Ryan Lilja has unretired in part to help former teammate Peyton Manning not have the guy snapping Manning the football thrown into his legs. Manning has shown his gratitude in a way that makes him look fairly square.
“He’s got everyone calling me Taylor Hicks,” Lilja said Friday, via Terry Frei of the Denver Post.
Taylor Hicks won one of the early seasons of American Idol, while the show was still relevant and its ratings astronomical. But Hicks, who like Lilja has prematurely gray hair, faded from prominence far more quickly than the sputtering talent show.
Lilja is working to return to NFL prominence, making his debut Friday as the second-string center, snapping the ball to backup Brock Osweiler. The idea is that Lila eventually will become the starter.
“Lot of mistakes, some mental mistakes,” Lilja said of his initial practice. “Some physical mistakes. That’s pretty much how I expected it to go the first day, but it was a lot of fun to get out there.”
One of the problems is that Lilja is, as he admitted, “[n]ot close enough” to being in football shape.
“I have to make that my goal,” Lilja said. “I need to chip away at it. I’ll do that. I just got here. I’m working on it. I don’t even know where the weight room is yet.”
That’s something else he has in common with Taylor Hicks.