The Long Road Back

May 1st, 2009

A bit later this morning, Joe is going to have an article dealing with Bucs seventh round pick, wide receiver Sammie Stroughter of Oregon State. The talented wide receiver went through a nasty bout of depression that nearly ended his football days, if not worse.

The perspective from the article Joe will have later will not be found any where in the Tampa Bay Fourth Estate. Not only will it be a must-read for Bucs fans, you will likely want to e-mail the link to your Bucs friends.

For a primer to the article, Joe brings you a Sports Illustrated Vault article on how Stroughter dealt with his depression.

Depression crept up gradually, worming its way into his life and tightening its grip on him, making him question everyone and everything. It was not normal for the kid from Sacramento to walk into the football office and not say “hi,” to avoid eye contact and slouch his shoulders. When Stroughter walked into a room, everyone knew it. He was the one teasing the secretaries until they giggled, high-fiving all his coaches and giving out hugs to anyone who wanted or needed them.

Hull was the first to notice something wasn’t quite right early in the summer of ’07. Stroughter had just lost three uncles, most notably Kenneth Hill, the man who first introduced him to sports. Hill had died in a freak car accident and his death shook Stroughter to the core. Because of a previous commitment, Stroughter couldn’t attend the funeral in California.

He beat himself up for not being there, believing he was letting his family down. Hull didn’t know the details, but sensed something was wrong. Immediately Hull went to Beavers head coach Mike Riley.

“Something’s up with Sam,” he told Riley. Hull might as well have said something was wrong with Riley’s own son, because within days, Riley and his staff were hatching a plan to get the player they loved back.

Based on the information and feedback Joe received for the later article on Stroughter, Joe thinks there’s a chance the Bucs may have the steal of the draft.

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