Mark Asper hopes to someday be known as a starting NFL offensive lineman but for now the Bills rookie has to settle for being known as “The Heimlich Guy.”
Buffalo’s sixth round pick in the draft last month was a three year starter for the Oregon Ducks but his fame, to this point, has come for performing the Heimlich maneuver on the father of an Oregon student during Rose Bowl week. Asper was taking part in the annual “Beef Bowl” which pits the two Rose Bowl combatants in a battle to see which team consumes more beef.
Asper, who did his part by downing four pieces of Prime Rib, was on the losing squad but saved a life and was told that University of Wisconsin fans began referring to him as “The Heimlich Guy.” You can listen to Asper tell the story during a segment on the WGR Morning Show and find out why he hasn’t kept in touch with the man whose life he saved.
As to football, Asper was one of many rookies in town for a minicamp this past weekend and finished his first workout feeling good. “My head spun a bit”, the 6-6, 319 pound Asper said. “Playing center(new position for him) with a new offense, a new scheme, new calls and new people.”
Asper made 13 starts at right tackle for the Ducks and 25 at right guard, where he played last season. Prior to the Bills minicamp, he spent a week taking a crash course on center at the University of Oregon.
“I knew coming in I had more work cut out for me,” the 26 year old Asper told WGR. “The other guys have played their positions for three or four years. They can rely on muscle memory or old technique. I was looking at the defense from a new spot in the line which made things look a little different at first and having to worry about getting the ball to the quarterback made things different so I knew I had to hit the playbook and act like I belong here.”
Yes, you did read that correctly. Asper is 26 years old. He spent two years on a mission in Spain. Not only is he 26 but he’s also married and has two daughters so he isn’t your typical rookie by any means. Asper was serious about his education as well, earning two undergraduate degrees from Oregon and he is currently working on a graduate degree.