Legendary Florida State University (FSU) football coach Bobby Bowden likes the little people, including Rep. Jason Almire (D-Pa.).
During a tribute to him on the floor this week, Altmire noted he played for Bowden two decades ago.
"I occupied, perhaps, the lowest possible position on the team," Altmire said on the House floor, "yet Coach Bowden treated me and every player with respect."
Altmire walked on to FSU football team as a junior in the spring of 1988, still recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in high school that hampered his once promising football career.
He made the Seminoles practice team, and during the next 12 months, Coach Bowden "left an indelible mark" on him.
"I was a wide receiver," Altmire told ITK, "and I played on the Seminoles practice squad through the spring, summer, and fall of the 88-89 season, the first year we won the Sugar Bowl championship."
Bowden, he said, never failed to ask about players' schoolwork, family, their hometown, or some other personal detail.
"The team had amazing players that year, and as I receiver I got to work against [cornerback] Deion Sanders, who's one of the greatest athletes of all time."
The season ended abruptly for Altmire; in December of 1988 he tore the ACL in his other knee, ending his brief run as a Seminole football player.
Altmire last saw Bowden in early 2000 "at a White House ceremony, where [Bowden] was being honored.
"I reintroduced myself, and I'm thinking, 'Of course he doesn't remember me,'" Altmire recalled, "but I said 'Hi' and that I played for him in '88. Without missing a beat, he patted my arm and said, 'Has it really been that long?"
Altmire smiled, "That's the kind of guy he is, he always makes you feel comfortable."