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My 7-year-old daughter went to bed with an awful stomachache last night (no, she's not a New York Giants fan) and about an hour later she woke up vomiting. The joys of parenthood.

My wife and I quickly mobilized, and a few minutes later I was down in our basement, attempting to salvage a "Hello, Kitty" comforter in the utility sink when my phone started blowing up.

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Four texts, a phone call, a voice message and an auto alert from my Twitter account all within a minute.

I assumed the worst: That the Orioles had done something major while I was busy being a worrisome father.

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Instead, people wanted my reaction after a 6-foot-4, 313-pound offensive lineman had just scampered (OK, trudged) 71 yards on a kickoff return and nearly scored a TD for the New England Patriots in Sunday night's game against the Green Bay Packers.

The player was Patriots guard Dan Connolly. He's got more 100 pounds on me (and, to be fair, several inches) but apparently our foot speed is as similar as our names.

There's a little backstory to this Dan Connolly thing. When he was coming out of Southeast Missouri State several years ago, his father, John, was doing some Internet research to see if people were talking about his son as a potential NFL draftee. He apparently searched "NFL" and "Dan Connolly" and kept getting me.

(I worked for a smaller paper at the time and did some NFL columns, mainly Ravens and Eagles, when baseball was on hiatus.) The father contacted me and we exchanged a few emails. I promised to buy a Dan Connolly jersey from whichever team drafted him (except the Colts, of course). Some loyalties must remain.

He went undrafted but was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars. I lost track of him until a couple years ago, when Connolly ended up with the Patriots. Every now and then, his name will be called (either a key block or holding) and I'll laugh.

I also made sure my son saw the big No. 63 with "Connolly" on his back a few weeks ago when the Pats were on TV.

He's not the only athletic Dan Connolly out there (present author excluded). There was a pretty decent boxer out of Western Pennsylvania named Dan Connolly who fought on some impressive undercards in the late 1990s. There's also a computer software guru named Dan Connolly and a singer/songwriter namesake as well (The Irish Catholics aren't real creative when it comes to naming babies).

I am none of them. I'm just a baseball writer with late-night, comforter-cleaning duties.

But I have to admit I smiled a little when I read the text messages, saw Sunday's clip and heard the announcer bellow Dan Connolly's name. It was the best Dan Connolly gridiron moment since Dan Connolly made the game-ending sack to clinch the Elizabethtown College Intramural Flag Football Championship in 1990.

That one was caught on videotape as well. It's not on You Tube, though. It's on a dusty VHS tape somewhere in my basement office closet.

I'm getting the feeling this one might get a little more airplay. If only that Dan Connolly had gotten four more yards and into the end zone. That would have been enough for me to go out and order that Pats' No. 63 jersey.

Regardless, beers on the house today. Mixed drinks will cost you 63 cents.

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