Before December 15, 2011, I was always greeted by a jovial WR #4 on my entrance into the locker room. On this particular day, he was not there. The warm and charming smile that radiated in the morning was nowhere to be found.
The receiver group bounced around the facility in hopes of finding him to defer any fines he would receive for missing meetings. We checked the hot tub, swimming pool, the field and even the bathrooms. Still, we could not locate WR #4 so we proceeded to the team meeting room.
During the team meeting, Coach Lovie Smith did not address the situation. But, when we split into offensive meetings Coach Mike Martz had a sly comment. While watching film, Coach Martz stated “Hey Sam did you see that? Oh yea that’s right he’s not here.” Immediately, every receiver looked at each other knowing there was something that was not being said. There was a larger issue looming beneath Coach Martz remark.
After the offensive meeting, we split into individual meetings (receivers only). Usually, Coach Daryl Drake would have a smile and a joke to get us started, but not today. Coach Drake’s expression warranted questions from the receivers. The first was WR#1 “Coach where is Sam” he replied “Sams in a lot of trouble.” The next question crystalized the severity, as WR #2 asked “Did he kill someone?” Coach Drake responded “No, but it’s the next tier below.”
Word quickly spread throughout the facility that he had been arrested on drug charges and was facing an extended period of jail time. Everyone was baffled and confused as one of our most religious, spiritual and uplifting teammates was a soon-to-be convicted felon. It sent shock waves through the locker room.