Hurricanes Stay True to 'The U'

Say what you will about NCAA "student-athletes." Say they are on occasion not the most studious of students. Say they're using their college experience as a pro sports internship. Say they often enter school without any intention of exiting in the traditional cap-and-gown manner. ↵

↵Just don't tell me they don't care about the schools they attend or their college teammates. For the second consecutive year, I went and stood outside a club Saturday night as Santana Moss rolled up to celebrate his birthday party, not in a party bus filled with Redskins teammates, but in a party bus filled with teammates from the U. (The Redskins teammates arrived separately.) ↵

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↵Last year, I asked Reggie Wayne whether these bonds were stronger than the bonds connecting, say, the Indianapolis Colts. "Yeah, for REAL for real, and you can say it again," he told me. "We've been through all the hard times, all the hardship, and you understand all the pain ... It's a brotherhood, brothers from another mother all across the board, and it's a bond." ↵

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↵It's just like your fantasy football league. If you're like me, you have a draft both with your current co-workers, the guys you sometimes meet at the copy machine, and with your college roommates, the fellows whose vomit you once lovingly wiped from their passed-out necks. It's just a different sort of connection, and NFL players feel it, too. ↵

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↵This year, as Edgerrin James and Andre Johnson and others pushed through the crowd outside a downtown D.C. club, I again asked why these Miami guys are still doing things together. ↵

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↵"We always do," Johnson told me. "It’s something I can’t describe, but you know, it’s a beautiful thing that we have." ↵

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↵Anyhow, amid the cleavage and flashing cameras, I was thinking football, so I asked James whether he still has something left in his tank. ↵

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↵"Of course I've still got it," he said with a laugh. "I was in a bad situation. Just look at my track record. I averaged 4.5 yards a game the last five, six games. Trust me, there's nothing wrong with me. It was a passing team. You're not gonna find a top two or three passing team with a top running game. Choose one or the other. Show me a team that's No. 1 passing and No. 1 running. You ain't got enough time." ↵

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↵James, of course, was released by the Arizona Cardinals, and has been linked with teams like the Saints. But with Biz Markie en route and the club beckoning, he didn't feel like discussing any possible destinations Saturday night. ↵

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↵"I'm trying to think about football next month," he said. "I'm just gonna take it easy and enjoy what I'm doing right now." ↵

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↵With his collegiate teammates, of course. ↵

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↵For more of Dan Steinberg, visit his blog with The Washington Post, D.C. Sports Bog. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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