"A waste of talent." "Maurice Clarett Part 2."
Those phrases were pretty much universally used to describe Michael Dyer after he was pulled over on an Arkansas highway with weed and a gun in his car. He had already been given the boot at Auburn, and after getting a second chance with Gus Malzahn and Arkansas State, he quickly fumbled it away with another bout of off-field trouble. When Malzahn dismissed Dyer from the Red Wolves, pretty much everyone assumed it was only a matter of time before Dyer was arrested for one felony or another.
Instead, the running back moved home, enrolled at Arkansas Baptist and earned his associate's degree. Now he's enrolling at Louisville, where he'll have two more years of eligibility -- a final chance to make a name for himself on and off the field. It may be too much to expect a huge year out of Dyer after so much time off, but by the time 2014 rolls around, he should be back in prime condition. More importantly, he's getting a final chance to be a stand up citizen and use his natural talent, instead of letting it fall by the wayside. If you believe Dyer, he's a changed man.
"I'm only gonna go to school, make good grades and play football," Dyer told USA Today's George Schroeder. "I don't bring anything with me. No registered gun, and I'm not gonna waste your time smoking marijuana. I want to put a jersey on, sweat and play football. I want to show people the true Michael Dyer."
Should Auburn fans care whether or not Dyer keeps his life on track at Louisville? Not really, no. The last time he made headlines on the Plains, it was for testifying at Antonio Goodwin's armed robbery trial, saying he smoked synthetic weed with his teammates and that it was his gun used during the crime. It's understandable that fans in orange and blue have washed their hands of the situation. Personally, I'll be rooting hard for Dyer.* I really want him to succeed and not end up like Clarett, spending years in a federal prison. Maybe I'm a sucker, but I believe Dyer got an inflated ego after his BCS championship performance and felt he could do whatever he wanted. He was just a kid at the time, and he made some stupid decisions, for which he justly faced consequences. He's not necessarily a bad person.
*Unless, of course, Auburn somehow plays Louisville in a bowl game over the next two years. If that happens, I'll be cursing his name for roughly three hours.
I'd like to think he's grown up, learned from his mistakes and is ready to live up to the accolades he earned coming out of high school and in his first season at Auburn. If I'm wrong, it will be easy to write of Dyer because he won't receive any more chances. For his sake, here's hoping I'm right.
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