Most in-state football fans figured that, when Texas LB Sergio Kindle was drafted by the Ravens back in April, that they'd be hearing his name again soon. A talent like that landing on a defense like that? What could possibly go wrong?
Looks like it was the off-the-field stuff we couldn't predict.
Kindle has been hospitalized and is now in stable condition after reportedly falling down two flights of stairs at a home in Austin. He was evaluated for neck and head injuries and is not expected to suffer any long-term effects from the spill. Unfortunately for Kindle, who suffered through a variety of off-field issues during his college days with the Longhorns, such a vague incident is leaving the door wide-open for unpleasant speculation, and it's my sad duty to report that the Baltimore Sun felt it necessary to divulge the majority of his less savory problems over the past four or five years.
Is it really newsworthy? Does the Sun have an obligation to report things like that, with no evidence this most recent accident is at all related to history? That's for their editor to decide. But I guess the lesson is made plain: You can never go back and undo past sins. If this accident does turn out to be a direct result of drug or alcohol abuse, his career will already be in jeopardy. Here's hoping he gets healthy before anyone casts the first stone.
Luckily, not everyone we remember from our college days is caught up in cloud cover. Let's not forget that Colt McCoy just signed a four-year deal with the Browns. We surely won't see him play this year, but odds are he'll be under center in 2011. This may be the last time we hear his name for a while — probably good after the constant spotlight he was stuck with in college.
And this is a story worth reading about the wonderfully kooky Lamarr Houston, who's made an impression on the Oakland Raiders in no time flat. Apparently he has the personality to match his on-field presence! But in all seriousness, Houston has a chance to make an impact immediately for the moribund Raiders' franchise — he's quick, agile and ferocious, and someone's doing something right if they've realized his potential to play at either end or tackle.
And by the way — if players are getting worked up at him over going hard in practice, then I think we unearthed at least one more little reason why Al Davis' team has been a consistent loser.
And lastly, the news that Dez Bryant has a backbone came as a pleasant shock to me. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I've always thought that "hazing" is a stupid practice in general. Just a way for boys to feel more important than they are. Know what girls do when they get signed onto sorority? They get presents. Boys push each other down the stairs with the hands taped to their rears and sock stuffed in their mouths. And we do it because it makes us older boys feel in charge. Don't give me the argument that it happened to you, too, that it's a rite of passage. That just means someone years ago did it to feel powerful, and the victim did the same, etc. It's foolish stuff.
And Dez has every right to refuse to grovel before Roy Williams. And you know what the best thing is? He handled the response perfectly. He could have easily landed in hot water had he attacked Williams' production, or his overall career, or compared their talent levels. But he didn't — he went right to the heart of the matter. We're here to win, he said. We're a team. Our goal is to win games, not to pay homage to silly, meaningless rites of passage that only inflate the ego of half involved.
He's right, you know. Hazing is divisive, not cohesive. And isn't cohesion ingredient No. 1 for success?
Williams responded with some pithy comments about what you do to take care of non-responsive rookies, even making some rather threatening remarks about credit cards and such. And you know what? If he responds as such, he's the bad guy, and everyone knows it. He's best to just swallow this jagged pill ... and spend more time catching footballs than harassing rookies.