One Of A Kind

Darren Woodson.  

It didn't matter to John. He liked you before he even met you. And then once he did, he was your friend. No questions asked.  

As my friendship grew with John, we began to have some lengthy talks. One season I would often try to switch seats with someone on the plane, or make a point to sit by him on the long bus roads either to or from the stadium or the airport. Just a 15- or 20-minute conversation with John made you feel smarter.  

Although, I'm not sure how because he usually did most of the listening. He might have been the best listener I've ever met.  

I stopped going to the pre-game chapels as much over the next few years, trying to stay out of the team-related functions. But I still made sure I stayed in contact with John. Better yet, he made sure he stayed in contact with me.  

Every time I saw him over the last few years, he not only would ask about my family and me, but would offer up words of encouragement pertaining to my job and career. He wasn't the kind of person who felt obligated to tell you what he thought you wanted to hear.  

Instead, you honestly felt that everything he said was sincere and genuine, and most importantly, he made you a believer, too. Talk about a confident boost. Imagine someone you respect as much as anyone, come up to tell and you how talented you are.  

But that was John, consistently.  

While I did see him briefly this week in the hallways of Valley Ranch where he held weekly chapels and bible studies for the players and staff during the week, my last real encounter was on our last road trip, coming back home from that emotional win in Buffalo.  

John and I both had aisle seats, though he was one row back and across the aisle.  

On the way back, just before takeoff, he noticed I was looking for a plug-in for my computer so I could write about that unbelievable game.  

His row, which happened to be one of the popular exit-rows with extra leg room, had an electric plug under his seat, while mine did not.  

Without me having to ask, John approached me and offered up his seat. Usually, I wouldn't have accepted. But with a long flight ahead of us, assuring myself of not running out of battery power was too much to pass up. And the chance to stretch out a little didn't hurt either. So I made the switch.  

Again, that was John.  

Who knew, certainly not me, that it would be his last flight on a Cowboys charter?  

So it just won't be the same Saturday when we board that plane without him. It won't be the same when he's not there on the sidelines Sunday night in Philadelphia.  

And without a doubt, it won't be the same when the team holds chapel a few hours earlier.  

Whether it's his family who had the pleasure to visit with him every day, the players who listened to him on a weekly basis, if not more, or someone who just saw him occasionally, John Weber will most definitely be missed.  

John, you're a one of kind. Just know there are so many people hurting right now because you've left behind a lot of friends.  

I'm just thankful, honored and privileged to say that I am one of them.        

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