There is no question that the University of Miami is one of the most decorated and successful college football programs in the nation. Each year their players seem to dominate the NFL Draft and yet the following year, the Hurricanes still field a team capable of winning a National title. The University of Miami has done this despite its share of coaching changes as well. Through the years and the coaching and personnel changes, one thing has remained constant: former Hurricane players living up the tradition set in place by those who treaded before them.
As a long time fan of college football, I have watched and read a lot about the games, universities and the players that have made Saturdays in the fall so special. One of my most cherished moments just happens to involve those very same Hurricanes and in what may have been the birth of the nickname "Hurrishames", when they played in the 1986 National Championship game in the Fiesta Bowl against the Penn State Nittany Lions. It wasn't that the Vinny Testeverde led Hurricanes lost the game that made it so memorable but rather it was made so much sweeter following the team's decision to wear camo fatigues off the plane in Tempe as well as showing up at the game wearing the same getup.
Honestly though, there has been many incidents of "Hurrishame". There was Michael Irvin's serving prison time for a drug charge, Ray Lewis, while not convicted was charged with murder in Atlanta following a Super Bowl (not the Ravens') party, Jeremy Shockey showcased his interview skills early in his career and is still good for a controversial statement or two and of course we have Kellen "Evel Knievel" Winslow's motorcycle instruction class soon to be available on DVD, just to mention a few notable incidents. Until now, the Redskins had not had to deal with the "Hurrishame" mystique. But thanks to second year safety Sean Taylor, the Redskins can now add their name to the list of teams who have been forced to deal with this unexplained phenomenon of former Hurricanes and their lack of judgment, character and immaturity.
It is too early to tell what will happen with Taylor or how the Redskins will deal with this situation but considering the charges facing the 22 year old Pro Bowl alternate, the Redskins have no doubt formulated a contingency plan to fill the safety spot. The felony charges, as reported by the Miami Herald are aggravated assault (with a firearm) and battery. The charges come following an incident Wednesday morning around 1 a.m. in which Taylor is charged with pointing a firearm at a person(s) whom he believed had stolen an ATV from him. During the incident, Taylor is also reported to have physically assaulted one of the persons believed to have stolen his property.
Considering the brief history of Taylor with the Redskins, he has already assured himself as one of the most notorious players to wear the burgundy and gold. The fact that he is doing this under the Gibbs' regime has many people scratching their heads as Gibbs' mantra has always been that he wants "character" guys on the roster. Perhaps he should have been more specific about what kind of characters he wanted because Taylor's sure doesn't fit the mold of the Gibbs coached Redskins.
Taylor had already drawn the ire of the Hall of Fall coach last season when he skipped a day of the league mandated rookie symposium and later in the season he was arrested for drunk driving. That charge was dismissed but he was still charged with the refusal to submit to a blood-alcohol test.
Even if you ignore the fact that Taylor has refused to attend any of the voluntary workouts with his teammates at Redskins Park, you can not ignore his refusal to even return calls to Coach Gibbs. Maybe the organization will get lucky and the judge who hears Taylor's case will be a Redskins fan and will grant him work release with the team and name Gibbs' as his supervisor. Until then, the Redskins have excused Taylor from the upcoming mini-camp to sort out his affairs. Then again, do the Redskins or the fans want him?
So what to make of the "Hurrishame" mystique? Should teams looking to draft a Miami player tread lightly? Should all players from Miami be treated the same way? Obviously the University of Miami shouldn't be indicted simply based on the actions of what is only a portion of the players that they send into the NFL but it is difficult to ignore those actions and the fact that they all came out of one school. Unfortunately for the Miami players, both current and former, they will continue to be painted with the same paintbrush as long as Hurricane players are in the news for all the wrong reasons.
To think that perhaps all this could have been avoided if Sean Taylor had simply did what the rest of his teammates had done and came into workout as a team. Or maybe he could have returned a call to someone who believed in him enough to make him a millionaire just for playing a game that many others would play for free. Then again, not caring for anyone but yourself seems to be a common denominator in all of the "Hurrishame" incidents.