Two players names who have been dragged though the dirt the last few months are UNC defensive linemen, Marvin Austin, and Robert Quinn. For those living on another planet, the 2 former Tarheels were forbidden to play this past season due to taking illegal money/gifts and then lying about it to investigators. First, the percentage of NCAA players that truly take money would astound you. I visited Auburn's campus 10 years ago and all the players were driving Escalades. Huh?. Booster money. Either way, it was very clear Austin and Quinn are two players who carry heavy hearts, strong work ethics, and the motivation to succeed in the NFL. Let's start with Robert Quinn.
Robert Quinn attended Fort Dorchester High School in North Charleston, SC. His schedule much of his High School times included competing in wrestling, football, and working at a nearby Burger King. Quinn was 86-0 his last 3 years wrestling, which was clearly one of his strongest passions. That's what made it so much harder when he received the worst news of his life; Doctors had found a tumor in his brain. After several weeks in the hospital and the successful surgery removing the benign tumor, he eventually returned to the mat and won the State championship.
The sad part of this story is that the tumor occurred after his Senior Year football season. Ten collegiate teams, including Florida, Tennessee, Clemson, and VA Tech had extended scholarships, and to my amazement, almost ALL of the schools retracted them in the fear he wouldn't recover from the tumor. The Universities of North and South Carolina were the only teams to keep their scholarships on the table. Quinn, as we all know, went with Butch Davis.
Quinn has not had a headache since his surgery several years ago and has to conduct a MRI test every 6 months. One was done just before the combine and sent to all the teams for evaluation. My favorite Quinn combine quote came when a reporter asked him what NFL player he'd compare himself to:
I don't really compare. But people always tell me I'm ready to be the next Julius Peppers or DeMarcus Ware. I always tell them, 'Why do I need to be the second of somebody else? Why can't I be the first Robert Quinn?' But I guess being compared to them two ain't so bad."
Regarding his NCAA problems:
Like I said, I made a selfish mistake and I paid - me and my team and my family and coaches - paid a price for it. I truly apologized for it...When I took the jewelry, it was from a jeweler. In the back of my mind, it wasn't an agent, so I was thinking it wasn't as bad or wasn't bad at all. But coming all the way through, actually it was.
Marvin Austin post coming later today.