- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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Before training camps kick off, a number of players and some coaches will pay tribute to people who helped them make it to the NFL as part of the AFC South Blog’s summer series: “Early Influence.”
Adam Podlesh, Jaguars punter
“The first person that comes to mind was my position coach and our academic counselor in high school, Keith Molinich, who’s now the head coach [at Pittsford Sutherland High School in New York]. He’s a really wise-beyond-his-years type of guy and he was always helping people not only on the field but off the field.
“I was doing pretty much everything, I had a knack for punting, we already understood that. But he wasn’t a kicking guru by any means. He would help me out where he could. He was actually my linebacker coach and my running back coach, it was almost like I was with him 24-7 during football season. But he never really coached me punting.
“The other thing is the intangible teaching he gave me that was so important. A lot of it was through preparation and the way that I live my life as a good person. A lot of it was just through the way he showed it. He was one of those guys, he would lift with us, he was in his 40s and still lifting as much as we did. He’d be in there working really hard. You see him as a counselor and how he talks to people. It was amazing the things he brings to a life.
“It helps you get prepared for a game or anything that means a lot. You kind of take things in perspective, sit down and think about what it means to you. It helps motivate you, almost on a different level. One of the things he said, one of the good quotes that I’ve gotten from him is, if you want to be successful, then surround yourself with good people. It’s something I’ve been trying to do every since he put that in my head.”