|Miami's Reddick set to get new start in pro ball|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 27 February 2009 23:45|
Run left. Run right. Run straight ahead.
Maybe even run away from his past, too.
Reddick's time with the Hurricanes will be best remembered by things he wishes people would forget. He blew out the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in 2005 and played one game. Blew out the ACL in his left knee playing pickup basketball in the spring of 2007 season and missed that entire season, too.
And most notably, there was the unforgettable scene of him running across the field, wielding his helmet high and swinging it wildly during the on-field brawl between Miami and Florida International in 2006, drawing a four-game suspension.
That's the message he has for the 17 teams who sent staff to the Hurricanes' practice field Friday for the annual pro day, where departing Miami players get poked, prodded, tested and measured by scouts evaluating talent ahead of the NFL draft.
In past years, pro day has been a circus at Miami. Not anymore; Friday's session was relatively low-key, and even the players running around under the hot South Florida sun realize that the Hurricanes' record streak of 14 straight years with a first-round draft pick will end.
``It's disappointing to be a part of that,'' said linebacker Glenn Cook, another of the Miami players who worked out Friday. ``But it doesn't take away from our school, our program.''
Reddick didn't mind, either. All he wants is to catch the eye of some team - and convince those people that he deserves a shot at the NFL.
He was an All-American at the South Florida superpower high school St. Thomas Aquinas, and was wooed by Ohio State, Florida State and Georgia before signing with Miami. As a true freshman in 2004, Reddick played 11 games, and by year's end was one of only three true freshmen in the starting lineup. He blocked punts, made interceptions, defended passes, whatever the Hurricanes needed.
Reddick was Miami's starting strong safety for the 2005 season opener at Florida State, got hurt in that game, and the downward spiral began.
The fight against FIU - the one where 18 Golden Panthers and 13 Hurricanes drew suspensions for their actions - was rock bottom.
``The person that everyone saw ... it's truly not me and that wasn't a good reflection of my character,'' Reddick said days later, looking into a horde of television cameras as he walked onto the same practice field Friday's pro day took place upon to make a public apology.
After getting hurt in that 2005 opener, Reddick had to wait three full years before starting another game for the Hurricanes, but redeemed himself with 75 tackles this season, playing in all 13 games.
The brawl, the knee surgeries, everything negative was finally behind him.
He worked his way into Miami's good graces again, and knows he'll still likely have to answer for those actions when interviewed by NFL clubs.
``I put myself in those situations, especially the fight. The injuries, I can't do anything about those, but I'll tell them the truth about what happened,'' Reddick said. ``I made a mistake. What I did was wrong. There's nothing else about it. I'm not going to let it bring me down at all. I'm sorry for it, I owned up to it and I moved on with my life.''
Reddick has nothing to hide, and that includes how his knees are feeling. He insists he's never been stronger, even making a facetious offer to jump from a two-story-high balcony after all the scouts trudged off the pro day field.
He's not listed highly on any draft boards. He isn't listed at all on many of them.
Somehow, someway, he just wants a shot to get inside an NFL camp this summer. If that happens, Reddick insists he'll take care of the rest.
``All I need is an opportunity,'' Reddick said. ``I'm a football player. I know I am. I'm a great one at that. Opportunity is all I need, and I'll go from there.''