Newell Announces Retirement - Ends Magnificent Career
October 14 - Sunday was a remorseful day at Corklestick Park as one of the all-time greats called it a career. Kirby Newell announced his retirement from Cork Bowl after 6 remarkable seasons. "I'm officially retiring from Cork Bowl," remarked an emotional Newell in a Sunday afternoon press conference. "No more comebacks. It's just gotten to the point where my health can no longer handle the punishment. However, like all great players I will be moving to the booth so that I can stay a part of the game."
A broken ankle kept him out of last year's game, but he had plans of making a comeback this year until a freak accident left him with a fractured femur that required surgery and a steel rod being placed in his leg. "Certainly we are saddened by this news, but we knew it was coming," stated Commissioner Patrick Cork. "He's been through a lot of physical problems throughout his career like Gangrene, stubbed toes, hangnails, infected hairs, hernias, and much more, but he's always bounced back. I guess the league just expected him to do it again. Maybe he isn't Superman after all."
Newell's career, however, was nothing less than Superman-esque. He made his debut in Cork Bowl 4 and proceeded to lead his team to wins in his first three Cork Bowls. That streak came to an end in Cork Bowl 8 despite a record-setting day. Newell punished defenders all day and caught a Cork Bowl record 24 passes, scored 5 touchdowns, tallied 7 tackles and had two interceptions - returning one of them for a touchdown. Although Newell finished with just a 3-3 record in Cork Bowls, his career was marked with outstanding numbers. He is ranked second on the all-time receptions list with 83 and scored 29 touchdowns in just 6 seasons. Defensively, he recorded 57 tackles and had 8 interceptions - returning two of them for touchdowns.
Newell was a new wave of Cork Bowler using his size and strength to punish defenders. He broke the mold of small, quick receivers and turned many dump-off passes into long touchdowns. Always a sure tackler, Newell became fierce rivals with Chris Cork as the two matched up for several years. "I've never enjoyed intimidating someone who was that good before," replied Chris. "I don't think anyone should wear the #2 jersey again. It should only be worn by a player who is worthy, and since I don't want to wear it, nobody should." A pregame ceremony is scheduled to take place before kickoff to retire Newell's famed "Flat Rock 2" jersey.
As he mentioned in his press conference, Newell was signed to a long term deal by CBBN (Cork Bowl Broadcasting Network) as a color commentator. He had been issued a one-year contract last fall for Cork Bowl 10, but now can be assured of being in the booth for at least four more years with his new contract. He will join fellow-retiree Tony Cork on the mike. "It was a no-brainer," added Commissioner Cork. "Cork Bowl fans love him. He's provided more memories than most of the players combined. Who can forget him fighting off that life-threatening back injury in Turkey Bowl, or the windshield wiper dance in Cork Bowl 5? He personified everything this game is about. He was great in the booth last year, and we're fortunate to have him back there this year."
Cork Bowl XI will be played on Saturday, December 15th at Corklestick Park at approximately 11:00 a.m.
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Career Cork Bowl stats from 1992-2000 (**updated 11-25-00)