Saturday, January 06, 2007

THE REDEMPTION OF CHRIS LEAK


I am a huge Cubs fan. As such, I know quite a bit about unfulfilled potential.

Perhaps the most blatant example of this was Corey Patterson. For a few years, he was the golden child. All of us Cubs fans knew Corey Patterson was going to be the next big thing. He had a good half of a season in 2003 before hurting himself and then ... then ...

Well, he had potential.


Oozes potential.

Eventually, Patterson had to go. He was traded to Baltimore, where he's had some more success.
You can't trade players in college football. If you could, Chris Leak would have been a prime candidate several times. Why? Because, like Patterson, he had potential. Success? Eh, that was mixed. But the kid had potential!

How much potential? South Carolina fans will remember feeling like clubbed baby seals in 2004 when, with the hopes of beating the Gators at an all-time high because Florida had been humbled by Mississippi State, Leak threw six touchdown passes in a 48-14 annihilation in Gainesville.


Enough potential to beat USC.

Even before then, I thought Chris Leak was a great player. On that night, after I finished wanting to feed him to a pack of wild wolves, I became a Chris Leak fan.

But, like Patterson, he continued to be potential. Potential, potential, potential. And not much else.

The problem was partially that he kept getting bounced from system to system. The other problem was that, in the first year of Urban, Leak didn't have Tim Tebow to come in, shatter the rib cages of defenders on a QB draw, then hand the ball back to Leak, who then flings it 20 yards down the field.

This season has been different. No. 12 has guided Florida to a one-loss season and, with one more win, can go down with Danny Wuerffel as one of two QBs to lead the Gators to a national championship.

As Orange & Blue Hue has pointed out, Leak has very little potential as a professional QB, with his name more likely to be associated with the transaction wire than the Lambeau trophy.

But it's nice to see him with a chance to complete a redemption in the eyes of Florida fans -- at least, one would hope -- with one more game. And not just because I'm rooting for the Gators.

It's because I'm rooting for Chris Leak.

And hoping he can show that potential is worth something after all.

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