Draft 2017: The Future is Not Now




GORDONVILLE — On the team’s official Web site, it was labeled “successful” before the fans who didn’t sleep for three days woke up the next day.

On the streets of the city where the most-attended draft ever was held, opinions were more mixed, and those permanently scarred were already giving it a robotic thumbs-down.

From self-labeled “experts,” grades came in ranging from D to B-plus.

A year from now, the same draft guides that become springtime bibles will grade it out on a pass/fail basis, with a heavy emphasis on how much draftees played as a rookies.


Here is reality: it can take up to four years, the length of rookie contracts, to evaluate a team’s draft. If a given team is cutting ties with a good portion of that class, then you have your answer.

And in the case of the Eagles, circa 2017, it may take all of those four years to truly know.

For now, I’ll go with a B-minus (bumped up from C-plus based on the undrafted free agent class that remains classified information).

Clearly, they were not drafting to do much more this coming season than to hope for a bounce or a break – or some torn ACLs within the division – and somehow slither into the playoffs at 9-7.

For me, a self-labeled “expert” who barely slept for three days – and enjoyed a recurring dream of a Super Bowl win when I did grab a powerless nap during a Saturday morning ballet – the Eagles again didn’t do what I would have done.

One of these years, by accident, they will.

Until then, I just have to don the proper head gear and bang my head against the wall.

Who am I to say, to question their judgment, you say? Hey, to be fair to myself, they have drafted as many Super Bowl championship teams in my lifetime as I have. And if they had followed my advice many times over the years, who knows?

But it’s not about me – or them. Players, general managers, draft consultants, coaches – and even owners and the stadiums they insist upon – will come and go.

It is about us.

And, in the quest to get us to the Promised Land, this is what we got:

Eagles-Barnett2FIRST ROUND (14th Overall)


WHY THEY DID IT: Well, it seemed like this was going to be their guy, no matter what. And, in the first 13 picks, there was a whole lot of “no matter what” going on. If they were so enthralled with the guy who broke Reggie White’s sack record at Tennessee (great propaganda, even though the eras don’t equate, as college teams throw even more than pro teams these days), why not trade back a handful of spots and pick up the Day 2 pick that they so desperately could have used to address cornerback.

WHAT WOULD I HAVE DONE? Well, I think you know, don’t you? Marlon Humphrey, the cornerback from Alabama, was my choice for the Eagles all along. With rape allegations surfacing about Gareon Conley right before the draft, I had legit concerns about Humphrey even lasting to No. 14. Turns out, he and Conley (drafted later in the first by the Raiders) were both there. I still don’t know how anyone who has watched the Eagles – not only in 2017 but in the few years before – can’t see the dire need for corners, especially in a draft frontloaded with them. The idea of adding a guy like Barnett, who I have nothing against other than that he didn’t fit the most obvious need, is that pressure on the quarterback will make life easier on the secondary. In an era where quarterbacks have releases like semi-automatic pistols, this is a rather quaint notion that comes across as the proverbial cart before the horse and a luxury a last-place team can’t afford.

ON NOTICE: The Eagles have other defensive ends on the roster. Chris Long was signed, ostensibly to replace Conner Barwin and play across from Brandon Graham. Vinny Curry remains, as does former first-rounder Marcus Smith and last-year’s seventh-round pick Alex McAlister, who was stashed on IR. There is also Steven Means. Certainly not the Purple People Eaters but it seemed like there was enough here to survive. There will be some tough cuts.

SECOND ROUND (43rd Overall)


WHY THEY DID IT: Before they fixated on Barnett, they likely fixated on Jones. When he tore his Achilles on Washington’s Pro Day, Jones became an official X-Factor. Someone was going to take him on Day 2, and the Eagles – with a medical team that does not have the batting average it thinks it does – pulled the trigger. Again, another luxury pick that points more toward the future than the present.

WHAT WOULD I HAVE DONE? Honestly, I would have stayed with Desmond King, the cornerback/free safety who I had the Eagles taking in my third and final mock draft. I did have Jones going here in my second mock draft, but that was based on the premise that they were taking a healthy corner in the first round.

ON NOTICE: No one, really, since Jones will likely spend the year adding necessary bulk to his 186-pound frame and taking furious mental notes in film sessions, all with the goal of being the No. 1 corner of the future.

THIRD ROUND (99th Overall)


WHY THEY DID IT: Well, they will claim they liked him all along, but I’d bet my Bill Bergey autograph (whisper: I have two Bill Bergey autographs) that they sat helplessly while more shovel-ready corners than this one-year starter at what was apparently their most scouted college team were plucked. This was the most agonizing part of the draft, as the Eagles sent their own third-round pick for Baltimore’s compensatory choice at the end of round (essentially an early fourth at No. 99) to acquire Timmy Jernigan, who better turn out to be the second coming of Jim Weatherall (a 1952 Eagles draft pick). Douglas played two years of Junior College ball, was a reserve in 2015 and then came out of nowhere to lead the nation in interceptions with eight last fall. He has desired size (6-foot-1½, 209 pounds). With pedestrian speed for the position (4.59 in the 40), he had better use that size to be physical at the point of attack. Translation: If and when he starts, we’ll need that “cure-all” pass rush.

WHAT WOULD I HAVE DONE? Since King was still on the board, I would have taken King, but what do I know? He didn’t go until the fifth round to the Chargers. Write the name down and we’ll see. Another option would have been Damontae Kazee from San Diego State. A bit smaller (5-10, 185) than Douglas and only a shade faster (4.54), I suppose they deferred to defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz about system fit. They just better hope Schwartz stays for this long-term plan. If not, that screeching sound you hear are the wheels spinning at the NovaCare Complex.

On Notice: Uh, well, the starting corners going into the draft were last year’s seventh-round semi-pleasant surprise Jalen Mills and this year’s recycle-bin free agent Patrick Robinson – with Jaylen Watkins or Ron Brooks, if he is not released after June 1, in the slot. Right now, not much changes. Douglas is safe, so the likes of Aaron Grymes and Dwayne Gratz and C.J. Smith will battle for what will likely be one roster spot. Good thing we got that pass rush going, huh?

FOURTH ROUND (118th Overall)


WHY THEY DID IT: Um, not sure. King and Kazee were still available. That would have put another corner in the mix while Jones dons the shirt of red. The need for a receiver is there, just not as pressing after doing considerably well in free agency with Alshon Jeffrey (albeit on a one-year deal) and Torrey Smith on what is really a series of three one-year deals. Jordan Matthews moves back to the slot, and his success will determine his long-term future here. Nelson Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham are still scratching the surface of apparent untold potential. Enter Hollins, who is already pegged as a spare set of hands – at least for a year or two – while distinguishing himself on special teams. That latter trait is reportedly what sent him shooting up some draft boards and made the Birds bite on the next Riley Cooper (a fifth-round pick) in the fourth round. The comparison is real, and not meant in a negative way, as Hollins is 6-4 and 220 pounds and, despite a 4.51 40 time, had a knack for big plays (and injuries) throughout his career as a three-year starter.

WHAT WOULD I HAVE DONE? King or Kazee, but maybe that’s just me. Did you write those names down for posterity yet? Let’s see who has a better career.

ON NOTICE: Agholor and Green-Beckham could be on the endangered species list. Because Agholor has Chip Kelly’s DNA on him, while DGB was acquired by this regime (and did a bit more in less snaps last year), my money would be on Agholor to be pushed out. Others in the mix include Bryce Treggs and Paul Turner, who were both on the roster last year. Rasheed Bailey, who was cut by Kelly after a strong training camp in 2015, returns after stints in Canada and practice squad time with the Jaguars and Chargers. David Watford was on the practice squad last year while Marcus Johnson showed enough in camp to get another invite.

Eagles-PumphreyFOURTH ROUND (132nd Overall)


WHY THEY DID IT: Easy. Darren Sproles is entering what is likely to be the final year of his borderline Hall of Fame career and Pumphrey (left) is a reasonable facsimile. Howie Roseman even pulled a “Howie” and moved up a few slots to secure the services of the NCAA Division I all-time leading rusher. Despite his diminutive stature (5-8, 170), Pumphrey was rarely injured as a three-year starter getting a massive amount of touches. A lot of that can be attributed to 4.48 speed he maintains when making exciting decisive cuts. The presumption is that Pumphrey, also an accomplished receiver, is an electrifying return man. Truth is, if he had done it more, he would have been snatched up on Day 2. With Sproles as a mentor, and Dave Fipp as the Special Teams guru, the hope is that he will be coached up to handle at least some of those chores in 2018.

WHAT WOULD I HAVE DONE? Well, my DBs were still there, but I can’t really argue with this pick.

ON NOTICE: The Eagles have an odd situation in the backfield. If they don’t bring in a veteran like former Chief Jamaal Charles, who was scooped up by the Broncos, we are looking for a committee approach. Sproles and Pumphrey will be joined by last year’s fifth pick Wendell Smallwood. Byron Marshall and Terrell Watson each showed some promise at the end of last season, but Watson has since been released and word on the street is that Marshall might be moved to receiver.

FIFTH ROUND (166th Overall)


WHY THEY DID IT: Wheeling and dealing left the Eagles picking later in the round. This was a calculated risk, as there were still plenty of juicy names still on the board. Aside from our friends King and Kazee, there was the next wave of corners, such as Miami’s Corn Elder and Temple’s Nate Hairston. Also still undrafted was Michigan tight end Jake Butt, a likely Day 2 pick before a knee injury. As it turned out, Roseman was not smelling like a rose when none of these players were left, so that left a chance to double down at receiver with Gibson. With only pedestrian size (5-10½, 191), they likely saw his production (nearly 24 yards per catch) and rolled the dice that Gibson is the anti-Agholor. That means he plays faster than his 4.5 40 time instead of slower. Like Agholor did, Gibson brings exciting return ability to the mix.

WHAT WOULD I HAVE DONE? If only because Hollins and Gibson create a crowd at a receiver, while not much of an immediate jolt to the offense, I would have stayed on defense with someone like LSU defensive tackle Devon Godchaux or considered myself lucky to see a developmental quarterback like Pitt’s Nathan Peterman still on the board.

ON NOTICE: See Hollins.

FIFTH ROUND (184th Overall)


WHY THEY DID IT: Because, for better or worse, they think they are smarter than everyone else. Not an indictment of the Eagles, but all teams. They see a guy who was a solid college player with tweener size and skill set to stay at the same position. So, the thinking is to add to Gerry’s 210-pound frame and turn him into a situational linebacker. To be fair, teams around the league have had some success in recent years converting in-the-box safeties into undersized linebackers. The most notable is Deone Bucannon of the Arizona Cardinals, but Gerry – though a three-year starter and All-Big 10 selection each year – has nowhere near the same athletic ability.

WHAT WOULD I HAVE DONE? I have been touting San Diego State’s Calvin Munson in my pre-draft mocks, and he was not only available, but made it all the through the draft, only to be inked as an undrafted free agent by the rival Giants. Write the name down. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong.

ON NOTICE: The Eagles already have a safety/linebacker hybrid on the roster in Kamu Grugier-Hill. Unlikely there is room for two, and maybe not one. Let the battle for one of the final roster spots begin.

SIXTH ROUND (214th Overall)


WHY THEY DID IT: Simply put, value. At this point, with some of the best-laid plans likely gone awry – despite what they will say publicly – the Eagles saw a productive college player and took a boom-or-bust shot in the dark that he can overcome not having a NFL body type. At barely 6-foot and 313 pounds, Qualls, with a big belly and short arms and small hands, fails to pass the eye test of scouts. Still, he was an active player at Washington who lined up at different spots and was always around the ball or in the face of the quarterback.

WHAT WOULD I HAVE DONE? At this point, to be honest, I would have done the same thing.

ON NOTICE: Beau Allen injured himself working out and went from penciled-in starter to possible fourth tackle, depending on what Qualls can do behind Fletcher Cox and Timmy Jernigan. The Eagles already issued walking papers to Aziz Shittu, who was an undrafted free agent last year and parlayed a strong camp into a spot on the practice squad. Destiny Veaeo, who also made the team last year as an UDFA but faded as the season wore on, will have to have a stellar camp to stick around.


Although they have an apparent blind spot for the only Division I football team in the city, the Eagles are always aggressive after the draft ends and are willing to spend – and spend wisely – to get who they want from those left undrafted.

It is a commendable trait, although there eyes were a bit too big for their stomachs in 2017, as they were left having to issue pink slips to current players on the back end of the roster to make room. As a result, the list has not been made officially official.

However, in the Twitter Universe, it is impossible to keep secrets. It seems fairly certain the following “name” players have been inked, and will headline the crop of undrafted hopefuls:

  • Quarterback Jerod Evans, Virginia Tech (Projected Day 3 pick)
  • Running Back Corey Clement, Wisconsin (Projected Late Day 2 or Early Day 3 Pick)
  • Wide Receiver/Tight End Billy Brown, Shepherd (Projected as a Priority Free Agent)
  • Wide Receiver Greg Ward, Houston (Projected as Undrafted Free Agent possibly ticketed for the CFL)
  • Center Tyler Orlosky, West Virginia (Projected as a Day 3 Pick)
  • Safety Randall Goforth, UCLA (Projected as a Priority Free Agent)

Presuming this is accurate, the Eagles deserve kudos for their post-draft work. Clement has a realistic shot to join the fun in a committee approach out of the backfield, and was likely the primary reason Watson was cut. Evans may have hurt himself in the wallet by not staying in school to hone his skills, but brings a pro arm and mobility. Brown dominated at the Division II level as an oversized receiver (6-3, 254) and could end up as a converted tight end down the road. Orlosky is reportedly the highest paid undrafted player in the league, a year after the Eagles spent more than any other team on UDFAs, and could mean less job security for Jason Kelce. (Even if Orlosky is a reserve as a rookie, Stefen Wisniewksi could slide over to center and keep the spot warm.) Goforth’s only issue is his size (5-9½, 176), as he was productive in college (four interceptions last year) and could warrant a look at slot corner while make a name for himself on special teams. Ward was a dual-threat quarterback at Houston, which the Eagles probably knew while watching and dismissing all players from Temple, who is reportedly going to give it a go at wide receiver. At 5-11 and 185 pounds, quarterback is out of the question. However, considering his running ability and sub-4.5 speed, one wonders if he shouldn’t get a look in the backfield, too.


A ‘Super’ Sentiment




GORDONVILLE — By the time many of you read this, the Super Bowl between the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots will have already been played.

Nonetheless, I want to get my pre-kickoff state of mind on the record, should I lose my mind as a result of the game, which I would not be surprised will be a good one (we’ll see if I’m right about that).

For the record, I would only be disturbed if a zebra came out and crapped on the field (i.e. an official altered the outcome, either way, with a bad call).  That aside. I’m not going to lose any sleep over the outcome.

That means none. As in zero.

I’ve been deprived so many beauty winks over the past nearly five decades of being a Philadelphia sports fan — and such an ardent devotee of the Eagles, in particular, to the extreme point where I really don’t even enjoy the games anymore — that I would have looked more like Brad Pitt and less like, well, me if I had been more into making model airplanes on autumn Sundays instead.

Ask me who I think will win today, and I will run in through my personal processor and come out with a New England triumph to the tune of 41-35 (give or take a few points).

I’d like to be right, but I have been known to be wrong on some rare occasions. It would uphold my status as someone who knows something about the sport beyond an excuse to drink and belch and play meaningless taproom pools to stay interested.

But I’d also like to be right for another reason. I know it means I should — and could — be burned at the stake the next time I venture out for a cheese steak, but that’s how I feel.

The reason: I would rather see the Patriots win.

That’s right, I said it.

I can hear the chorus now: B-B-But Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan is a local boy.

Yeah, I know. Don’t care.

He is not from Northeast Philly, let alone an alum of Northeast High. He is not from my adopted home ‘hood of Central Montgomery County and did not play for one the schools I covered in my long sports-journalism career.

And he did stay home and play college ball at Temple, instead going to Boston College.

Ryan is from Exton and played scholastically at Penn Charter (eye roll … like that is a common occurrence … second eye roll … for normal kids paying their own way).

May as well be from Mars and have played on Neptune before going to Jupiter for college ball.

Next, you’ll say: B-B-But it will be someone different, another team winning for a change.

Keep talking, and then keep walking.

Not gonna work here in Gordonville.

If the Falcons win today, they will be something like the eighth team (no, I’m not looking it up to verify!) — just since Jeffrey Lurie has owned the Eagles — to win their franchise’s first Super Bowl while we wait in line.

In many cases, these are rent-a-franchises without histories dating back to the earliest days of pro football.

Talking about Tampa Bay and Carolina.

One more for the winner’s circle?

Screw that.

And don’t try to get political, saying our newly elected dictator’s favorite team is the Patriots.

Sports is the one place where politics and other things that divide us are usually put to the side.

And given the rise of anti-Semitic acts since a certain someone was elected on what I see as an arcane technicality (the electoral college), it would be a strong message — for those who dare to comprehend it — to witness said “president” hanging with Patriots’ Jewish owner Robert Kraft.

Yes, the Falcons have a Jewish owner, too, in Arthur Blank.

The fact is that there probably more Jewish owners in the NFL than there are Jewish players.

And yet, two of those players — Julian Edelman and Nate Ebner — are  not only rostered with the Patriots, but are pretty good. Edelman is the favorite target of Tom Brady and Ebner is an All-Pro special teams guy.

A win will make the Patriots the top dynasty of the league’s Super Bowl era and Tom Brady the Super Bowl quarterback with the most wins (which may get him to retire). Sports doesn’t have enough dynasties anymore, so that’s fine.

I’ve seen them celebrate before, including beating the Eagles in my presence. I am numb to that pain.

A new team? A “somebody else for a change” team? Can’t stomach the idea.

Let it be us, or no one at all.

That’s about enough to give me a rooting interest, and while having me still sleep like a baby — and dreaming that recurring dream of the Eagles winning it all — this Sunday night.







March Was About Human Rights


By Danielle Niemuth

I’ve seen quite a few women using the hash tag #notmymarch and proclaiming that they don’t need feminism. First of all, let’s clear up some definitions.

1. misogyny: dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women
2. misandry: dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against men
3. feminism: the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.

People often equate feminism with misandry and “bra-burning”. By definition, feminism is for the promotion of equality in the sexes (this would mean it’s against “man hating”, BTW). Now, I think we can all agree that there are physical and mental differences between men and women. So this is when we need to remember that “equal” doesn’t mean “the same”.

A lot of folks want to simplify the Women’s March down to abortion and birth control, but that’s not what it’s about. You can agree or disagree with either of those topics until you’re blue in the face. Are there women and men at the March who support keeping birth control and abortions legal? Yes. Do you need to agree with that in order for this to be your March? Absolutely not.

The March is about human rights. And guess what? #womensrightsarehumanrights. The rights of the LGBT community are human rights. The rights of the disabled, both physically and mentally, are human rights.

Maybe you’ve never felt personally victimized by “the patriarchy” or society as a whole, and I hope that you never do. I hope you’re never the victim of sexual assault, much less one that results in a pregnancy you don’t want. I hope neither you nor your loved ones become disabled and need to rely on government assistance just to get by. I hope that you can continue to live in a blissful world where all of your rights are legally still your rights.

A lot of the posts about #notmymarch use their current rights as reasons for not needing feminism. We have the right to birth control, the right to own a gun, the right to work, the right to an education, the right to vote. But do you know how we, as women, got those rights? We didn’t get them because the government just one day decided to gift them to us. We got them because of women who marched. Maybe those rights will never be taken away, but maybe they will. So I hate to break it to you, but whether or not you agree with topics like abortion or think you don’t need feminism, #thisISyourmarch.

With NMOE Foundation Set, Hadrick Steps Down – But Not Away





In the summer of 2011, Ernest Hadrick III – better known as Tre Hadrick – decided to line up alongside many of his old football teammates at Norristown Area High School and tackle a new challenge: Helping to guide next generation from their hometown to level the playing field in the game of life.

“It was just to help the kids,” he recalled about the group that would come to be known as the Norristown Men of Excellence (www.nmoe19401.org), which achieved 501c3 status as a non-profit organization. “I basically brought the group together. Our mission was a collective effort.”

Considered “core” members are: Sheldon Gray, Milt Williams, Hakim Jones, Troy Swittenburg, Percy Jones, Kirk Berry, Doug White, Brian Webster, Don Milligan and Kenrick Marsh.

“We met in August of 2011, talking about giving back and making a difference.  From there, we continued to grow and put things into place.”

As for expanding the group: “We wanted the best from Norristown. We had a lot of guys, maybe 30 or 40. Some were from out of state but were still doing good things.”

One of those was Alan Grantham, who graduated from Norristown in 2001 and has degrees from Maryland and NYU.

“He supports NMOE financially each year with our Scholarship Fundraiser,” said Hadrick, who referes to Grantham as: “From Willow Street to Wall Street.”

Beyond lofty goals about achievement and greatness, there was a bottom line.

“Just consistency,” Hadrick continued. “Our consistency allowed us to have success.

“Our mission was to give back in any way we could in any way we could. We opened up our visions and broadened our focus.”

Whether it is at the annual banquet or one of the other myriad of programs run by the group, the guidance counselor at Eisenhower Middle School sometimes needs to stop and realize how far it has come in such a short period of time.

“It’s like, ‘wow, we really made it happen,” said Hadrick, who played college football at Auburn and then North Carolina A&T and just completed his first season as an assistant coach at Conestoga High. “It’s been a blessing, a special feeling.”

And the success has allowed Hadrick to make the decision to no longer serve as the NMOE president, effective Dec. 31, with Berry taking over.

“My tenure is up as president,” he confirmed, adding that the term was only meant to be for two years. “I am still very much going to remain a part of the organization. I still want to see things continue with the original vision.”

Now in the process of putting it all into perspective, Hadrick believes he was given the tools to give back while at North Carolina A&T, where he says he “learned through my fraternity guided me to adopt some of the key organizational skills” that helped create the foundation of NMOE, Inc.

“It would be unjust of me not to mention the impact my fraternity, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., has had on me: Hard work, perseverance and enthusiasm are some of the tools they encourage,” he said.

Hadrick, the 35-year-old married dad of one, called stepping away from top post “perfect timing” and vowed to remain active, saying he will “still be in the background.”

The move comes in a year of change for Hadrick, who was given the chance to coach high school-level athletes by former Plymouth Whitemarsh standout running back Keyente “Key” Moore at PaSwag (paswag.net), which is best described as the football equivalent of AAU basketball.

From there, Marquis Weeks, who was forming a staff at Conestoga, where he rewrote the records books as a running back before moving on Virginia, reached out to Hadrick to join his staff.

It meant a long-awaited opportunity, but also at a school other than Norristown, which was an initial shock to his sensibilities.

But once he commits, he commits.

And so he did.

The result was an “amazing experience,” that he looks to build upon.

“It was challenging,” said Hadrick, whose job was to coach running backs and linebackers. “I love Norristown. I love the blue and white. It’s nothing I can fake. At the same time, I like to help kids.

“It was, overall, a great experience. The kids all bought into the system. Coaching is a passion. I love sports. It’s part of my nature. It’s what I understand.”

While the NMOE had a sports aspect to it, with lacrosse and football clinics, it was as much about life coaching for youth as it was anything else.

Other programs include Ted Talks, essay contests with cash prizes, turkey drives, after-school programs, fundraisers for the two high school scholarship winners that receive $1,000 and an iPad mini.

It all began with that goal in mind. Easier said than done, but it got done.

Hadrick remembers being told he “looked nervous” before the first banquet, and he admits that his biggest fear was not speaking as much as it was “letting people down.”

He added: “We had higher standards, higher goals. We set the bar high.”

And they stayed consistent under his guidance.

“I always felt that we could pull it off,” he said. “We’ve been blessed with people doing great things in Norristown.

“I am pleased, and my time is up, as of the 31st of December. Hopefully, my efforts left an impact and that I set a foundation.”

Those hopes became reality when, at the first meeting after Hadrick was no longer president, he was presented with an award.

“Shocked, suprised and humbled,” he said. “I didnt see this coming at all. I’m very thankful and appreciative of this award.”




In the Worst of Times





GORDONVILLE — Like many American families, we were watching the Election Night results in shock and increasing dismay into the early morning hours.

We flipped channels – from CNN to MSNBC to ABC to PBS – and watched each, hoping to hear some alternative spin to make us feel better, and turned away when we found their faces and voices too irksome.

Optimism turned to pessimism and pessimism into despair.

Meanwhile, our 9-year-old daughter, Sofia, had fallen asleep on the family room love seat before the ominous news became harsh reality.

A day that began with her going into the voting both with her mommy, who let her press the button to vote for what we all thought would be the first woman president of our internally wounded nation, ended with me carry her up the steps.

It used to be a common occurrence, me carrying Sofia to bed. I know it sounds strange, but it was always one of those small joys of parenthood that I not only enjoyed but where I made a small “note to self” to appreciate.

This time, it was different.

It had been a while. She was a lot heavier than she was a few years back, and I have developed more middle-aged aches and pains. Plus, I was more than tired. I was weary. Not only from the results but from the grind.

And from knowing my daughter would awaken to a different America.

I like to say I wear my heart on my sleeve. I wouldn’t call it a fatal flaw. It’s just the way I am. If I’m passionate about something, I can’t suppress it.  And I was passionate about this election cycle, perhaps more than any other in a lifetime of always being interested in politics.

My heart was heavier than Sofia’s body.

Even though her seeing a woman president so early in her formative years was an exciting prospect, I was more somber about who won than who lost.

Truth be told, I was never real high on Hillary Clinton – at least not at this point in time. She was facing a tall order, looking to push eight years of a Democrat in the White House into 12 or 16, and she really was not overly inspiring. That should not necessarily be a qualification for the job, but fact is that is a humungous one. And she picked a milquetoast running mate, which didn’t help her cause.

So, while I was “with her,” since her opponent was non-option for what seemed to obvious reasons, I was not the cheerleader that, say, my wife was during the campaign.

Manning my Facebook battle station, I spent way more time pointing out the infinite flaws of Clinton’s opponent and rarely touting her beyond the obvious, which was that she was so much more qualified that it was both a comedy and tragedy at the same time.

And despite some accusations to the contrary, it had zero to do with Clinton’s gender. I supported her, vigorously, during 2007-2008 primary season. I felt she was better prepared to lead us out the darkness of the Bush years than the new kid in town, Barrack Obama, who seemed to me more like someone who was more a future president than one ready to take the reins.

Once she was edged out by Obama, and once John McCain exercised horrendous judgment by tabbing Sarah Palin as his running mate, I supported Obama in the general election and remained a voice of support – whether in newsprint, here on my blog or in social media battles – throughout his two terms.

When these so-called media experts tried to frame the 2016 election as a foregone conclusion, saying it was going to be a showdown between Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton, it rubbed me raw.

Is this the best we could do, going back to same two families, I wondered? And was America not founded, theoretically, on the notion of breaking from the concept of royalty?

Turns out, I would have taken that as a choice – even after being one of the few and proud Bernie Sanders backers of my age demographic in the country.

Yes, that’s how bad the end result turned out to be.

I could have lived with another Bush.

We are left with the person, whose name I can’t even bare to write this morning, as he is also part of American royalty but who lacks any political acumen whatsoever.

He was the flashpoint of the “birther movement” that actually had a high number of registered Republicans – people who actually wake up, dress and fed themselves each morning and operate a vehicle to go out into their small bubbled worlds – believing Obama was born in Kenya and a Muslim.

After Obama produced his birth certificate, something no Caucasian president would never have to do, Bill Maher did a bit on his political talk show saying the current president elect should produce a birth certificate saying he was not an orangutan.

And the thin-skinned mogul behind the “birther” push did what he usually does. He lawyered-up, and filed a lawsuit.

What will he do as president? He will be sworn in with multiple court cases and lawsuits – from the serious, to the benign and ridiculous – pending for and against him.

Will he react like a baby to every critique and lampooning sent his way? Will he be able to handle one-tenth of the venom spewed at Obama to last eight years? Are we headed toward a police state?

This, and so many other scary questions, overloaded my brain as I trudged up the steps with Sofia in my arms and as I laid her to sleep and placed a gentle and sorrowful kiss on her cheek.

Before waking her up, I had already received messages from other devastated friends wondering about we tell our kids this morning and what kind of world we are creating for them now.

I got up early and drove our dog, Rex, to his weekly visit to daycare. I tried to lose myself in the music on the radio. As I pulled into the lot, Don Henley’s “End of the Innocence” came on. I sat in my parking spot – with tears welling in my eyes — and pondered the question about ours, and about Sofia.

My innocence has long since been gone, but I already mourn the day when it happens to our princess with a heart of gold.

She is very much her daddy’s daughter, in terms of her emotions. I knew telling her wouldn’t be easy. I was not sure if her mommy would have broken the news by the time I got back home, or if she would be stealing a few extra minutes of sleep before school.

Part of me didn’t want to be there, part of me did.

All of me knew I had to be.

We have woken her up to bad news before – up to and including deaths of pets and family members – and she would immediately burst into tears.

Turned out, she was still in a deep sleep Wednesday morning.

When I whispered the horrifying result to her, she just looked sad and stunned.

“Oh,” she said after a few seconds, “really?”

When I drove to school about 30 minutes later, she was quiet. I asked if she was OK, and she admitted to being a bit sad about it. My gut is that she was more upset for her mommy than anything, but I didn’t push it. Instead, I thought I would lighten the mood. I told her that maybe she would be the first female president.

“Not interested,” she said, flatly.

The thing is, Sofia is a pretty cool kid. She will be OK.

The same TV where we watched the end of the world as we knew it is also one of these newfangled Smart TVs that I was too dumb to figure out for three months before an angel of mercy from XFinity took pity on me and went above and beyond just fixing a phone issue.

Together, on that TV, she has willing been indoctrinated into watching Gordonville classics like “The Wonder Years” and her clear favorite – “Star Trek.”

Sofia has quickly become such a Trekkie already that she has Googled how to make Vulcan Plomeek Soup and announced that we are going to Las Vegas this summer for the next convention.

She was a Vulcan – “Spockette” – for Halloween, and made me wear a yellow Captain Kirk shirt that was so friggin’ tight, even as an XXL, that I could barely breathe.

So I just told her this morning that the election was like a Star Trek episode where they land on a primitive planet and that we will have to think logically to get ourselves to resolution.

Problem is that this is four years – if he lasts that long – not one-hour.

She understood and accepted my logical explanation.

Problem is that we are not in the future, and present-day logic is on life support.

We could use a timely beam-up from Scotty, but all communication has been cut off.

Instead, I’ll have to carry her up the steps.

And even as she ages and grows to the point when I can’t physically do it anymore, I’ll continue to hold her close and carry her anyway.

Even in the worst of times – and it doesn’t get much worse than this – it is all I can do.