Michael Dyer has a BCS Championship ring. He also has two years of eligibility and a checkered past. Should anyone take a chance on him? And if so, who?
The former Auburn running back is 22 years old and has burned opportunities at two schools. Dyer was a freshman on Auburn's 2010 BCS Championship team. He was suspended for the 2011 Chick-fil-A Bowl due to failed drug tests, according to ESPN's Joe Schad. He also owned a gun that "was used by former Auburn teammates in a robbery in 2011."
Dyer wants a third chance, despite the obvious red flags surrounding him. "It's been very, very hard," he told Schad.
"But I'm not the same person I was. I've changed. I've grown up."
Dyer has reportedly cleaned up his act. The gun is gone. So is his drug use. "I've gone six months without [synthetic marijuana]," he said. "I have let go of the urges. I have done it with the help of my family."
Six months of sobriety is not very long for drug abusers. That is probably why Dyer has not received serious interest from BCS schools despite a career 2,335 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns at Auburn. Despite being named the Offensive Player of the 2011 BCS Championship game.
Dyer's uncle told Schad that Illinois State, Troy and Western Kentucky have made some contact with his nephew.
Dyer grew up in Little Rock, Ark. and has attended school at Auburn, Arkansas State and Arkansas Baptist. He feels comfortable in the South. Western Kentucky is a program on the rise in the South.
And its head coach knows all about getting second and third chances.
Bobby Petrino's rise and fall at Arkansas is a lesson to all student-athletes: No one is infallible. Petrino was dismissed from Arkansas in the spring of 2011 after it was discovered that he was having an affair with 25-year-old Jessica Dorrell.
Petrino had hired Dorrell four days before the two were involved in a motorcycle accident that exposed their relationship, according to an ESPN report. More:
"He made the decision, a conscious decision, to mislead the public on Tuesday, and in doing so negatively and adversely affected the reputation of the University of Arkansas and our football program," [athletic director Jeff] Long said, choking up at one point as he discussed telling players that their coach was gone.
"In short, coach Petrino engaged in a pattern of misleading and manipulative behavior designed to deceive me and members of the athletic staff, both before and after the motorcycle accident."
This was not the first time Petrino created drama at a football program. His abrupt exit from the Atlanta Falcons during the 2007 season was also controversial. But his dismissal from Arkansas looked like the final dagger.
Despite his brilliant offensive mind, he was toxic.
In December 2012, head coach Willie Taggart left Western Kentucky to coach at South Florida. Petrino was named the new head coach. He acknowledged that he was "grateful to be given the opportunity to become Western Kentucky's head football coach," according to multiple reports.
Giving Dyer a third chance at Western Kentucky would be therapeutic for Petrino. He can relate to Dyer's poor decisions more than any head coach. He has walked a mile in Dyer's toxic shoes. The two could have a symbiotic relationship.
The easiest decision for any school is to not sign Dyer.
What if Dyer has truly straightened out? And what if he set school records at Western Kentucky while keeping out of trouble? Petrino would have paid it forward by taking on a kid with a troubling past just as a football program did with Petrino.
It is a big risk. But taking a risk on a running back who wants to repair his image at such a young age is something that should ring true with Petrino. He cannot deny Dyer a chance because of the risk involved. Petrino would be a hypocrite.
Western Kentucky is the best option for Dyer.
Petrino would encourage Dyer to look forward to the future.
And Dyer, if he stays out of trouble, will have reminded Petrino that one can overcome the past.