The Butte Tough persona of this community is being carried to the world stage these days and those being tested keep answering the bell.
Colt Anderson, Rob Johnson and Bryon Wilson are going through another round of heavy lifting within the inner strengths.
Anderson, a Butte native, former Butte High sports star and recent University of Montana football standout, looks to have mended well and fast, recovering from torn ACL repair following the crucial injury to the knee last December. He has become, again, a consistent leader on Philadelphia Eagles special teams in the NFL. His missed one game with a short-term injury a couple of weeks ago and his absence was noticeable, particularly on kickoff teams when the opponent found range to roam rather than being hemmed in or hammered early — like happens when Anderson is on the field.
Last week, he saw quite a bit of strong safety duty in the second half after an injury to a teammate. He was an eager contributor and could see more action on regular defense depending on what else is going on in Philadelphia.
The Eagles fired defensive coordinator Juan Castillo last week and it remains to see how the move affects Anderson and the other players on the squad. Also, it is being rumored that 15-year head coach Andy Reid is seriously contemplating hanging it up after this season. The move is not expected to be permanent, but that Reid may seek some quieter time after having to deal with personal tragedy and intensifying job pressures this season.
Johnson, a Butte Central grad, will most likely be playing for his fourth Major League Baseball organization in four years when the next season arrives. No movement, officially, on the subject is expected until after the coming World Series, but the 30-year-old catcher did opt for free agency from the New York Mets in a decision told last week.
Johnson is healing a torn thumb ligament he suffered in early September. The Mets removed him from their 40-man roster and placed Johnson on waivers, which he cleared. Given the choice at free agency, or demotion to the Mets’ minor league roster, Johnson opted to become a free agent. The Mets hadn’t completely given up on him as Johnson’s stats were the better of four catchers the team used last summer. Johnson hit .250 for New York in limited play having spent a good part of the season with the minor league Buffalo Bisons. The catcher the Mets ultimately traded for to be their No. 1 near season’s end, Kelly Shoppach, one of the Red Sox then dispatched from Boston, didn’t seem to work out as well as the Mets had expected. Two prospects they’d brought through the ranks for the position have been slow to develop, probably putting the team in trade mode, or looking for a big-name, a frontliner to acquire to fill the need.
Johnson has overcome several injuries in his baseball career and fate now looks to be dictating he show off his resiliency again.
By Christmas, Butte and the rest of Southwestern Montana should know where to send his fan mail.
Bryon Wilson, a 2006 Butte High graduate, seems to be over his own ACL tear and surgery. The 2010 Winter Olympics Bronze Medalist in freestyle skiing, men’s moguls, is readying to represent the United States on the nearing World Cup circuit and has been impressive in practice.
It was announced last week that Deer Valley Results of Utah has extended a sponsorship agreement with Wilson to help cover his expenses,
While the deal was being negotiated, Deer Valley Resorts also decided to add Brad Wilson to the fold. Brad Wilson, 20, graduated from Butte Central in 2011 and earned rookie-of-the-year honors on the 2011-2012 World Cup campaign. So, the Wilson brothers are primed to compete hard against each other this season and the outcome should be to Team USA’s benefit.
Anderson, Johnson and Bryon Wilson have all battled, or are battling, serious injuries to remain as participants at the highest levels of their chosen sports. Still, none has shown he wants to give it up, come home and wonder about what-if.
It’s a determination and toughness to be admired and recognized, but we wouldn’t expect any less.