ESPN's NFL insider Chris Mortensen doesn't need a formal introduction to ULM. The reporter and analyst is keenly aware of all the football players who entered the NFL from Monroe - Bubby Brister, Stan Humphries, Marty Booker, Chris Harris and Kevin Payne to name a few.
"When you cover the NFL, you know that Louisiana is fertile ground for football players, period," Mortensen told WarhawkNation.com while attending the Manning Passing Academy. "Naturally, that's going to migrate to the NFL."
Humphries, the tough quarterback who led the San Diego Chargers to a Super Bowl, is a prime example. The Shreveport native helped the former Northeast Louisiana University win the I-AA national championship before entering the NFL as a Washington Redskins draft pick.
"I'll never forget Stan Humphries coming into the league," Mortensen said. "There was always early word that (the Redskins) might have found somebody special. I remember thinking, 'I'll have to watch him.' He went on to have a heck of a career."
Mortensen said Louisiana guys like Humphries are known for their toughness.
"It's almost like part of their DNA," Mortensen said. "They get that part of it. You can't play quarterback or any position in the NFL without having that quality."
Mortensen calls another ULM product - former receiver and legendary strength coach Al Miller - a close friend.
"Al Miller, who lives in Monroe, is a Hall-of-Fame strength coach," Mortensen said. "In my opinion, he's one of the two or three best strength coaches ever. He was Bear Bryant's first-ever strength coach. He went into the NFL, went to Super Bowls.
"He's one of the best men I've ever met. We remain close friends to this day."
Miller -- who helped build Super Bowl teams with the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons -- trained Mortensen's son Alex, a rookie quarterback who is on the Titans' roster.
Warhawk Nation beat writer Paul Letlow interviews Chris Mortenson
"He spent a lot of time with my son," Mortensen said. "My son is in Tennessee Titans' camp right now. I can tell you that would not have been possible if Al had not taken him under his wing a little bit."
Through his friendship with Miller, Mortensen will participate in a fund-raising clinic in Monroe to benefit ULM's L-Club in February of 2010. The L-Club is the association for former ULM student athletes.
In addition to Mortensen, the list of featured speakers and guests will include former NFL coach Dan Reeves, Neville product and New Orleans Saints defensive line coach Bill Johnson, former NFL player Billy "White Shoes" Johnson, Ronnie Hill, vice president of football operations for the NFL and former major league pitcher Darren Holmes. Hall-of-fame strength coaches Barry Rubin of Neville and Johnny Parker are also on the card.
The two-day clinic on the ULM campus will be for coaches and trainers of all levels on Feb 19-20. Cost is $150, Miller said. Contact the L-Club for more information.