As White Cornerbacks Face Extinction, Breeding in Captivity Grows

KING CITY, Mo.  In this small town in northwestern Missouri, breeding animals is a way of life.  “My daddy bred jackalopes,” says Ernest “Woody” Fredrick, referring to the cross between a jackrabbit and an antelope that is rarely seen outside of the Midwest.  “But what we’re doing is something new.”

Brood mares


Fredrick is referring to an experiment to breed rare white cornerbacks in captivity here in the fertile land that produced Roger Wehrli, one of the last great white cornerbacks who played for the NFL’s Cardinals.  “He may fail,” says Oren Daily, Jr., a professor of animal husbandry at the University of Missouri of Fredrick’s experiment.  “But when an animal faces extinction, you’ve got to do something.”

Roger Wehrli


Cornerbacks breed without difficulty in nature, often producing children by cheerleaders and other exotic species.  “In captivity, it’s a different story,” says Daily.  “They get all skittish if they can’t roam from one bar to another, or at least nibble on a sideline reporter during a game.”

4H Club:  “Next year I’m gonna raise me a cornerback with a quick first step to the ball.”


So the prospects for success are not great, but Fredrick, in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s Extension Service, brought three white high school cornerbacks to his farm for breeding purposes, mating them to leggy young girls provided by the John Alston Modeling Agency of Kansas City.

“These are the same girls you see modeling fashion undergarments in regional newspapers,” Daily says.  “They’ve been chosen for their low body fat, and their willingness to slap you silly if you try to run a crossing route through their push-up bras.”

Jason Sehorn


The last white cornerback in the NFL was Jason Sehorn, who played for the New York Giants before a knee injury ended his career.  Sehorn has only one son, and environmentalists have become concerned that “The Species”–-as Sehorn was known during his playing days–-may die out if breeding in captivity fails.

“There is a 15-yard penalty for excessive celebration.”


“Perhaps we’ve been focusing too much on baby seals and whales,” concedes Evan Winslow of the Sierra Club.  “I’ve never seen a whale master the Cover 2 defense.”

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