Jared Gaither is not exactly Maryland’s favorite son. In two seasons with the Terps, the coaches constantly questioned his commitment to the team, and after his sophomore year, his poor grades rendered him academically ineligible. At that point, after what I’m certain was a very long, very sincere period of very serious soul searching, he decided to ditch the Terps and enter the NFL draft. At some point, the soul searching must have included a realization that he stood six feet nine inches tall and weighed three hundred and fifty pounds. I’m no mathemagician, but I’d say I’m pretty big, he must have said. And you know what? That young man was right.
Now, a year and a half later, he’s the starting left tackle for the Ravens in the AFC championship game. He’s the tallest player in the NFL. Some are already calling him the next Jonathan Ogden.
Never mind that, if he had kept his grades up, he would have been a senior this year. We’re not gonna dwell on it. Although he could have won the Outland Trophy for God’s sake. The motherlovin’ Outland Trophy! One day he’ll realize they don’t give away Outland Trophies on the street, and the attendant regret will become his own terrible cross to bear. But until then, all the luck to Gaither this Sunday when he lines up against reigning Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison. That’s gonna be one heck of a matchup. And I’ll be rooting for Gaither. I don’t care that he was only a Terp for two years…once a Terp, always a Terp. Best of luck, Jared! Please don’t send your blue ox after me.
(Photo credits: AP, Washington Post, UMTerps.com)