A Phone Call Away

Terps PR Tony Logan and Jets CB Kyle Wilson, best friends and playmakers alike, maintain their longstanding friendship despite the distance.

Ball secured in his forearms; feet squared at the 16-yard line; his team trailing by two. Hesitant at first, but nimble enough to recover, and force a gunner to miss, blindly. Start left; then burst to the right. Gone. Out of sight. Off to the races. Touchdown.

Terps 14, Duke 9 – a lead the team wouldn’t surrender the remainder of the game. An 84-yard punt return set the tone for the Terps victory Saturday, as once again the team was sparked by their return man.

“I wasn’t expecting it all. It looked like there wasn’t going to be anything [on that return], but I knew we needed something to get the team going, and it felt good to get in the end zone again,” Logan said.

With a touchdown in each of the Terps’ past two games, both victories, Logan has cemented his legacy alongside Steve Suter and Bob Smith as the only punt returner to score twice in one season. His 415 return yards already positions him at third-best in a single season; and 564 career yards ranks him fifth all-time. Humbling enough?

“I never would have thought a couple months ago that I’d be able to get to that point,” Logan professed, “but obviously guys busting me with some opportunities and I’m just trying to take advantage of them.”

Logan accredited his punt return unit for their efforts every time they venture onto the field. “We have six receivers out there and we’re like brothers. They take [their jobs] personal.”

But what’s most gratifying is team success. Although a bit cliché, it’s taken to another degree with Logan, whose pure role on the team is to make plays when he can get the ball in his hands. And when he’s successful, so are the Terps.

“Every time I get the ball I try to score,” Logan said. “It’s a big boost for our team. It’s a big momentum play. Hopefully they’ll keep kicking it, and we’ll keep returning it.”

The next day

Sunday afternoon, Logan received a phone call just after the New York Jets defeated the Buffalo Bills. It was his cousin, his best, his role model, of course, on the other side.

“[Kyle Wilson] called me right after his game and said congratulations. He told me he was proud and couldn’t believe I scored again,” Logan said.

Wilson, the former Boise State star and first-round draft choice by the Jets, has maintained a relationship with Logan since the two were children. Wilson emerged as a role model growing up in Piscataway, N.J. The friendship blossomed, according to Logan, because they spent a lot of time together, mostly playing the same sports.

“He’s been a role model for me – somebody to follow,” Logan said. “Obviously he’s done all the right things ever since we were young – good in school, good on the football field, in every sport, in everything he did. I just wanted to be like him. And still, to this day, [I am] following him, in his footsteps, trying to be where he’s at.”

A favorite memory shared by the two began as, “We entered this track meet in Virginia this time one. We had our own team; it was just us two,” It ended with the pair winning the most medals there.

Today, they’re each star athletes on contending teams. Nothing has changed.

Wilson and Logan speak on a regular basis, but usually try to avoid the football babble. Granted, the two will discuss things they saw in each other’s games – what they need to improve, something they saw or commend one another on their performance. For the most part, however, it’s an opportunity for a big brother to check in from 215 miles away.

“I just like to make sure he’s taking care of himself, school-wise and out and about,” Wilson said, embracing his role. “That will translate into football.”

On the field, Logan is making a name for himself, being mentioned in the same conversations with the likes of Suter and Smith. But records are simply the product of the hard work Logan has put forth since spring practices, as well as emulating his big brother.

“He finally got an opportunity to get out there and he’s making the most of it,” Wilson said. “He’s making a lot of plays right now and I’m just looking forward to him keeping it up.”

In 2008, with Broncos, Wilson returned three punts for touchdowns, the most in the nation. But when the two reunite this weekend during Logan’s bye week, Wilson vowed not to rub that in.

Instead, he laughed, and said he would let Logan doing the talking.

Come Saturday, it won’t be a usual game day. No cornerbacks, no wide receivers, no punt returns. It will be clash of titans – Logan versus Wilson, no holds barred, in a classic game of NBA 2K11.

Logan, confident in his abilities, said he’s been waiting for this date since Wilson began trash talking back in Boise.

For Wilson, however, “It will be a chance to hang out a little bit,” but then, “I’m definitely beating him.”

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