Joe Christensen covered Major League Baseball for 15 years, including three seasons at the Baltimore Sun and eight at the Star Tribune, before switching to the college football beat. He’s a Faribault, Minn., native who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1996. He covered Jim Wacker’s Gophers for the Minnesota Daily and also wrote about USC, UCLA and the Rose Bowl for the Riverside Press-Enterprise before getting this chance to cover football again.

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Spaeth reflects on John Mackey

Posted by: Phil Miller under Gophers awards and honors Updated: July 7, 2011 - 3:23 PM

BY CHIP SCOGGINS

Hello everyone. I'm jumping on Phil Miller's blog here to post an item about former Gophers tight end Matt Spaeth, who reflected on the death of Hall of Fame tight end John Mackey.

Spaeth won the Mackey Award in 2006 as college football's top tight end. Spaeth, a free agent who played his first four NFL seasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers, met and spent time with Mackey at the awards ceremony in New York after his senior season with the Gophers.

I talked to Spaeth after his workout at the Gophers football complex on Thursday.

"Man, what an awesome guy and an incredible player," Spaeth said. "I had heard of him but I had never really seen anything on him until I won the award and did some research. I mean, he was just the most incredible player. He was like a man amongst boys. He did everything. He would just run over people. He would run by, around and over everybody."

Here is a story on Mackey's death. Mackey suffered from dementia later in his life and was cared for by his wife Sylvia.

"His wife is just incredible," Spaeth said. "Unfortunately she had to do lot of caretaking with him and different things because of his health. She's just incredible. I've tried to keep in touch a little bit through emails here and there with her. She's an incredible woman."

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