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Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz has 143 wins under his belt at the University of Iowa, one away from the all-time record.

The Gazette will count down each win, as ranked by writer Marc Morehouse.


Woodshed, IA 52242

Iowa 55, No. 6 Ohio State 24 | Nov. 4, 2017

Iowa defensive back Jake Gervase (30), defensive lineman Nathan Bazata (99) and linebacker Josey Jewell (43) take down O
Iowa defensive back Jake Gervase (30), defensive lineman Nathan Bazata (99) and linebacker Josey Jewell (43) take down Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

Three cool things:

1. In 2016, when the Hawkeyes knocked off Michigan — a loss that still is ricocheting in the Wolverines’ heads — Josey Jewell gave the thought of the day when he said in the postgame that he told QB C.J. Beathard to give the defense 14 points.

For 2017’s massive upset victory at Kinnick Stadium and ensuing rush to the field with 70,000 fans, Jewell had an even better line.

You see the field rush. Those things are human car washes. For this one, I got locked into traffic. Dreams of missing the postgame started to attack my brain. Those are real, those are real. So, during this one, I’m pretty sure I had a panic attack, passed out and woke up just in time for the scrum to spit me out near the tunnel.

I made it. I think.

You hear the stories of the players in these things. It takes them a half-hour to get to the tunnel. It’s really not an easy thing. It really is a crush.

So, before this one, Jewell got the family together and came up with a plan.

Of course, the plan would’ve gone unstated and meaningless had the Hawkeyes lost. So, imagine the giggles among family members when discussing where they’d meet if the Hawkeyes were audacious enough to win this one, to beat Urban Meyer and the No. 6 Buckeyes.

Iowa hadn’t beaten Ohio State since 2004. No, the schools don’t play every year. You could argue these games are more important to Iowa because of that. Ohio State is going to get the chance to show it’s great every year. Even when Iowa was great in 2015 (a great team), it didn’t play Ohio State and that was asterisk-y. It just is. That’s the Big Ten in a lot of 50-plus upper Midwesterners’ minds (by that, I mean “us”).

Postgames with the Hawkeyes are difficult. There’s no room in what serves as the postgame interview room. There was no room before 2016 and then last year, the UI put a giant table in the middle of the room. I complained and I got a “Well, I guess we won’t have recruits then.” I shared a laugh with that gent and agreed, it’s probably time I stop complaining about cold ice cream. No, Iowa. You need recruits.

That said, it’s not easy. And if you want anything semi-exclusive, you have to be really, really lucky or sneaky. I’m a doofus and incapable of fostering either trait.

Another factor here: The impossible just happened. If you think I know what I’m going to write after watching impossible, I’m sorry. I’m just not that together. My eyes are wide open all the way through the postgame. That whole thing tells the story as well as what we all saw on the field.

Also another thing about Iowa’s postgame, Kirk Ferentz talks while the players are talking. The timing on this has gotten better through the years. Iowa’s SID staff does a great job of letting everyone know when Ferentz starts his deal. Also, the SIDs have started bringing players who really factored in the game to the podium. It’s a shorter interview session, but it’s almost more organized (i.e., I’m not going to get hit in the temple with a TV camera battery).

Ferentz did his thing. After that, usually the party is over. Not this time. The players were still hanging around. They wanted to chat about this one. Hey, I would, too. Are you kidding me?

Somehow, Josey ended up in the interview room (gen pop).

I got on the scrum kick. Of course, I asked QB Nate Stanley whether or not he held on to his helmet. You know what happened with C.J. Beathard and his at the end of Michigan 2016. Beathard’s helmet did Jameson shots at Joe’s.

Stanley said, check. His helmet was in his locker and he was headed home for some of his mom’s cheeseburger soup (I’m not kidding, you know that).

I asked Josey about his scrum experience. He started laughing. I knew right then it was going to be good and, yeah, I got lucky.

He told his folks, Bobby and Paula, that if the Hawkeyes win, meet me at the 10-yard line in the south end zone.

I know Josey knew I would think that was a really cool detail. Earlier last year, after the Hawkeyes lost at Michigan State, I really didn’t know what to ask. I found myself asking Jewell a weak “defense did its job, what about the offense” question. I hate those. I know better. And yet, here I was blorping out that crap.

Halfway through, Josey stabbed that question and made it his. Both sides of the ball wear a Hawkeye jersey, dummy (he didn’t put the “dummy” in there, but he could’ve and I would’ve just said, “Yep, my bad.”). It’s a team. You deal with the situation you have in front of you. And you’ve heard a million Iowa defenders say that thing about “putting out the fire.” They love that. That’s their motto.

I’m thinking the whole time, “Can’t believe I asked that, whoa, Josey’s owning this, go kid, get it off your chest.”

I will never pass myself off as dead solid perfect in this job. You feel your way around more than you should. That’s starting to get really old.

Josey ran through a few details. He wasn’t going to go too far with this. He was never a “look at me.” Probably why he was one of the best to walk through the place.

“They might’ve said before the game if this does happen, 10-yard line,” Jewell said. “Interesting, huh?”

It always was, Josey. It always was.

(See the Jewell story below.)

2. If I even had a dollop of situational awareness, I would’ve picked Iowa in this.

I totally skipped by the part where Iowa’s O-line had two extremely talented Ohio kids playing in their one and only game against the Buckeyes.

Guard Sean Welsh was from Springboro. Center James Daniels was from Harding.

“Talking about our line growing up, I thought the guys I need to give credit to are James and Sean Welsh, our two elder statesmen,” Ferentz said. “Both happen to be Ohio natives, but those two guys are our veteran guys, and I think they’re starting to show the other guys how to act a little bit.”

Their homes were not egged in the immediate thereafter.

“My folks just moved, so maybe the address hasn’t gotten out yet?” Welsh said.

Going into this game, the Hawkeyes were 12th in the Big Ten, averaging just 3.57 yards per carry. After the “Iowa’s offensive line struggles” narrative-ectomy, the Hawkeyes walked through the Buckeyes, averaging 6.4 yards on 38 carries.

Running back Akrum Wadley rushed for 118 yards on 20 carries. Senior James Butler rushed for 74, including a 53-yard gain that set up a score. Freshman Toren Young rushed five times for 47 yards, including a 34-yarder that set up his fourth-quarter TD.

The Hawkeyes wore crazy, outer-space uniforms against Ohio State, but the game was classic Iowa football with flying tight ends and everything.

“Tonight we looked more like we want to look like, an Iowa football team,” Ferentz said. “Hopefully, that’s a good step, and hopefully — with young players what they need is to gain some confidence, and you can’t hand it to them.”

Welsh laughed while reporters probed for the big, dramatic turnaround moment. This just doesn’t work that way, or rarely does it on the offensive line. Mountains are made in a day or, sometimes, even a season.

“Our two tackles played a really good game and I think we had a lot of guys just grow up today,” Welsh said. “I think it is (dramatic), I really do. When you have a good week of practice, it gives you so much confidence. We had by far our best week of preparation.”

James Daniels had options coming out of Warren High School. He was a legit 4-star OL with offers from Ohio State and Alabama. He picked Iowa because ... well, his brother, LeShun, was a running back, but ...

Daniels was more vocal in the week leading up to this one and addressed the entire team the Friday before the game.

“The reason I came here is how the Iowa offensive line plays and how we do things here,” Daniels said. “I said ‘Tomorrow, we need to show what Iowa offensive line is about.’”

That simple?

“That simple,” Daniels said with a laugh. “I said a little bit more, but that’s pretty much the summary of it.”

3. I think it was the first half. Akrum Wadley broke a run to the second level. In the background, you see OSU coach Urban Meyer and he’s doing this thing called “The Surrender Cobra.”

Your team has just crapped the bed in a shocking manner. You’re not even conscious. You raise both hands to your head with your elbows out. Your head is the cobra’s head. Your elbows rep the cobra’s hood.

We all hate the internet, but it’s still funny sometimes.

Meyer had his headphones on when Young bolted for a 34-yard gain to Ohio State’s 11 late in the fourth quarter.

At this point, Meyer wasn’t talking with anyone upstairs. The headphones were purely ceremonial. And they were off seconds after Young’s 6-yard run that made the score 55-24 Iowa with 1:43 left in the game.

At this point, most of the Kinnick Stadium crowd of 67,669 had thoughts on a field rush. The yellow jackets for security started to line the field. The Iowa sideline was in full party mode, jumping up and down, facing the Kinnick crowd and pumping its arms in the air.

Maybe at this point, Meyer’s thoughts turned more practical. As in, “How am I going to get out of here?”

When you check out the field-rush highlights, you’ll notice Meyer’s entourage, a little red clump in a sea of a streaming black blob that kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger. Meyer barely made it to the top of the giant Tigerhawk on the 50 and then barely escaped the giant black blob, looking like something from one of the Indiana Jones movies.

Seconds after that, Meyer was in the postgame setting. Did you notice the blue backdrop? That’s “don’t even bother, let’s just get out of here.” For postgame pressers on the road, the Buckeyes had the background draped with a Big Ten Network sheet.

After 55-24 that Saturday night, it was bright blue nothing and three minutes and 33 seconds of a coach trying to figure out why his laser eyes had stopped working.

“I’ll know more after watching the videotape and evaluate then,” he said.

The previous 60 minutes of Meyer’s day provided him a mountain of concerns. He spent the postgame saying words and probably mentally prioritizing what freaked him out the most.

The above question was on quarterback J.T. Barrett’s four interceptions. Before officially answering, Meyer muttered “Wow,” shook his head and squinted, like he was trying to see something else. Maybe a pizza.

So, basically, Iowa, what you did there was literally run one of the most successful coaches in Big Ten history out of Kinnick.

Quote: I asked Ferentz which Josh Jackson interception was his favorite. There were three. Shhh, this is important stuff I’m doing (it’s not).

“That’s a good question ... The one in the middle where he fought for that ball and took it out. You know, probably represented the kind of effort we’re going to need to win this game tonight. We knew we had to compete, and it was a great effort by him.”


Iowa special teams coordinator and tight ends coach LeVar Woods installed the “polecat” three weeks before this game and made the call against Ohio State. The “polecat” is basically a center eligible. Senior long snapper Tyler Kluver had his number called.

It was fourth-and-3 from Ohio State’s 20. Kicker Miguel Recinos lined up for a 38-yard field goal. Suddenly, Iowa’s line of scrimmage shifted. The “polecat” was in launch mode.

Kluver popped his head up one more time before snapping the ball, which was more of a shotgun snap, a new deal for him.

“(Ohio State) lined up better than what we thought,” said Kluver, who’s listed at 6-0, 220 in the media guide, but really is more like 5-10, 215. “I had to shotgun that snap, which isn’t exactly easy one-handed. When I popped my head up and saw no one there, I got really excited. I can’t remember the last time I was that excited in my life.

“Really quickly through my mind flashed, ‘Wowwww’ and probably some expletives. This is going to work. I’m going to score a touchdown.”


Why No. 10? — World: Iowa football existed before this game. Really, it did.


Game story from 2017

IOWA CITY — You saw that scrum. It was a lot like the one last year when the quarterback lost his helmet and it ended up being passed around in downtown Iowa City bars.

Nate Stanley’s helmet is safe.

“I kept my helmet on and strapped it up super tight,” Stanley said.

You saw that scrum. Somehow, linebacker Josey Jewell found his family. Somehow, he found them on the 10-yard line near the south end zone.

If you’ve followed the senior linebacker’s career even just a little bit, you know that wasn’t luck.

“They might’ve said before the game if this does happen, 10-yard line,” Jewell said. “Interesting, huh?”

Paula and Bobby Jewell knew. The Jewells knew. See you after you beat No. 6 Ohio State, son. Does the 10-yard line sound good? It might be kind of crowded, so let’s make it the 10-yard line.

That’s how the Jewells do it.

Stanley threw five touchdown passes, two apiece for tight ends Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson, and the Hawkeyes (6-3, 3-3 Big Ten) crushed No. 6 Ohio State (7-2, 5-1), 55-24, in front of 67,669 rabid fans Saturday like a Buick backing over a buckeye.

This was Iowa’s first victory over Ohio State since 2004. Of course, the 55 points were the most scored by Iowa in series history. It was the most for the Hawkeyes against a ranked opponent since a 55-17 victory over Texas in the 1984 Freedom Bowl.

And, yes, the 31-point margin of victory is the highest for Iowa in the 65 meetings between the schools.

There’s going to be a common theme and it’s what was the most fun part?

“Just dominating and consistently scoring,” said running back Akrum Wadley, who rushed for 118 yards and caught three passes for 40 more. “We talk about consistently scoring and starting strong. We had to stay on the gas, keep the foot on the gas.”

Snap one was a 30-yard pick-six for Iowa safety Amani Hooker. Long snapper Tyler Kluver caught a fake field goal from punter Colten Rastetter on a classic “polecat” play. It was basically a center eligible because of the way Iowa lined up.

“When I popped my head up and saw that there was nobody there,” Kluver said, “I got real excited. I don’t remember the last time I got that excited in my life.”

That gave Iowa a first down at Ohio State’s 2. With defensive end Sam Hubbard pulling frantically on his left ankle, Stanley stayed patient, hopped a little and fired a laser to Hockenson for a 2-yard TD that made the score 38-17 with 2:30 left in the third quarter. It was a Ben Roethlisberger-esque play from Stanley, who completed 20 of 31 for 226 yards with five TDs and no interceptions.

Head coach Kirk Ferentz was asked which of Josh Jackson’s three interceptions he liked the best. There was the sweet one-handed pick as Ohio State was going into Iowa’s end zone. Ferentz being a coach who appreciates the struggle picked Jackson’s second interception. The junior cornerback broke on the ball and ripped it out of an Ohio State player’s hands.

Quarterback J.T. Barrett saw his Heisman campaign and the Buckeyes’ College Football Playoff hopes go splat. Three of his four interceptions ended up as Iowa touchdowns.

“Everybody pushed each other this week in practice,” said Jackson, who came into the game as the nation’s leader in passes defended and passes broken up. “We just wanted to come in and really just enjoy the moment.”

The Buckeyes made a bucket of crucial mistakes. When it was 17-17 in the second quarter, Ohio State had Iowa on a third-and-8 from its 40 and it looked like a hold for OSU and a punt for Iowa. But defensive end Nick Bosa was called for roughing the passer and targeting. Bosa was ejected and the Hawkeyes scored 31 unanswered points.

“Coming off an emotional win last week, walking into a hostile environment here,” Ohio State center Billy Price said. “it’s got (the) Kinnick curse or whatever you want to call it.”

Josey Jewell feature from 2017

An Iowa life

IOWA CITY — Poop was always going to be part of the lore with Josey Jewell. He grew up on a turkey farm outside of Decorah. Poop was always going to be part of the story.

Giggle, giggle, he said poop. You know this is a significant chapter in a life that helped deliver to the Iowa football team one of the best defensive players the program has ever had.

It’s not a far-out theory that chasing turkeys on Jewell Century Farms had a hand in this.

“Maybe chasing them when I was younger,” Jewell said with a laugh. “We’d screw around with them a little bit. You’d run after them and try to chase them back into the barn at nighttime. We usually let them out after eight weeks or so during the day. At nighttime, you’d have to bring them back in, so no owls or any predators get them and you’re chasing them in.

“Sometimes, they’ll change direction on you really quick. Sometimes, you’ll slip and fall and you’re falling on poop.”

Back to how this relates to being a two-time all-Big Ten linebacker.

“Maybe a little bit of agility.”

And maybe a little balance because, you know, turkey poop.

“You don’t really want to fall down. It’s like missing a tackle, you know. Really connecting the two.”

It’s the last game at Kinnick for 18 seniors Saturday. They’ve done a lot of winning. And they’ve read a lot of cues from Jewell, who’ll be the first three-year captain during Kirk Ferentz’s 19 seasons as head coach.

This week, Jewell was named one of five finalists for the 2017 Bronko Nagurski Trophy. That is presented annually to the nation’s most outstanding defensive player.

Josey Jewell comes with lore. Why do we know so much of that lore? Because he’s been a damn good football player and he is one of us. No, not all Iowans are farmers, but a lot of Iowans aren’t that far removed from the farm.

Connections between football and being raised on a turkey farm on the Upper Iowa River, 14-year-old Jewell probably wishes he had a helmet and gloves for the loading of the turkeys.

It’s 3 or 4 in the afternoon. You have to wait until evening to move turkeys because they’re flightier and fightier during daylight. There are approximately 20,000 birds that need to go into nine semi-trucks. The birds are around 20 pounds and they will fight you. A wing to the face isn’t a 15-yard penalty on the farm.

“It’s a taxing job when you’re trying to throw 2,000 birds to a truckload a side,” said Robbie Jewell, soon to be 26 and happily working on the family farm after graduating from Luther College in 2014. “The birds are 20 pounds. You’re lifting 20 pounds 2,000 times, it adds up.”

The Jewells try to raise two to three flocks a year. Nine semis and the work isn’t done until 1 or 2 a.m.

You can’t just muscle them into the crates, either. Bruised birds get knocked down a grade.

“We want them as calm as possible, so when we try to load them in there, it’s not necessarily graceful because you have to be quick about it,” Robbie said. “There’s a fine line. You can’t be too rough with them, but you can’t be too soft with them or they’ll take advantage of you.”

It might seem like farming is an app to make you better at football, but Bobby and Paula Jewell preached the value of outdoors and playing. Decorah Parks and Recreation had a role in this. Flag football, baseball, soccer, whatever it had to offer the four Jewell kids — Jess, Samantha, Robbie and Josey — jumped in.

Yes, four kids, all three years apart. Family also might be considered a football training app.

Being the oldest, no one bothered Jess. Samantha and the brothers, that was another story. Keep in mind, at parent-teacher conferences once, a teacher let Bobby know that Samantha was “a little rough on the boys.”

For whatever reason, these matches always started in the basement. Samantha would have either Robbie or Josey pinned against the wall, and then ...

“It’s the craziest thing,” Bobby said. “One of the boys could be outside, in the garage or up in a tree, and the other would be inside fighting with her in the house and it would be like sonar. The brother would sense a problem and come running. She was throwing one of them against the basement wall and the other would jump on her back and start biting her neck.

“It was the craziest thing. She was so much bigger at that time. They were just like a couple of hyenas. My wife would get mad at me for not stopping it right away.”

Let the record show ... “They (Jess and Sam) put a whuppin’ on us,” Robbie said. “They were both bigger than us for a long time. We didn’t mess with Jess. We’d try tag teaming Sam. We all got along for the most part, but, yeah, there were a lot of times when we were fighting.”

Not falling in turkey poop, enduring whuppings from your older sister, check and check. Josey probably used a little of that in his football journey, which this season includes 104 tackles (leading the Big Ten, fourth in the nation and with just nine games played).

Jewell has led Iowa in tackles in each of the last two seasons (126 in 2015, 124 in 2016). He needs 11 to become the third Hawkeye to record 115 or more tackles in three seasons (Abdul Hodge, 1983-85, and Larry Station, 1983-85).

Jewell’s career total stands at 405 tackles, sixth all-time in program history.

In addition to the Nagurski, Jewell is one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award. He’s a semifinalist for the Lott IMPACT Award, the Butkus Award and Bednarik Award.

If it feels like Jewell was made for this, he kind of was.

Robert Jewell was a stud fullback for Decorah High School in 1947. He was recruited by Iowa and headed that way. Before he arrived, a brain tumor was discovered. He spent a few months in the hospital. Doctors said he wouldn’t live to see 60. Robert Jewell died before the Wisconsin game in 2015 at the age of 86.

Bobby Jewell said his dad and Josey are “mirror images.” Stoics. In the hills of northern Iowa and southwest Wisconsin, there’s a saying for the strong, silent types.

“He wouldn’t say (bleep) if he had a mouthful,” Bobby Jewell said.

The family connection with Iowa football started with Robert. Saturday is Josey’s last game at Kinnick Stadium. The connection runs deep.

“That makes the story so much better where the family is concerned,” Bobby said. “We feel like grandpa was able to visualize his somewhat through his grandson’s eyes. It meant a lot to us. We miss him dearly. I wish he was here to see some of this stuff. I think he’s watching.”

This leads to the first time someone saw Josey as an Iowa football player.

Josey was 4. He was moving an auger and pushed on the wheel.

“Of course, he laid on the wheel and I turned my head for a second and when I looked back he had gone over the top of the wheel,” Bobby said. “He landed out in front with his wrist in an awkward position. He had two surgeries and, oh my god, it was terrible.”

For some crazy reason, Bobby Jewell thought he ruined his son’s football career. “I don’t know why we were thinking football at age 4, but that’s what we were thinking,” Bobby said.

This was December 1998. During the wait at the hospital, the TV in the family room had Kirk Ferentz all over it. He had just been named Iowa’s head coach.

“For the life of me, I don’t know why I thought it, maybe I was looking for something positive in a very negative situation,” Bobby said. “I’m thinking maybe he could play for this man some day. Here we are.”

Sounds as if this was the only broken bone for Josey Jewell while growing up.


Some of this stuff, no, it just doesn’t fit with being an all-Big Ten linebacker. It fits under a daredevil’s job description.

There was the giant slip-n-slide. The Jewells set that up on their land a couple of different years. Big hill, fast ride. Into a pond with hay bails serving as the guardrail.

There was that time Robbie made a water skiing rig for the back of a pickup truck and he and Josey did some wakeboarding on the Upper Iowa (there’s a “River Runs Through It” thing with the brothers and the Upper Iowa, so many times in their lives they sprinted off the school bus and jumped into the river with shoes and shorts looking for smallies).

Yes, the pickup truck served as the boat, up on the embankment, for that adventure.

There was the tubing rope hooked up to a water tube attached to the back of a snowmobile for, well, snow tubing. Robbie drove. Josey was riding with a snowmobile helmet and snowpants.

“Anything stupid, you name it, we’ve probably done it,” Robbie said. “We’re lucky we made it out alive.”

(At this point, you probably want to go back in time and introduce these two to the tranquillity of video games, but, yeah, right. Like that ever would’ve stuck.)

Farm life comes with animals of all sorts, some of them you don’t want around.

There was the dog that bit him one day and then on the next, the two had a staredown with Josey eventually yelling, “Bite me.”

A tomcat found its way into the turkey barn and did a number on the birds. Josey’s uncle got a gun and stuck it in the crack of the door. Below the gun, Robbie and Josey sat. They saw the shot and the cat flip something like six feet in the air and do a flip.

That looked fun to Josey.

“Josey’s mouth opened and he said, ‘Shoot me next, shoot me next!!’” Bobby said. “What in the hell is he talking about?”

This might sound like some sort of dating contest, win a date with the linebacker who wanted to bite a dog and get shot into the air, but, sorry, Josey is getting married.

He was a sophomore at Decorah when he started dating Micole Lansing, who was a freshman at South Winneshiek. In March, he popped the question and it was a yes.

Of course, it was midfield at Kinnick Stadium. But how?

Micole had a classmate who was trying to fill her photography portfolio, specifically couples photos. It was a mutual friend of the two. Josey contacted her through Facebook and set up the Kinnick moment. Micole had no idea.

In hindsight, however, there was one pretty big clue.

“I could tell he was nervous,” said Micole, who’s studying to be a sonographer. “It’s funny, I came home from clinic for lunch that day. He was in his room and he was sweaty, like so bad. I said, ‘What is going on? Why are you sweating so bad?’ I didn’t think anything of it. He said, ‘Oh, I had to give a presentation in class,’ or something like that. I didn’t even give it a second thought.

“I was like, ‘OK, hopefully you can relax for pictures.’”

Senior year of college is time for the questions that make a man sweat.

Josey Jewell is on an NFL path. He looked into it after last season, didn’t like what he heard and came back for his senior season. He’ll graduate with an environmental studies/business degree. He made an entrepreneurial class project into a potential future business, Outlaw Farming Technologies.

There’s the NFL and there’s the family farm. Who knows what else could be out there for the three-time academic all-Big Ten selection.

Robbie wanted to get back to the farm after school. He’s shown his dad what a drone can do for a farmer, saving time and showing seed corn clients the crops. Robbie also is pushing his dad on no-till farming and biomimicry, where cows follow their instincts and eat in a pack, with, of course, their waste fertilizing the land. This would fit hand in glove with Josey’s push for GPS and shock devices to track the animals.

NFL? Which agent? The family farm? Some business opportunity? This is the sweaty question right now for Josey Jewell.

No pressure.

“Seems like the sky is the limit right now for him and his situation,” Robbie Jewell said. “I’m sure it’s a lot of pressure. I don’t know. I don’t think anyone wants to put the cart in front of the horse. If the NFL is there, I think he’d take it. Some people would say he’d be stupid not to ...

“Dad and I have asked him. ‘If that doesn’t work out or when that’s over, what are your thoughts? Are you going to want to come back to the farm?’ We never really get a straight answer.”

And Bobby with the truth bomb here.

“I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t tell you he’d come down here a lot of times kicking and screaming,” he said. “He didn’t want to do these particular chores, but he didn’t have a choice. I think it kind of sunk in as he grew older. He’s certainly worked hard at the football thing. I’ll give him credit there. Hopefully, we had something to do with it.”

Bobby hasn’t gotten a straight answer, either.

“Maybe he can do something like this for a living and not run into people for the next few years,” Bobby said. “Neither one is a given at this point.”

Robbie is a fourth generation farmer. The Jewell Century Farms is named because it started in 1876.

“We definitely hope Josey will be back here someday, but that’s definitely his call,” Bobby said. “I don’t want him to feel like he has to, either.”

So, let’s ask Josey. Hey, there are a couple of farmers from Decorah who are looking for a recruit.


“That’s interesting,” he said. “I don’t know who that’s going to be.”

Oh yeah, Bobby did recall Josey’s line about working on the farm.

“I asked Josey flat out one day, ‘Hey, what do you think? Whenever you get done doing whatever you’re doing, you going to come back and help your brother and I on the farm?’” Bobby said. “Long pause. He looked me in the eye and said, ‘You know, dad. I think I’d like to find something where you work less and get paid more.’”


“I about lost it,” Bobby said. “Well, smart kid. When you find that, let me know.”

That thought still stands.

“Makes sense, doesn’t it?” Josey said.

But then Robbie’s theory is his brother will hate any sort of office job. But then Josey recalls loading turkeys on the semi.

“It’s awful,” Josey said. “That’s another reason why you don’t want to do it. You’ve got to love it. You’ve got to love everything about it if you want to do it. That’s for sure. I like some parts about farming, but not all of them.”

No pressure. No assumptions. And no straight answer.