-2006, 09:48 PM
R.I.P., K-String! We miss ya!

Vikes_King
07-31-2006, 12:58 AM
this part of the first article i hadnt actually seen on TV at the time..

Shortly after midnight that evening, the worst-case scenario came true. Korey Stringer was dead. The following day, Dennis Green and some selected players addressed the media. Green, a typically stoic public speaker, fought back tears. Cris Carter wept openly. Randy Moss, who had recently signed a megabuck contract and was viewed as a team leader, collapsed in grief at the podium over his best friend on the team.

that would have been something to see.. at the time i was young and didnt watch the vikes as closely.. would have brought a lot more reality to the situation seeing how badly it impacted these men

R.I.P. Korey, you havnt and won't be forgotten by the true viking fans

MensaTice
07-31-2006, 03:53 AM
I have a lot of sympathy for Mrs. Stringer for losing her husband and father of her son but its hard to support her actions. I hope I don't sound callous because her story is a sad one and a tragedy that touched a lot of people. I agree with NodakP that it may help her to try to lose her anger and I hope she does something positive with his name.

One thing that stuck out to me is that she never paid the money that the judged ordered her to pay for court costs. Its ironic that she went there seeking money from them and would have accepted it, but when the same person who she hoped would award her with cash decreed that she pay, she ignored it. I don't have any ill-will toward her but it bothers me because her inaction says to me that she sees the courts as a means of personal gain but won't own up when it doesn't go her way. I'm glad the to see the Vikings aren't collecting.

DarrinNelsonguy
07-31-2006, 03:57 AM
I was a really big Stringer fan and there isn't a month that goes by the Mike Morris (former long snapper) on his morning show doesn't reference a Stringer comedy routine that took place. Stringer was the soul of the team and made everyone laugh and eased the tension in the locker room. Stringers favorite movie was Dumb and Dumber and Morris said he could recite every line of the movie.

We miss you big String and its terrible that he isn't around to see his young family grow old!

Vikes_King
07-31-2006, 03:57 AM
yeah, i dont support her actions either, she just wanted as much as she could from his death, as much as i feel for her, the way she handled it is wrong

you damn well that the vikings will take care of her with out having to sue over it

and sueing Riddel now? come on

BadlandsVikings
07-31-2006, 04:01 AM
"NodakPaul" wrote:

Part of me is always saddened when I think of Korey. And part of me is both saddened and angered when I hear anything about Kelci. She will never be able to get past Korey's death until she accepts it. And she won't be able to accept it while she is still insistent on blaming somebody for it...

It takes a long time for people to get over a loved ones death, and sometimes they never do.

It doesn't seem like it could be 5 years, I remeber it like it was yesterday.
R.I.P #77