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Some of Dungy's fondest memories from college

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Some of Dungy's fondest memories from college

GRAPEVINE, Texas (AP) Tony Dungy won Super Bowl titles as an NFL player and coach. Still, some of his fondest memories are his college days at Minnesota.

``There is nothing in my life that I've done that's been as much fun as my junior and senior years in college. All things considered, it was a special time,'' Dungy said Friday.

``I can't even fathom not having my senior year and that experience and just finishing up with the guys that I came in with.''

At the NCAA convention, Dungy received the organization's highest award. The Roosevelt Award is presented each year to a person who used their college athletic experience to produce a distinguished career.

After playing quarterback for the Golden Gophers from 1973-76, Dungy won the Super Bowl as a cornerback for the Pittsburgh Steelers and later as coach of the Indianapolis Colts.

The current NFL analyst for NBC broadcasts also works through his Dungy Family Foundation to help improve communities, and has written several books.

In an age when many top-notch college players leave early for the NFL draft, some go to Dungy for advice when trying to decide what to do. What he tells them is similar to what he was told by Olympic basketball player Jim Brewer after first arriving on the Minnesota campus.

``He told me something that I never forgot. He said you're going to have a great four years here, don't cheat yourself out of anything. Take advantage of everything. If you don't come away from this with a degree you will have cheated yourself,'' Dungy said.

``I tried to take that advice and take in everything, and from the classroom to the athletics to meeting people, building relationships. When I look back at it, it was the best four years you could have.''

Of course, Dungy signed with the Steelers out of college for $20,000 and ``felt I was happy. That was great.''

Now there are millions of dollars at stake.

Dungy said big dollars provide a different part of the equation and he does talk to players about the business part that is certainly a factor. He does recognize there are some risk factors, especially the possibility of injuries in football.

``But here's what I tell most of them. If you go to the NFL, you'll enjoy it and you'll make money and you'll a great career. But if you go, you may regret not playing your senior year in college,'' he said. ``If it's meant to be, you'll go and you'll have a great time in the NFL, but you will never regret coming back. You may regret going.''

Along with Dungy's award during the NCAA honors celebration, former Hampden-Sydney College running back Kirk Rohle received the NCAA's Award of Valor.

Rohle and his longtime best friend, Ben Rogers, were teammates from youth football through high school and then at the Division III college in Virginia.

In the early morning hours of Jan. 25, 2012, a house they shared with seven other guys caught fire. Once outside in nothing but boxer shorts, Rohle realized that Rogers was not there, and ran back inside to find his friend.

Following the shouts of his friend, Rogers made his way out of the house though they didn't see each other in the flames and smoke.

Rohle suffered burns over nearly half of his body before getting back out, and it wasn't until he woke up in a hospital four days later that he knew Rogers was OK. Rohle was hospitalized for about six weeks before returning to campus and graduating last summer.

``No one really wants to get awarded something that you wish something that had never happened,'' Rohle said. ``It's kind of like getting the comeback player of the year award where you have to get injured first and go through all the struggles and everything to get back. I guess what I've really learned is this award isn't really just for me.''

Rohle, whose scars are mostly covered when he's dressed, said he considers himself a representative for people who have done what he did without any recognition. He has repeatedly told the story, and he and Rogers are soon moving into a new house together.

``Every time I say it, it actually means more,'' Rohle said. ``I'm realizing now that things happen in life and you're going to have challenges. ... I'm hoping this is going to inspire other people when I say it. It doesn't really affect me mentally at all, I don't go back and have flashes or anything like that.''

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John Wall takes another step in rehab, facing teammates in practice

John Wall takes another step in rehab, facing teammates in practice

WASHINGTON -- The steady progress continues for John Wall in his rehab from a ruptured left Achilles tendon, as the Wizards point guard is now facing teammates in 4-on-4 drills at practice.

Head coach Scott Brooks described the games as "controlled," noting they were not full-speed or with contact and featured a 10-second shot clock. But that remains a notable step in his road back after he had previously been playing mostly against player development coaches.

"He practiced for the whole practice. He looked great," Brooks said. "There is still a ways to go. But his energy, his enthusiasm, his strength [looks good]. His shot looks better."

Wall, 29, hasn't played in a game since Dec. 26 of 2018. He had surgery on his Achilles on Feb. 12, 2019. He is currently over 11 months into what is typically an 11-to-15 month recovery.

Brooks, though, makes a point to couch positive updates about Wall with patience. The team has indicated he may not play at all this season.

"I don't know if he plays this year," Brooks said. "We can be patient and we're going to be patient because we need him to be right for a lot of years. This is his career and we know how serious that injury is. He's taking it serious."

Part of the equation is the financial commitment the Wizards have made in Wall. He is due roughly $131.5 million over the next three seasons. They want to make sure he is good to go not just for this year, but that he can be effective for the remainder of his contract.

According to Brooks, even having Wall back to this level has added some positive energy to the Wizards' organization.

"I know the excitement is around because he's around and he's looking [good]," Brooks said. "When he comes back, he's going to be the John Wall we all love."

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Houston QB D'Eriq King reportedly transfers to Miami over Maryland

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Houston QB D'Eriq King reportedly transfers to Miami over Maryland

Just one week after announcing that he had entered the NCAA transfer portal, University of Houston QB D'Eriq King has reportedly chosen Miami over Maryland.

The Athletic's Hurricanes beat writer Manny Navarro reports that King has informed Canes coaches of his decision and intent to start classes Tuesday, Jan. 21. 

At the same time, Mark Berman of Fox26 reported that King has not made a final decision but did indeed like Miami.

 

King was scheduled to visit Miami Friday night and Maryland on Saturday, but Jeff Ermann of InsideMDSports reports that King may have cancelled his visit to second-year head coach Mike Locksley and company last minute after liking Miami. Berman reports that King is still "planning" on visiting College Park.

The Terps struggled to finish 3-9 with Josh Jackson and Tyrell Pigrome under center, combining for 16 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions. Under first-year head coach Manny Diaz, Miami went 6-7 over 2019.

King redshirted this season after playing the maximum four games allowed under new NCAA rules in order to preserve eligibility and transfer for  his senior season. In those four games, King tallied 663 passing yards and six touchdowns. 

The sought-after QB is also just one of three in FBS history that have recorded at least 35 passing touchdowns and 13 rushing touchdowns in a single season.

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