Chris Cortez and Taryn Griffin speak with Jeanette Thompson of Raiders.com. (Oakland Raiders)
NFL people do all sorts of things during the one time of the year when there's actual time off -- the five-week period between the end of mandatory minicamps and the start of training camps in late July. Many will go on vacations with their families, while most rookies will stick around the facilities of their new teams and try to get a jump on the playbooks.
Then again, you could do what Oakland Raiders assistant athletic trainer Chris Cortez did, and save a Bay Area woman from a sinking car! This happened last Saturday, as Cortez, his wife and neighbor Taryn Griffin were driving past the Oakland estuary and saw a car starting to sink. Cortez gave all his stuff to his wife, and he and Griffin went into the "stinky water."
"We were driving home, and Taryn yelled out, 'There's a car in the water!" Cortez told Raiders.com. "We saw about eight cars on the road, and about 15 people standing out there and looking at the lady that was in the car, in the water, in the estuary ... We got the woman to roll down her window and the car started going under. Taryn, being the awesome swimmer that she is, dove right in and so I just went in right after her. And so did another individual, and we got her out of there without a scratch, which is pretty amazing."
Local media was not able to ascertain exactly why the woman had her car so far out in the estuary.
Griffin, who is a nurse, was ready for the challenge. Though as she said, she's used to more controlled environments.
"I couldn't just watch a lady drown," Griffin said. "I didn't know if she spoke English, because she wasn't responding. So, I was using sign language as best I could to tell her to roll down the window."
"It was more a reaction than sitting and thinking [about it]," Cortez said. "It goes along with our business that if something happens, we've got to be right on top of it. It was fortunate that we were there at that time."
Ever the careful professional, Cortez also mentioned that he and Griffin were observing one of the first rules of water safety. "We had already eaten, and it had been over 30 minutes, so we didn't catch any cramps in the water. We were fantastic!"
No argument here. Cortez did sustain minor injuries in the incident, but as any football guy would do, he shook it off.
"[I had] a couple scratches on my feet, but that's nothing compared to saving a life."
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