Georgia moves on without heralded tailback

dshirley@macon.comJuly 6, 2012 

On Thursday, it was announced where Isaiah Crowell will continue his college football career.

Most Georgia fans are probably happy it’s not with the Bulldogs. And they have every right to feel that way.

Crowell’s stay with Georgia was short and troubled, and after his arrest last week, head coach Mark Richt and the school did the right thing by kicking Crowell off the team. After all of Crowell’s problems last season, there was no way he could continue with the team after this latest incident, and Richt and Georgia’s leaders should be commended for acting quickly.

Crowell also acted quickly, transferring to Alabama State to continue his career on the FCS level, a move that was announced less than a full week after his arrest and dismissal.

In that time, most Georgia fans had moved on from this story. Crowell’s act had worn thin because his play on the field never matched the hype surrounding him coming out of high school. And he certainly wasn’t good enough on the field to look past all of his problems off the field.

He was good. Just not that good.

Maybe Crowell will be better off as he moves on to a new program. Maybe he will be better off with a lower-profile team under a less intense spotlight he endured in Athens. Maybe he will get things straightened out and become a better football player, teammate and person.

Then again, maybe not.

Georgia certainly will move on without him, and the Bulldogs will be better off without him on the roster this fall. There is plenty of talent at tailback in Athens, including a strong group in the incoming freshman class, to allow fans and the team to shrug off Crowell’s departure and not be too upset about it. Those players will fill whatever void Crowell left behind, and the Bulldogs and their fans won’t miss a beat.

That’s the thing players who continue to get in trouble don’t seem to understand. Football programs on this level are bigger than one player. The departure of one talented but troubled running back isn’t going to bring down the team. Others will step in and take their turn with the ball, and the program will move forward.

Second chances for players are needed, if they see their mistakes, correct them and move forward. Crowell didn’t do that.

Alabama State can only hope that changes with a new team, coaches, teammates and situation.

That’s no longer Georgia’s concern, and this year’s team will be better off without all the distractions that seemed to follow Crowell.

Contact Daniel Shirley at 744-4227 or sports@macon.com

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