So the World Wide Leader put out an article breaking down their Top 25 athletes that never fulfilled their potential. Instead of rehashing the whole thing, took my liberties and pulled the excerpts from this list for anyone born after 1985.
No. 25 Matt Leinart: This guy was the king at USC, living the absolute life. Winning every game imaginable, taking home National Championships w/ Reggie Bush and co., all while just basically taking elective classes like Ballroom Dancing his senior year. Like I said, living the life. Gets drafted Top 10 into what seemed like a great situation in Arizona except Kurt Warner ends up going on a late career tear so any chance Leinart had of starting in AZ was gone after that. Bounced around a lot after that, but never was able to put it together, got a last grasp as the 3rd string guy for the Houstons and by some freak miracle both guys ahead of him go down and Leinart has a chance to revive is career..immediately gets sacked and destroys his shoulder, career over. It’s a shame because he was great in college, but has parlayed that into a pretty solid career on FS1.
No. 24 Bo Jackson: On this list for obvious reason. Bo Jackson could have been the greatest football player of all time, and also ya know dabbled in professional baseball making the 1989 All-Star team. A lot of guys talk a big game, and many pros got drafted in multiple sports, but Bo was dominant in two professional sports at once – before the damn hip injury derailed his career. Now he spends his time being a freak athlete in other ways, like being scary good with a bow and arrow. Bo Knows, indeed.
No. 17 Aaron Hernandez: Goddamn angel dust. Hernandez was so, so good. Just an absolute beast of an athlete, too big for cornerbacks to cover and too fast for linebackers. Belichick was using his as a freaking running back and he was breaking off 30 yard runs. Then someone had to smudge his Puma’s in the club and set him off into a murderous rage, which as it turns out wasn’t exactly a new thing for Aaron..allegedly.
No. 16 Vince Young: Vinsanity, VY, Madden Cover Boy, Offensive Rookie of the Year. This dude was a stud in college, crushing the absolute soul of the aforementioned Matt Leinart, and then had a great rookie year obviously. Then the league adapted, his accuracy issues caught up to him, or the pressure became too much, or maybe working for Jeff Fisher just drove him nuts. I mean I’d throw all my shit in the stands too if Jeff Fisher was on my ass all day. At least he won’t be known for any outlandish quotes like being on some sort of Dream Team.
No. 10 JaMarcus Russell: Another mammoth human being who dominated in college, No. 1 overall pick (got PAID before the new CBA smartened up and stopped giving rookies $70 million deals) and then was basically a disaster from the start. Criticized for being out of shape and lazy so it’s hard to feel too bad for his flame out, but he has offered to play for the price of ‘on the house’ to launch a comeback. With such a terribly small crop of decent backup QB’s in the NFL, why not?
No. 7 Maurice Clarett: This guy just goes to show you can’t fight city hall. Petitioned to bypass the NFL Draft requirements and skip a year of college eligibility after accounting for 1,300+ yards and 18 TD’s as a freshman. A few gun charges later and Clarett’s getting cut by the Bronco’s before the end of camp. Woof.
No. 1 Greg Oden: Definition of dodging a bullet for any team not named the Portland Trailblazers. Again, absolutely dominant in college (noticing a trend here), and was the consensus No. 1 overall pick. Another guy who’s career was derailed by injuries pretty much immediately with Oden missing his entire rookie year after getting Microfracture surgery. He only played in 82 games TOTAL with Portland, which is legit depressing to think about if you’re a Blazers fan. The ping pong balls giveth and the ping pong balls taketh.