Lorenzen remembered by Owensboro Rage coach

July 7, 2019 | 3:30 am

Updated July 7, 2019 | 8:58 pm

Photo courtesy Mike Goodpaster

The state of Kentucky lost a legend this week. Jared Lorenzen, well-known for his time at the University of Kentucky and with the New York Giants, also made connections locally in the years before his death.

Lorenzen — who died Wednesday at age 38 — assumed the role of quarterback at UK from 2000-03 and won a Super Bowl ring with the Giants in 2008. But his ties to Owensboro came years later, in 2013, via the Owensboro Rage of the Continental Indoor Football League in 2013.

The Rage, formerly of Evansville, gained widespread attention in the sports world when they signed Lorenzen to quarterback in the midst of their 2013 season. Highlight videos of the stocky signal caller, who scrambled from attacking defenses seamlessly and had a cannon for an arm, went viral instantly.

Lorenzen joined the team during week five and guided them to victory in their next two appearances, one of which took place at The Next Level Sports Facility on J.R. Miller Boulevard. The team folded due to financial issues, but one night was all Lorenzen needed to leave a lasting impact on the city of Owensboro.

Rage coach Mike Goodpaster recalls the contest vividly.

Photo courtesy of Carey Richards

“The game was on a Saturday night when [the University of Louisville] and UK were both playing, but people still came to see Jared in action,” Goodpaster said. “He stayed for an hour after the game to talk to as many fans as he could. He even brought his Super Bowl ring and let all the fans try it on.”

Goodpaster’s relationship with football star started earlier when Lorenzen was actually managing a team and needed to find a coach.

After four years in the National Football League, Lorenzen had brief playing stints with the Kentucky Horsemen and the Northern Kentucky River Monsters. His initial role with the River Monsters was general manager, and his first line of business was to hire Goodpaster as a defensive coach.

“At the time, I was coaching my son’s pee-wee team,” Goodpaster said. “Jared interviewed me and gave me a shot.”

Struggling to find a quarterback, Lorenzen’s competitive edge moved him to resign as GM and take on the playing position himself. He earned the league MVP award for his efforts that season.

When Goodpaster took the head job with the Rage, he was more than excited to bring Lorenzen’s competitive edge to Owensboro.

“You would have thought it was the Super Bowl during practice because of his competitiveness, but once he got off the field, he was just one of the guys,” Goodpaster said. “Had the team not folded, we would’ve been very tough to beat during that stint.”

In July of 2017, Lorenzen launched the ‘The Jared Lorenzen Project,’ which documented his efforts at battling obesity. ESPN aired his story in July of 2018.

“I think he’s going to save a lot of people through the Lorenzen Project,” Goodpaster said.

With nicknames such as ‘The Pillsbury Throwboy,’ and ‘The Hefty Lefty,’ Lorenzen’s abilities on the field and the manner in which he treated people off the field gained him wide-spread fandom.

“He’s the best quarterback I’ve ever been around,” Goodpaster said. “But what I remember the most about him is his smile and how he went out of his way to make others feel better about themselves.”

July 7, 2019 | 3:30 am

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