'Trouble' Runs Deep
By: Scott Moore 
Posted: 2003-05-11
Category: Washington Redskins News
Before he could walk, Laveranues Coles was dubbed "Trouble." Most people would associate the nickname with old headlines from his days at Florida State University. While Coles certainly found trouble, his nickname was given to him by his mother's doctor. Laveranues Coles was born after an extended labor - four days of labor. An off-hand comment by the attending physician regarding the length of the delivery stuck with Coles. 'This one's going to be trouble' - could have been forgotten. Instead, Laveranues was affectionately nicknamed "Trouble" by his mom.

"Trouble" was a natural athlete. Throughout his youth, he was known for his blazing speed. As a high school running back, Coles was one of the top prospects in the nation. He was recruited to Florida State University in 1996. Shortly thereafter, he was moved to his new position - wide receiver. Coles sent a buzz through the football world with his speed. A few years earlier, Deion Sanders had been clocked at 4.21 in the forty-yard-dash. On his first run, Coles posted an unheard of - 4.16. Surely there must have been a mistake, so Coles was asked to run again. He posted times of 4.17 and 4.18 to claim the title as 'Fastest Seminole'.

But trouble was soon to follow "Trouble." In 1998 he was involved in attempting to stop a fight. The fight was between Coles' step-mother and Coles' mother. As the step-mother removed her shoe and raised it to strike the mother, Coles stepped in. With emotions running high, the police were called. Nobody was seriously injured, no person was treated at the scene and nobody was hospitalized. In most cases, this might have gone unnoticed. But Coles was a member of the top-ranked FSU Football Team. His lawyer arranged a plea-bargain in which Coles was sentenced to 150 hours of community service. Further, Coles was placed on probation with the team.

In 1999, Coles' roommate at the time was a Heisman Trophy-hopeful named Peter Warrick. The two planned a trip to Dillard's Department Store. There they were allowed to purchase $400 worth of merchandise for about twenty-bucks. A hat, three shirts and a pair of jeans later, the pair were charged with felony counts of shoplifting. Once again, "Trouble" was in the national spotlight. Coles was kicked off the team, while Warrick was allowed to return. And with that, a promising First-Round NFL Draft Prospect became a potential "character problem" for any prospective NFL teams.

Finally, in the Third Round of the 2000 NFL Draft, Laveranues "Trouble" Coles was selected by the New York Jets. He struggled as a rookie, and the Jets struggled along with him. Head coach Al Groh would soon be replaced with a new coach... Herman Edwards. Edwards had seen Coles play in college, he had watched Coles on tape and liked what he had seen. Keyshawn Johnson, the former go-to, #1 WR was on his way out of New York. Edwards called Coles into his office - and the rest is history.

Edwards inspired Coles as a person, and as a player. Coles excelled in his new role as the Jets #1 guy. In 2003, Coles racked up 89 catches for 1,264 yards with 5 TD's - more than Wayne Chrebet and Santana Moss combined. The Jets management felt Coles was expendable, and refused to match the Redskins' seven-year $35,000,000 offer for Coles. The Redskins surrendered their first-round pick in exchange for Coles.

At the age of 24, Laveranues Coles in in the prime of his career. Older, wiser and more experienced, Coles is well equipped to handle the challenges ahead - both on, and off the field. The old saying: Never judge a book by it's cover. In this case should be: Never judge a man by his nickname. Like every young person, Coles made some mistakes. Unlike some in his profession, Coles has learned from those mistakes. He is known as a good teammate, a good person and a good friend to those that know him best. Laveranues Coles is exactly the kind of "Trouble" the Redskins need.
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