Muddled in all the emotions that go along with being selected in the NFL draft, two thoughts are probably pretty common among kid giants selected Thursday. Just how long is it acceptable to hug Commissioner Roger Goodell and, good or bad, my life has forever changed.
Like it or not, some of them will flourish while others will fail miserably. All of them will impart some legacy whether it is good or bad.
This is my top five list of all time sports bust.
5. Freddy Adu: Unless you are an avid soccer fan, the name Freddy Adu doesn’t mean anything more than a hill of beans. But to hardcore soccer heads he was supposed to be the chosen one to take soccer into the hearts and minds of American viewers.
At the ripe young age of 10, Adu was cutting through top-tier Italian youth teams like a surgeon. Him being an ESPN darling, prompted Inter Milan to offer him a six-figure salary to play. Four years later, Adu would make his professional debut for Major League Soccers’ D.C. United, making him the youngest to ever do so. After playing very uneventfully in the United States domestic league, he took his talents overseas.
At 22, the book on Adu is far from over, but to this point, the combination of youth and maturity has bogged down what was supposed to be the one chosen to change a sport and bring soccer to American viewers.
4. Dan O’Brien and Dave Johnson: In an effort to take advantage of the 1992 Olympic buzz, shoe demigod Reebok created one of the most memorable athletic campaigns. Before there was a werewolf or vampire team, there was Team Dan or Team Dave, two decathletes on the epic quest to bring fame and legend to the sport.
Then Dan failed to qualify for the Olympics.
Dave Johnson went on to take home a bronze medal and retired from international competition soon after. It should be noted that O’Brien went on to win a gold in 1996 in Atlanta. But as a pair, they were oil and water.
3. Brian Bosworth: The first look that most reporters got of Boz professionally was the linebacker entering the practice field in a helicopter. While playing for the Seattle Seahawks, he sued the NFL to be allowed to wear his collegiate number, and was on the wrong end of a collision with Los Angeles Raiders running back Bo Jackson in one of the most memorable moments in Monday Night Football history. Bo Knows.
2. Sam Bowie: Although Bowie’s NBA career lasted a decade he can’t escape being on this list. It is not that his numbers were horrific or that he had great expectations coming into the NBA. He will forever carry the title as the guy drafted in 1984’s NBA draft before basketball hall fame player Michael Jordan.
The lesser-known part of the Bowie story is that the Portland Trail Blazers already drafted a guard the year before playing the same position as Jordan. He did all right for himself too — Hall of famer Clyde “The Glide” Drexler.
1. Ryan Leaf: The great debate of 1998 wasn’t Google or Yahoo. It was who was going to be the better NFL pro Peyton Manning or Ryan Leaf. Well everyone knows how it turned out.
Leaf spent three years in the NFL and many more since his departure showing up in headlines for all the wrong reasons.