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Star athletes should come home like Byron’s Sean Considine – Rockford, IL – Rockford Register Star

The day I learned North Carolina recruit J.P. Tokoto was born and raised in Rockford, the grandson of Cameroon soccer legend (and longtime Rockford soccer coach J.P. Tokoto), is the day I finally figured out why Rockford has so few college and pro sports stars: Because our greatest stars leave and don't come back. That's why it was so great to hear that NFL safety Sean Considine is building a house in Byron and will raise his four kids in his hometown. Tokoto, who moved to the Milwaukee suburbs with his mother in middle school, would have been the highest-rated recruit basketball recruit to ever come out of Rockford. Tokoto was the leading scorer on a Blackhawk Express 11-and-under team that won a big tournament in Madison. Auburn senior LaMark Foote was the leading scorer on that team, with 32 points in the title game. "He could dunk, and we were little then," Foote told me two years ago when Tokoto was one of the most highly recruited sophomores in the nation, receiving scholarship offers from Wisconsin, Kansas and Duke among others. "When I saw him in action, I knew if someone worked with him, he was going to be real good. So I knew he was going to do something; I just didn't know he was going to blow up like that." Imagine how good Auburn, third in the state without a single starter taller than 6-foot, would have been with the 6-6, high-flying Tokoto? Or imagine how good Guilford might be in a few years if one of former athletic director Brad Seago's daughters had come back to Rockford? Andrea Seago, a Minnesota basketball recruit, married a player on the Gophers' Final Four team. One of their kids, Brad told me, projects to be 7-feet tall. Or imagine how good Byron might be in a few years. The Tigers' heyday was the Considine's heyday, with Sean, Ryan and Megan Considine leading Byron in several sports each. Sean, the star of Byron's undefeated 1999 state football champions, has been the area's lone home-grown NFL player in recent years. He and his wife are building a house in Byron and plan to move in next month. Sean Considine told me they will raise their four kids in Byron. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Pierre Garcon (righT) is tackled by Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Kirk Morrison (bottom) and safety Sean Considine in the first quarter Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010, in Indianapolis. “That was one of the easier choices I’ve ever had to make,” Considine said. “I’ve moved across the country and lived in a lot of nice places, but this will be our home base when it’s all said and done. You can find better weather in other places, but besides the weather, it’s hard to beat Byron. “I’m a homebody guy. I like being around people I know and have known. This is where all my family has been born and raised and they are all here, so this is where we’ve decided to land.” In the short term, Considine plans to keep playing in the NFL. He signed with Carolina last year but was cut in September and wound up catching on in Arizona. He loved playing for Cardinals' special teams coach Kevin Spencer. "Their special teams coach and I got along great; I'd love to go back down there and play for him," Considine said. "That's one of my options right now. In the next week or so, I will make a decision. "I have opportunities out there for sure, but I'm looking for more stability than I had last year. I don't want to go into a situation like Carolina where 3-4 weeks into the season, I'm one of the last guys on the roster, they have to make moves because of injuries and I've got to go."

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