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Is Ahmad Brooks in our future?

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; I caught up with Ahmad Brooks the other day. The former UVa. All-American linebacker has kept a pretty low profile since rumors began swirling last winter about him being thrown out of Virginia. Brooks says he had been talking with ...

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Old 05-21-2006, 03:34 PM   #11
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I caught up with Ahmad Brooks the other day. The former UVa. All-American linebacker has kept a pretty low profile since rumors began swirling last winter about him being thrown out of Virginia. Brooks says he had been talking with coach Al Groh and athletic director Craig Littlepage about being allowed back into the program, and he believed he had a good shot. Then in late March, Brooks logged on to ESPN.com and learned the school had dismissed him.
The reason, he was later told, was due to the cumulative effect of his irresponsibility. He had missed too many classes and workout sessions. Liberty and Hampton, a pair of local I-AA schools, had called, but Brooks wasn't interested in transferring. He was convinced that whatever issues NFL scouts had, he would have to face at some point.

It seemed to be quite the fall for a guy many had once projected as a top-10 draft pick. After all, Brooks, the son of former Redskins D-lineman Perry Brooks, was a guy scouts had been marveling at for a few years. Back in 2004, despite weighing 260 pounds, he actually doubled as a returnman. As a linebacker, he notched eight sacks and made 90 tackles. He could've turned pro then, but didn't. Brooks didn't feel 100 percent healthy. He had a cyst behind his right knee, which was removed last March and forced him to miss the first three games of the 2005 season. When Brooks returned, he was sluggish and way out of shape. He sat out the Cavaliers' bowl game because of a sore back. Rumors began to swirl that Brooks was about to get booted from the program. The rumors ranged from a supposed positive marijuana test (in 2003, Brooks pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor marijuana charge and spent six months on probation) to him blowing off workouts.

Brooks and Ohio State's Mike D'Andrea were the most hyped linebackers in their high school class. And that was something Brooks couldn't get out of his mind as he sat in an Atlanta-area apartment alone watching the NFL draft. He says one thought kept coming back to him: That should've been me.

Brooks is part of a package we ran in the next issue of ESPN The Magazine. The article focuses on how a guy with baggage can try to build back his credibility. Regardless of his potential, it won't be easy.

About a month ago, Brooks' agent Greg Williams sent him down to Duluth, Ga., to train with Competitive Edge Sports' Chip Smith, the guy who got former NCAA exile Mike Williams ready for his pro day last spring. "I knew Ahmad needed to show people rather than me trying to sell somebody something," Williams said.

Brooks arrived in Georgia in April, he says, weighing more than 285 pounds. "The first day, he puked seven times," Smith said, but added that Brooks kept going.

CES's nutritionist changed Brooks' diet, cutting out all salt and sugar and late-night binging. Brooks started eating breakfast -- something he seldom did before. Smith's rule: Workouts begin at 9. If you're late, you're gone. "He's usually here 45 minutes early," Smith says. One month into the training, Brooks is down 10 pounds and hopeful that he can get to 260 for his pro day. (That'll take place at UVa., about two weeks before the supplemental draft. On June 16, the NFL will tell him the date.) He's also picking the brains of NFL vets Nate Wayne, E.J. Johnson and Hannibal Navies, who are training at CES as well.

Brooks realizes everyone doubts him. He knows after Maurice Clarett flopped, it's not a good time to be seen as a gamble. He stopped counting how many times he heard the word character on the draft show. To his credit, Brooks doesn't blame anyone else for his downfall at UVa. "I put myself in this boat," he said. "I know I've let a lot of people down -- I was the one who did the damage to my reputation and my family's reputation, but the first way I can prove that I'm not who they think I am is by showing them. By action."

Given the outcomes of other players who seemingly have less baggage, I didn't like Brooks' chances in the supplemental draft, even if he showed up in terrific shape. But after speaking to him the other day, he sounded very contrite -- especially when we talked about his feelings for Groh. Brooks explained how he had apologized to him before he left. "I really felt like I had let him down," he said. "I mean, I came to the school to change that program around and get them to a national championship, and that obviously didn't happen."

Of course, saying the right things now is the easy part. Hopefully for Brooks' sake and those linked to him, he has finally grown up.

This is for you non-insiders

I know violence isn\'t the answer,
I got it wrong on purpose !!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 05-21-2006, 05:53 PM   #12
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That's the one. Thanks fellas.
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Old 05-21-2006, 07:07 PM   #13
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Bockwalt isnt a good LB so we need someone something Bockwalt just isnt cutting it...........
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Old 05-21-2006, 08:43 PM   #14
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thanks buck, appreciate ya posting such relevant info.
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