Well, well, well. Look who's back in the NFL, and with the Miami Dolphins.
About a month ago, Lake Central grad and former Nebraska All-American Jared Tomich met with Bill Parcells, vice president of football operations. They talked business and shared a laugh or two.
"I said: 'Hey, you guys aren't looking for anybody, are ya?' I just got the eye roll and kinda left it like that," Tomich chuckled.
Actually, the Schererville native and his close friend Michael Storms have joined the Dolphins as martial arts coaches. Both men first met during Tomich's 1997 NFL rookie season with the Saints.
Evan Marcus was the Saints' assistant strength and conditioning coach then and now holds the top position with Miami. So when Marcus called about this unique coaching opportunity, Tomich and Storms -- a New Orleans martial arts instructor and eighth-degree black belt -- were on it like a goal-line fumble.
Twice a week, the Dolphins fly the pair to the team's training facility to conduct workouts.
"We work on their hand quickness and teach 'em some pretty good drills that change how they think about using their hands on the football field," Tomich said. "When I've got guys like Jason Taylor and Joey Porter jumping up and excited to learn the stuff, then I know that I'm doing the right thing.
"It's mainly hand placement, teaching escapes and teaching hand efficiency while being able to use their feet at the same time. A lot of times, you see players, especially linemen, come off the ball, and the first thing they do is grab each other and nobody goes anywhere."
Tomich stresses that football isn't a push game, but rather "striking" opposing players' hands down and getting by them. That holds true on both sides of the ball, even skill positions.
"We have different drills for every position -- teaching running backs how to take on linemen, teaching linebackers how to shed offensive linemen, teaching DBs and wide receivers how to knock their guys' hands down and get around them," said Tomich, who is a second-degree black belt in Okinawan karate.
"It wasn't martial arts for the sake of martial arts when I started. I was trying to do something to improve my game and it helped me tremendously. Miami's players have taken our program and implemented what we do into their everyday practices, which has been a huge testament to us. Not only are they doing the stuff when we're there, but when we're not there. The coaches think that much of it."
Miami assistants were not allowed to be interviewed for this story on orders from Parcells, but Nebraska coaches have contacted Tomich and invited him to teach the same program to their players in Lincoln.
Tomich said he and Storms may work through Miami's preseason games as well.
"It's a lot of fun being back in the mix of the NFL; back in the locker room and seeing guys I played against and with," he said. "If only I was 10 years younger."