On Todd Gurley, Jameis Winston, Coaches and Character


Todd Gurley has had to face the music for his mistake, but is that necessarily a bad thing?

OK, Georgia fans…you’re upset. We get it. And it’s understandable.

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  • You don’t get to see your star running back play against Florida, or against Kentucky. While the loss of Gurley from the roster hasn’t hurt the Bulldogs so far, it possibly could, and this is a crucial time in the season.

    So, yes…be angered that you can’t watch Gurley run. You deserve that as fans, and you’re being cheated.

    But (and I can’t believe I’m writing this), don’t be mad at the NCAA because in this case they’ve actually done nothing wrong (well, outside of the punitive punishments of community service and restitution, but that’s for another story). In terms of the suspension punishment handed down to Todd Gurley, they followed the guidelines that are set up.

    Here’s what you can be proud of, however.

    Todd Gurley showed character. He didn’t deny the wrongdoing, and although he knew it would hurt him in certain ways, as well as his team, he faced the music and took his punishment without protest or objection. He showed remorse, and he showed appreciation for his teammates, his coaches and fans who have given him unwavering support.

    I’ve seen many of you asking on Twitter, Facebook and in emails to me, “What about Jameis Winston? Why are he and FSU not being punished? Why is Georgia being picked on…again?”

    What about him? He’s on his way to self-destruction, that’s one thing about him.

    But here’s the important thing to remember when you start comparing notes on the two players.

    If any of the speculation, guesses and unfounded reports are true, then both Todd Gurley and Jameis Winston will be ending their college careers after this season for the more luxurious and tranquil pastures of the NFL.

    Before any the odyssey of the 2014 season began, Todd and Jameis were both projected as first round, probable Top 10 picks. At this point, Gurley still is, possibly even Top 5.

    But Jameis? Oh no.

    You see, for all the great play that Winston displays on the field, he’s forgotten one important thing. There’s one thing that has become of paramount importance in the current NFL climate, dictated by the stupid and immature actions of a few players – the league is looking for character, and Winston has shown next to none.

    NFL scouts, general managers and coaches are going to look at Todd Gurley and say, not only is this an exceptional athlete but its obvious that he has been coached and taught to do the right thing. Kids make mistakes, but too few own up to them. If anything, Gurley’s draft stock has gone up.

    But with the string of incidents and entrails of questions dragging behind him, do you think any NFL team in their right mind is going to squander a first round pick on a guy like Jameis Winston, who may or may not completely embarrass their organization? Not in 2015…not a chance.

    Sep 20, 2014; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston (5) returned to the field after warming up in pads during pre game before their game against the Clemson Tigers at Doak Campbell Stadium. Winston was suspended for Saturday s game against Clemson pending an investigation into some alleged lewd comments he made on campus. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

    By Winston’s vehement denial of accepting any money for autographs (and you can argue with me until doomsday, I’m not buying into the flimsy explanation given by Jimbo Fisher) as well as every single low-class incident preceding the questions about Winston taking money for them, he has helped to cast a black cloud of doubt over his head.

    While Gurley is probably to be basking in the glow of becoming the first running back taken in the Top 10 (or even first round) in three years, Winston will likely tumble to the second, or even third round.

    Mark Richt chose to hold his values and the reputation of his program above its success on the field by interceding and suspending Gurley before the NCAA even had a whiff of any problems. Should evidence be found that Winston is also guilty of taking money for autographs, then Jimbo Fisher and the entire Florida State program will be hit and hit hard by the NCAA.

    So don’t be angry with the NCAA, and don’t be angry with Jameis Winston. Things have a way of evening themselves out and making amends, and while that might not be this season for Todd Gurley and the Bulldogs, in the long run something good will come of it.

    I doubt we’ll be able to say the same for Winston.