“Machine,” in fact, had a real name.
It was a while before I had learned it, though, since Cardinals assistant athletic trainer Jim Shearer never goes by anything but Machine, his nickname that might as well be his given name. He’s been around the Cards for a long, long time, with this past season his 37th on the team’s training staff. He’s a fixture, having been on the field for 745 games since 1974. He’s that guy who plays the crusty veteran, but beneath the thin facade is a good person (I remember him welcoming me to my job here when I transitioned from newspaper beat guy to in-house web reporter).
As for the “official” story on how Machine became Machine (at least as told to me): Bowling on a team in St. Louis with Busch Stadium grounds crew personnel, Shearer was playing so well one night his teammates started saying he was a machine. Anytime they’d stop by the training room, they’d say things like, “Hey, it’s The Machine.” Players would hear, and as Shearer would start taping them quickly and effortlessly for practice or a game, a player would say, “He is a machine.” And the nickname stuck.
The Pro Football Athletic Trainers Society, which holds meetings at the Scouting combine every year, decided to create an award to recognize an assistant trainer in both the AFC and NFC in the name of former NFL executive and long-time NFL trainer Tim Davey, who passed away unexpectedly in 2010.
Machine was the first honoree for the NFC last week in Indianapolis.
“Every organization has people behind the scenes that quietly do their jobs with excellence day after day, year after year,” Cardinals owner Bill Bidwill said in a statement. “Machine is a perfect example of that type of individual and it’s wonderful to see his work is not only recognized here at the Cardinals but by his peers across the National Football League as well.”
I wandered down to the locker room this morning to congratulate Machine and to needle him about not having a quote in the press release. He said media relations staff hadn’t asked. And even if they had asked, he said, he would have told them … well, let’s just say he would have declined.
Tags: Jim Shearer
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