To get a good understanding of the situation, it’s important to know that Ronaldo has two main agents: Jorge Mendes and Simon de Quieroz. The former runs Ronaldo’s affairs for him, while the latter is a consultant for Mendes; they represent a large number of top players in the world, and are instrumental in the transfer market. The Ronaldo-Juventus situation has been a tense one: after four years at the Juventus, Ronaldo returned to United and signed a new £300,000-a-week, four-year deal in the summer of 2018.
It’s been five years since Cristiano Ronaldo left Old Trafford for the Bernabeu in a world record £80m move after nine seasons with the Red Devils. After everything he’d achieved, it was hard to believe that Ronaldo would leave but that’s exactly what happened. The Madrid outfit also offered him bonuses of £30m each year, which he couldn’t turn down.
ORLANDO, FLORIDA – On the UCF practice field, G.J. Kinne and Gus Malzahn stood inches apart, near the quarterbacks, of course. Before the throwing exercise starts, Malzahn gestures animatedly towards the receivers. Kinne listens, then backs up like a defensive back, his gaze fixed on the signal-callers.
It’s hard to imagine Kinne is teaching beside the guy who first showed him what a next-level, new-age, revolutionary spread offense might look like. Kinne’s life could be different today if he had made different choices regarding two distinct transfers — one in high school and the other in college. On a sweltering, steamy day in Florida, he wouldn’t be standing next to Malzahn, one of his greatest mentors.
Kinne and Malzahn met for the first time during a Tulsa spring game in 2008. Kinne, a freshman quarterback contemplating his college options, couldn’t believe his eyes: Motions and formations that made the self-proclaimed football addict wonder and think “This is something I’ve never seen before. Isn’t this amazing?”
Everything had been planned by Malzahn.
Kinne does not have much time to ponder about those “what ifs” now that he is 32 and in his first year as co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Knights, but it’s difficult to overlook how his decisions have molded the last 15 years of his life and led to a huge chance at UCF.
While expectations are rising with Malzahn as head coach, Dillon Gabriel, who passed for over 3,000 yards in each of his first two seasons with the Knights, returns as one of the finest quarterbacks in the nation. When the Knights host Boise State on Thursday night (7 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN App), Gabriel and the team are looking to get out to a fast start.
Kinne’s head is full of more than Xs and Os now that everything has gone full circle. He has a long and illustrious pedigree. Because of the offenses he ran, his high school coach and four of his college coordinators or position coaches went on to become collegiate head coaches.
Thanks to the events that brought him to this point, Kinne seems to be on his path to joining them someday. While it may seem like Malzahn is the one who began it all, Kinne may never have made it to Tulsa if it hadn’t been for the worst time of his life.
“”Does it have to be a God thing that has brought me down this path?” Kinne wondered. It most certainly is. Even thinking about it makes me feel a little insane.”
G.J. Kinne had a brief time in the NFL, mostly on practice teams, before deciding to devote his entire attention to coaching. USA TODAY Sports/John Geliebter
The Kinnes relocated to Canton, Texas, when G.J. entered high school so that his father, Gary Joe, could pursue a longtime goal of being a head football coach. Gary Joe’s presence in Canton, population 3,500, aroused some eyebrows, particularly when he declared that G.J. would be his starting quarterback as a 14-year-old freshman, having only coached as an assistant at larger schools in bigger towns in Texas.
“It was difficult because we didn’t know them and they didn’t know us,” Gary Joe said. “When you visit a small town, the people are generally close-knit and suspicious. G.J. has always been talented, and he was destined to be the starting quarterback. That was certainly the focus of everyone’s attention. It’s usually said that he only plays since his father is the coach.”
Canton High, on the other hand, began to win, including its first playoff triumph since 1964. Canton went 8-2 the next season, and recruiting interest in G.J. increased. Gary Joe and G.J. both believed that the program’s success had increased their acceptability, but in April 2005, one guy destroyed their illusions.
Jeff Robertson went into Gary Joe’s workplace that morning and shot Kinne in the abdomen before fleeing the scene. Robertson has previously been barred from school sports events after confronting coaches over his son’s playing time on numerous occasions.
School officials raced to locate G.J. in class, and when he arrived to the field house, he saw blood on the floor of the coaches’ offices. Gary Joe lay on the weight room floor, waiting for a helicopter to transport him to the closest hospital in Tyler, 45 minutes away. G.J. took Gary Joe’s hand and squeezed it, even though he was unresponsive. He had no clue if his father would survive or die at the time.
G.J. said, “I got to speak what I needed to say.”
Robertson was never called to testify at his trial in February 2006, and his motivation remains a mystery. He was sentenced to 20 years in jail after being convicted of aggravated assault and possession of a dangerous weapon in a forbidden area.
Gary Joe lived, but it took him a long time to heal after he lost 80 percent of his liver. Despite spending 100 days in the hospital, he was determined to coach throughout the football season. Only four months after being shot, Gary Joe returned for the first game. Gary Joe led Canton to the state playoffs despite a setback that put him back into the hospital throughout the season.
Gary Joe said, “I wasn’t going to let it defeat me.” “When I got shot, I didn’t freak out. I believe that some of the lessons you acquire as an athlete, such as persistence and concentrating on the task at hand, contributed to my survival. He wasn’t going to win, the man who shot me. I planned to return. I wanted my children to know that their father was capable of overcoming such adversity.”
Despite his comeback and the success of the football squad, tensions persisted. People took sides in the incident, creating an unpleasant and sometimes embarrassing atmosphere, according to the family, particularly as the trial progressed. G.J.’s father was shot at his own school, and he claimed he couldn’t understand why others were speculating about the incident or saying bad things about his father.
“Robertson’s son was still in school,” Kinne said, “so I’d see him in the halls.” “People would point to youngsters and say things like, ‘Yeah, her mother sat on Robertson’s side.’ He grew up there, and he’s a member of the community. His family was there, and people, like anybody else, adore that individual when anything bad occurs. It was getting a little out of hand. I had to go.”
Gary Joe chose to accept a position as an assistant coach at Baylor before the start of the 2006 season. G.J., one of Texas’ best quarterback prospects, chose to move to Gilmer, one of the state’s premier schools. He was familiar with Gilmer since Canton had defeated the school in a state semifinal game in 2005, and coach Jeff Traylor had a history of producing good quarterbacks. However, the circumstances behind his move were contentious. Traylor was accused of unlawfully recruiting Kinne and was compelled to justify the move to the state sports authority following complaints from competing schools. Kinne said he was seeking for a new start.
“I’ve said it a million times before: The simplest thing for me was not to accept G.J. Kinne because I knew the backlash we’d get if we did,” Traylor, who is currently the head coach at UTSA, said. “He was a lightning rod, and it was completely unjustifiable. He’s such a wonderful person. I simply feel bad for those who don’t support G.J. Kinne.”
Kinne was never guaranteed the starting position by Traylor, but an injury to the regular quarterback opened the way. In 2006, Kinne had had another great season, passing for 3,216 yards and 47 touchdowns while only throwing one interception. He also ran for 400 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground.
He finished his high school career with the third-most throwing yards in state history. Apart from football, Kinne claims to have felt welcomed in the Gilmer community.
“Going to Gilmer was one of the greatest decisions I ever made since I learned so much about football and the community welcomed me and was extremely kind at the time,” G.J. said. “It was very amazing with everything that was going on in Canton.”
His life was forever altered as a result of his choice. Tulsa and Malzahn were linked by a new school that joined the recruiting mix.
Kinne had committed to Baylor, but Texas began to show interest in him when he was at Gilmer. This placed both the father and the kid in a difficult situation. When then-Texas coach Mack Brown contacted Gary Joe at Baylor, he promised not to recruit G.J. if it bothered him. Gary Joe, on the other hand, wanted the best for his kid. G.J. felt he would be betraying his father if he decommitted, but he also felt compelled to take advantage of the chance in front of him, despite the fact that he would be lining up behind incumbent Colt McCoy.
“Growing up in Texas, the University of Texas is the place to be. With Vince Young, they had recently won a national title “G.J. said. “It was difficult, but my father was OK with it since it was Texas and Mack Brown.”
“His understanding of the game and his ability to connect with players were both remarkable. It was just a matter of time until he became an on-field coach, I knew.” G.J. Kinne on Chad Morris
Kinne felt compelled to give it a go. However, after a year, he recognized that he wanted to be a part of a program where he could be a multiyear starter. Todd Graham was the head coach at Tulsa, where Kinne paid a visit. Graham played with Gary Joe in high school and hired him as a high school coach for the first time in 1995 at Allen High.
After popularizing and succeeding with the up-tempo spread system in Arkansas high schools, Malzahn was in his second offensive coordinator position at the college level. Malzahn reminded Kinne of Traylor, and Kinne had a “instant bond” with him. Kinne said, “I just felt very comfortable with him and the strategy he had for me and the offense.” “I felt I was a perfect match for his plan. I aspired to be a part of that system.”
Kinne made an immediate impact when he arrived. Malzahn said, “It wasn’t only about his skill.” “He was an opponent. You could see he had a coach’s mindset in all of our quarterback sessions. I had a feeling he’d be a terrific coach one day. That year, all I wanted to do was train him.”
Because of NCAA transfer restrictions, Kinne had to sit out his first year at Tulsa, but he saw Malzahn lead the nation’s No. 1 offense and knew his time would come. Unfortunately for Kinne, Malzahn was hired as the offensive coordinator at Auburn following the season.
Every year at Tulsa, Kinne had a new offensive coordinator, as well as a new head coach his final year. Malzahn, Mike Norvell, and Chad Morris all became head coaches as a result of their work as coordinators. In 2010, Kinne was named Conference USA Player of the Year under Morris. Kinne gained 3,495 total yards and 31 touchdowns in his last year at Tulsa, under first-year coach Bill Blankenship.
It might be enough to drive a young quarterback out of sport if he has to learn under a different offensive coordinator every year. But Kinne took notes from each instructor, noting what he liked and didn’t, knowing that one day all of his newfound information will be put to good use.
After signing as a free agent with the Philadelphia Eagles, it occurred again in the NFL. Chip Kelly was the head coach at the time, and Kinne felt right at home as soon as he opened the playbook, having had great success with the no-huddle spread at Oregon. Despite the fact that Kinne was the team’s fifth quarterback, he recognized an opportunity to assist the others. He shared an apartment with Mark Sanchez, whom he had met the previous season with the New York Jets. Sanchez had spent his whole career in pro-style offenses and was unfamiliar with the spread.
“I was battling for a place [in 2014], but at the same time, I knew I wanted to be a coach and work with those players,” Kinne said. “It was my method of assisting the team since I had ran these ideas previously and none of these people had.”
Kelly wanted Kinne to switch to receiver in 2015 after he joined the practice squad. There was one stipulation: the Eagles still wanted him to assist in the quarterback room with position coach Ryan Day, giving him another another link to a potential head coach. Kinne, on the other hand, was well aware that his days as a professional football player were limited. He began to think more about coaching since he was doing it on a daily basis.
G.J.’s determination regarding his future was sharpened after he saw his father battle for his life in high school: he would keep pushing ahead to one day become a coach. There was much too much pride at risk, but even more so was the unshakable conviction that coaching was his destiny and that nothing would stop him.
Many of G.J.’s coaches, including his father, started their coaching careers in high school. G.J., on the other hand, was emphatic that he would not coach high school. After what happened to his father, he doesn’t think so. His desire to coach, though, remained strong. “My father always encouraged me to play as long as you can because the coaching would come,” G.J. remarked. “‘And the more experience you get and the more networks you form, the better off you’ll be in the long run.’”
He not only had NFL ties, but he also had college connections. He was employed as a graduate assistant at SMU by Morris. On his college coaching career, this would be the first of his Tulsa ties.
“His understanding of the game and his ability to connect with players were both remarkable,” Morris added. “I knew it was only a matter of time until he became an on-field coach, and I knew he’d be able to pass on his expertise to his players.”
G.J. Kinne’s previous experience at Hawaii and at the quarterback position in general has helped him rapidly gain starter Dillon Gabriel’s confidence. UCF Athletics/Terrance Coakley
Kinne joined Morris at Arkansas as an offensive analyst, then accepted a position as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Hawaii under Graham. No. 2 Tulsa link Malzahn called after just a year. He kept an eye on Kinne’s career, and when he was hired at UCF, he wanted someone who was acquainted with his system and willing to let Malzahn call the plays. No. 3 Tulsa link
“I was keeping an eye on him,” Malzahn said. “Despite the fact that I was unable to instruct him, we formed a connection. It’s one of those coach-player relationships, particularly among quarterbacks. You’re getting really close.”
Kinne has been working with Gabriel on the coach-player connection since his arrival. The two had an instant connection. Despite the fact that Kinne only spent one year in Hawaii, her experience as a coordinator has been priceless. Gabriel is from Hawaii, and the relationship has been beneficial to both of them.
“He knows where I come from, small language, and why I behave the way I act after being in Hawaii for a year and being around that culture, and that’s something I’m really thankful for,” Gabriel added. “I haven’t had that since I was in high school, and now that I do, he’s someone I can speak to about anything.”
Despite the fact that Malzahn will be calling plays this season, Kinne offers the kind of feedback Malzahn needs due to his familiarity with the scheme. Gabriel detailed the chemistry between the three of them in the film room, where they’ve spent hours working through ideas and plays as the season approaches.
“That’s something I’m grateful for because they’re extremely welcoming of my ideas and really appreciated what I was thinking, and we’re always on the same page, which is rare,” Gabriel added.
Kinne, Gabriel said, is always questioning him in the film room about his progressions, various defenses he could face, and what he should do if he begins to feel pressure. Kinne has essentially forced him to think quicker and more critically about not just what he has to accomplish, but also what might happen after the ball is snapped.
Kinne thinks Gabriel’s accuracy is already there, comparing him to Nick Foles and Sam Bradford, two of the most accurate quarterbacks he’s ever seen. Gabriel’s collaboration on film study has also pleased Kinne, especially given that he is learning a whole new offense.
“Some of the things we’re doing in terms of protection that maybe they didn’t do in the past, the way he was able to pick it up, and the questions he was asking, they were NFL questions,” Kinne said. “These are the kinds of things that people with five, ten years in the league ask, not necessarily a man who hasn’t done this before, so that was remarkable.”
Kinne is learning from Malzahn in the same manner that he did at Tulsa all those years ago. Malzahn may be able to assist him in taking the next step in his professional development.