So much wiser, and no regrets.
It could only be considered great news for Al Golden and Miami Hurricane fans everywhere that three prominent University of Miami football players announced on Monday that they would forgo the opportunity to enter the 2013 NFL(U) draft and return for their final seasons at "The U".
Offensive linemen Brandon Linder and Seantrel Henderson and defensive tackle Curtis Porter all announced that the would be back in a Hurricane uniform for the 2013 season at a press conference specifically held at UM to announce their decision.
UM Head coach Al Golden had this to say about each of the three players:
Golden on Henderson..."I'm really proud of Seantrel. He exhibited patience and self-restraint and approached this business decision with transparency and maturity. Instant gratification and leaving would have been easy for Seantrel; instead, he's accepted the challenge to become the best person and player he can be. Coach Art Kehoe, (Head Strength) Coach Andrew Swasey, Coach Jedd Fisch and I are anxious to assist him and his family achieve all of their goals and develop him into the type of player we all know he can be."
Golden on Linder..."We're blessed to have Brandon returning to our football team. He has clearly grown over the last year and has been a beacon of consistency for our student-athletes during an extraordinarily turbulent time. He's not only the most experienced Miami Hurricane having started 29 games in his career, possessing at 24 consecutive games started streak, but he is a tremendous student and one of our finest leaders. You can see in his demeanor that he has
unfinished business on his mind and is excited about returning to Coral Gables for the 2013 season. Brandon will be considered among the best at his position in the ACC, if not the country."
Golden on Porter..."We're excited to have the opportunity to work with Curtis for an entire year. He's had some unfortunate injuries which have encumbered his development over the last couple of years; however, he really came on strong during the last half of the year for us. He exhibited to everyone associated with our program a glimpse of what he can become. Curtis is talented - he's smart, strong, powerful and explosive yet has room for development on and off the field. If he continues to trust his coaches, cultivates his position skills and develops consistency in his daily approach to football, he will undoubtedly develop into the type of player he wants to become."
The decision to return was not considered a surprise to most as it was widely accepted by those in-the-know that if the players made good decisions based on the their current draft status that they would return for their Senior seasons. Apparently each of the players realized that they have the ability and opportunity to improve their draft stock with another year of strength conditioning, player development and technique polishing at Miami.
Yet, some fans still openly asked: "Why hold a presser just to announce that they would return?" It is my opinion that the UM Sports Information office wants to establish consistency in the process for this and coming years. The process and format will look and feel the same regardless whether players decide to stay or leave early. We think that is a very smart idea.
If you only hold a press conference when players are leaving then it becomes pretty obvious about the intent and outcome of the presser don't you think? Also we believe that it is just as important to announce that players are getting good and accurate info on their current draft status and decide to return when it is in their best interests to do so for them individually and their team collectively.
This year's announcements were in stark contrast to last year when several UM players decided to leave early in spite of what appeared to be inaccurate and/or misleading information about their potential draft position based on the alleged promises of an particular local sports agent.
One source indicated to us that a few of the players that left early last year already had at least one foot out the door before they met with UM head coach Al Golden to discuss the issue, gather information from impartial and unbiased NFL draft experts and make a wise decision.
Simply put, that is not very wise. And here is a little fact to prove it: Of the 69 underclassmen that declared early for the NFL draft last year, 25 went un-drafted. But it is not only about the players that go un-drafted it is about those who never reach their maximum draft potential and wind up being selected much lower than some agent in their ear may have projected.
The lower initial signing bonus, less guaranteed money and a shorter term contract is often the result of dropping from a projected first-rounder to a third round pick, or from a third rounder to a sixth round selection. That money is in most cases lost forever and never recouped by the typical NFL player who's average playing career is around 3-5 years.
Which brings us back to the title of our article. It is very refreshing and encouraging to see that many of the players now at UM under Golden's leadership are not only another year older, but much, much wiser as a result of following "The Process".
With that being said, we all want to send our best wishes and a ultra-loud Canespace shout-out of respect to UM student-athletes Brandon Linder, Seantrel Henderson and Curtis Porter for their faith in Al Golden and their commitment to the University of Miami football program.
Another year older, so much wiser, and no regrets.