From The Lowell Sun
Ex-Wilmington High football star’s invention is on the level
By David Pevear, email@example.com
Updated: 08/03/2014 01:50:05 PM EDT0 Comments
LOWELL — He points to a knee, to a shoulder, to an ankle, to his neck. Having just been asked which injuries from his football glory days still pain him, 61-year-old Mike Esposito keeps pointing to body parts.
“It’s a sick game,” says Esposito, a former star running back at Wilmington High and Boston College who played three NFL seasons with the Atlanta Falcons before his career was ended by a flunked physical in Houston because of his injuries.
After providing his listener with a quick tour of crushed vertebrae, numb fingers, long-gone cartilage and long-ago touchdown runs, Esposito points to a funny-looking plastic device on a table in front of him.
Esposito, who studied history and marketing at BC while rushing for 2,844 yards and scoring 27 touchdowns from 1972-74, channels his inner Thomas Edison; he describes an idea that came to him in his sleep after another day when he and a friend hobbled by Lyme disease labored to keep their construction projects straight and level.
Why isn’t there an easy-to-use hands-free bubble level that attaches onto anything regardless of shape?
Old aches and pains became the mother of invention. Such a device, “The Beny,” was born late last year. Esposito named it after a friend’s father.
One of Esposito’s old college teammates, Tom Ward, a marketing coordinator for a private-equity firm, is in on the ground floor.
NT Medical in Wilmington manufactures Esposito’s design. The level retails for $39.95 and is sold at a handful of lumber, masonry and hardware stores, including Martignetti Enterprises in Lowell. “The Beny” website already teems with testimonials from satisfied users. An infomercial could be in the works. The patent is pending.
Dennis Scannell, former head football coach at Lowell High and UMass Lowell who is president of Lowell Iron and Steel on Tanner Street, rolled his eyes when Esposito, an old friend with a million ideas, first tried to explain his invention to him.
“I’m thinking, ‘What is this? A part to a still? What is he getting me into?'” recalls Scannell, who back when he played football at Villanova, once caught BC’s Esposito from behind at the 1-yard line on a kickoff return.
Scannell now sounds like he is auditioning for the infomercial, “It’s better than I ever could have imagined,” says Scannell, who has used Esposito’s invention on numerous projects, including during the construction of the Richard P. Howe Bridge.
There must be something about the football mind that is always searching for the next way to beat the blitz, defend the screen, keep the Howe Bridge’s steel level. Tennessee Titans safety Bernard Pollard, a notorious Patriots-killer who as a Kansas City Chief took out Tom Brady’s left knee in the 2008 season-opener, recently patented a tray he invented that fits into sinks and is designed to alleviate clutter.
Football players think analytically when playing,” says Esposito. “It’s all training from sports.”
Esposito’s name is prominent in any discussion about this area’s greatest high school football players ever. Injuries his senior year in college caused Esposito to slip into the seventh round of the 1975 NFL draft. He began his senior season at BC projected as a possible first-round pick.
Esposito, who was Billerica High’s head football coach from 1983-89, lives in Hampton, N.H. with his wife Lee. They have two grown daughters and one grandson. Esposito has a company called Rockman Construction and two more construction-related inventions he is keeping secret until he applies for patents.
Football taught Esposito to be inventive and daring. He certainly had to be daring while running down on special teams during his NFL career.
He became more daring and inventive while serving as Paramount Pictures’ consultant for the filming of the football scenes in School Ties, a 1992 movie shot locally that starred Brendan Fraser, Matt Damon and Chris O’Donnell. The film dealt with anti-Semitism. Bitten by the movie bug, Esposito wrote a screenplay for a football-theme movie set in Boston during school desegregation.
“Five producers read it,” says Esposito. “But you have to be out there (in Hollywood) trying to push it for it to really have a chance.”
Esposito wondered whether any business venture could ever ignite that heightened passion he felt when playing football.
“At (age) 61, here it is,” he says, admiring “The Beny.”
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