As one Facebook friend was tapping into the same wavelength I’ve been on, that this “vacancy” was never open to both players, another was alerting me to something I find far more interesting: that you jump on opportunities when they present themselves.
Yes, it was a fun dog-and-pony show that Chip Kelly put out there for the masses. Tebow vs. Barkley. Two names with different games. One an econo-buy version of the standard pro signal-caller and the other an anomaly of the highest order, perhaps too good a person to play this game and perhaps too bad a player to play it, either.
Regardless, this was a done deal the moment Tebow signed with the Eagles months ago. The reality is, Barkley has been on display for work elsewhere ever since that moment.
The real story is, how did things get to this point for that kid? As a junior in college, Barkley was the toast of L.A., racking up ridiculous numbers and giving Southern Cal fans not only hopes, but expectations of another Heisman AND national championship. He was that damn good; 39 TDs, 3,528 yards and a 161.2 rating confirmed so.
Then came the early-departure questions. Would he leave for the NFL draft? Should he leave for the NFL draft?
Tantalized by the prospect of the Trojans finally coming off probation, a strong supporting cast in tow, a love for the college life and he ever-silly, kid-like belief that he was invincible, he opted to stay for his senior season. The millions could wait, he thought. Besides, talk then was that while he might be a top-10 pick coming out as a junior, he very well could be the overall No. 1 following his senior year.
Only things didn’t go as planned. USC bottomed out early, and Barkley’s throwing shoulder bothered him all season. He was, for all intents and purposes, damaged goods by then. Not even comparable numbers that last campaign in college (36 TDs, 3,273 yards and 157.6 rating in one fewer game) seemed to matter.
Kelly, having faced the young man while coaching at USC’s Pac-12 rival school Oregon, took a flier on him in the fourth round of the 2013 draft anyway. Barkley, mainly, has been third on the depth chart ever since.
Then Tebow entered the equation, and, now, with hindsight, you have to wonder: what in the heck was Barkley thinking back then?
Enjoy Phoenix, bud.
- Jack Kerwin | email@example.com