By Earl B. Bennett
April 2, 2009 I was back on Vanderbilt’s campus taking courses to fulfill my degree. My professor, former Vanderbilt football alum Roosevelt Noble, was always a treat. The course, Deviant Behavior, made it all the more intriguing. During one class period, things north of Nashville would drastically change.
I consider myself a consummate student and always hold myself accountable to be studious and coherent. After finishing a disappointing rookie year, I wanted to make sure I finished my degree in case the following year was my last year as a professional football player. The Sociology course was interesting, but a call from a particular individual quickly garnered my attention.
The call came in while the professor was talking. Respectfully, I declined the call and continued to pay attention. Then, he called back, which let me know it had to be serious. I had known the caller for quite awhile so a back-to-back call had to be taken seriously. I stood, walked out of class and took the call.
As I answer the phone with a simple “Hello,” his response was a classic “Where are you?” I respond, “In Nashville in class trying to better myself.” His next words blew my mind — “Get on a plane and meet me in Chicago for dinner tonight! I’ve just been traded.” In the four years of knowing him, playing one season at Vanderbilt together and training for the combine in Atlanta, I had never heard him so excited.
I did not jump on the next flight due to classes and other obligations. However, I did speak with Professor Noble and shared my happiness for the trade. I was eager to get back on the field and rekindle the chemistry we once had.
The duo was back together — Cutler to Bennett. Vandy North! I even tried to change my number back to the college 10. That was shot down by the team, so I settled on 80. Nevertheless, I now had a familiar pal under center that would bring optimism about my career as a Chicago Bear. Da Trade, Da Call, Da Vandy boys were back together just a little north of Nashville.