How college rivalries spill into NFL locker rooms

ASHBURN, Va. — The t-shirt did not look right on Washington Commanders receiver Terry McLaurin, however a bet’s a bet.

He placed on Michigan colors. A gamer raised in scarlet and gray now needed to put on maize and blue thanks to Ohio State’s loss to the Wolverines in 2015. Two days after the video game, McLaurin appeared in a group conference using the Michigan leading with colleague Khaleke Hudson’s name and No. 7 on the back.

It’s a routine that plays out in every NFL locker space throughout the season, a gamer losing a bet since the college he bet lost to another colleague’s school. It’s not about cash altering hands; it has to do with pride. It’s about appearing in another group’s t-shirt — or overalls. Maybe it’s the delight of seeing another gamer announcing on video that the opposite is the very best. Or possibly it’s seeing even the GOAT can be humbled.

“For me to pose in Michigan blue? That’s nasty,” McLaurin stated, duplicating the last line a number of times for focus.

Of course, among the very first colleagues to talk about McLaurin’s t-shirt was Commanders long-snapper Camaron Cheeseman, who likewise dipped into Michigan.

“You look good wearing our colors,” Cheeseman informed him.

Even now, McLaurin shudders when retelling the story.

“It was kind of embarrassing,” McLaurin stated. “But that’s why guys do it, because your money, that comes and goes, but the bragging rights, you wearing the other team’s gear and possibly having to post it on social media. … I definitely would rather lose my money than come in here in that Michigan blue, like last year.”

McLaurin ultimately got the ultimate victory, however, indicating the variety of times he beat the Wolverines over his 5 years in Columbus.

“I hate to be this guy, they beat us, but I’m like, ‘When I was there you didn’t beat me Khaleke.’ I ride with Ohio State, so they lost. But when I was there, I got five gold pants if we’re going to really count it,” McLaurin stated, describing the gold beauties provided to Buckeyes gamers for pounding Michigan.

McLaurin is barely alone in needing to honor a bet. And while these scenes go on throughout the season, it heightens today with a variety of huge competitions — such as Ohio State-Michigan, Alabama-Auburn and even Iowa-Nebraska — starting.

‘Schmediums look great’

THE GARBAGE TALK and bets begin since of a basic reality about NFL gamers.

“We have a competitive nature, that’s why we play this sport,” Atlanta Falcons corner Darren Hall stated.

Competition belongs of remaining in the locker space — whether it’s arguing over basketball abilities, cornhole video games or perhaps putting contests. When it pertains to their schools, it gets more extreme. NFL groups choose their gamers, however the gamers selected their colleges. Even though some gamers discuss bets that might reach 4 figures, nearly all stated it wasn’t about cash. They’re prideful; they’re devoted.

“Somebody at that program had to believe in you to get you in the school,” Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither stated. “And that translated into you getting to the NFL. It works hand in hand to me.”

Bengals coach Zac Taylor enables gamers to use their college boodle throughout Saturday walk-throughs, and it’s apparent who lost a bet from the previous week.

Arizona Cardinals protective lineman Zach Allen, who went to Boston College, needed to use a Wake Forest Tee shirts, thanks to pass receiver Greg Dortch, after BC lost to Wake last month

“The shirt was like a frickin’ medium,” Allen stated. “I made it look good though. … There are no examples of Dortch and I going against each other, so it’s cool stuff like that, it brings the whole 53[-man roster] together. People get invested because they enjoy seeing a 285-pound guy in a size medium.”

But, as colleague Maxx Williams stated, “Schmediums look good.”

Williams need to understand: The previous Minnesota Golden Gophers tight end lost his own bet to colleague Trace McSorley, a previous Penn State quarterback. So he, too, used a skin-tight t-shirt that was one size too little and for that reason a tight medium — thus “schmedium.”

“It’s fun,” McSorley stated. “It lightens it up.”

Cardinals quarterback Colt McCoy, a Texas alum, looked glum while using a Texas Tech t-shirt on social networks previously this year — thanks to a bet lost to a set of Arizona colleagues.

Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury, who coached Tech from 2013 to 2018, was not one of those who bet with McCoy, nevertheless.

“I’m not wearing that burnt orange s—, I can assure you,” Kingsbury stated.

But he saw the discomfort in McCoy’s face in the image.

“He looks like his dog died, man,” Kingsbury stated.

In 2018, when McCoy bet the Commanders, he got to see previous Oklahoma punter Tress Way use a Longhorns t-shirt every day in and out of the center. They likewise had a standing wager every year: a six-pack of their option.

“It was painful,” Way stated about using the t-shirt. “But that’s the fun of it; college ball is the best.”

Hall lost a bet to Falcons running back Avery Williams when Boise State beat San Diego State. Hall was going to provide Williams an Aztecs knapsack, possibly a hat. As he stated, “Nothing crazy.” But Williams appeared with his Boise State jersey, so Hall used all of it day.

“I sported it because he’s my favorite player,” Hall stated.

“I could have given him my helmet, too, but I wouldn’t do that to him,” Williams stated. “His big head probably couldn’t fit in my helmet.”

Players view video games together in the dining-room throughout group meals Saturday night at the hotel. The Commanders, for instance, have actually 3 Television set up throughout group meals. Other times private groups will collect in hotel spaces to view video games.

“You don’t want your team playing and losing,” protective end Shaka Toney stated.

If you’re from, state, Georgia, all comers are welcome. If they attempt.

“That’s the worst part, because we all get paid pretty well, so a $20 bet here and there is not as bad as having to wear the other team’s colors,” stated Falcons linebacker Lorenzo Carter, who dipped into Georgia. “It’s hard being a Georgia Bulldog. People see us and get intimidated and don’t want to make those bets. I haven’t won as much as I wanted because everyone’s pretty scared.”

‘Everybody dislikes Bama’

IT’S ALMOST UNIVERSAL in NFL locker spaces: Players root versus Alabama. What’s likewise real: The Crimson Tide gamers have the trump card in most cases that peaceful discussions even after an unusual loss.

After all, they have actually won 6 championship games given that 2009 under coach Nick Saban.

Take New England Patriots linebacker Mack Wilson Sr., for instance. When the previous Crimson Tide standout had fun with the Cleveland Browns, he needed to settle his bet to colleagues Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. after Alabama lost to LSU in 2019. So, Wilson appeared later on that day using an LSU Tee shirts to group conferences.

But he likewise used something else: precious jewelry. He snapped a selfie using 4 champion rings, 2 on each hand, from his time at Alabama.

“Before I left the house to go to the team hotel I made sure I grabbed all my rings and brought them to the hotel,” Wilson, who won a championship game, 2 SEC champions and an SEC West title in his 3 years at Alabama, stated. “I wore them and I was messing with them the whole day.”

LSU beat Alabama once again this season. Two of Wilson’s Patriots colleagues dipped into LSU: cornerback Jalen Mills and defensive deal with Davon Godchaux. But Wilson was all set for them.

“I went 3-0 against them,” Wilson stated.

Toney, a previous Penn State standout now on the Commanders practice team, summed it up: “Everybody in the NFL hates Bama. I like success. I respect what they’re doing, but everybody hates Bama.”

The Commanders have 4 gamers from Alabama — protective linemen Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen, along with running back Brian Robinson and receiver Cam Sims.

Despite Alabama losing 2 video games this season and the championship game video game in 2015, it will take more to eliminate the Tide’s ambiance in NFL locker spaces.

“They’re Bama until they’re not Bama no more,” Toney stated. “People give Bama slack for their losses. But until you see consecutive years — and it has to be multiple years; it has to be Bama don’t look like Bama. It’s tough.”

Teammate James Smith-Williams, a protective end, summed it up: “Jon and Payne have like five national championships. What can you say to that?”

Jacksonville Jaguars offending deal with Cam Robinson — another ex-Alabama gamer — stated he understands who rules supreme in the Jags’ locker space, despite the fact that novice linebacker Travon Walker used Georgia’s championship game group in 2015.

“You’re talking about probably the greatest college football dynasty ever,” Robinson stated of Alabama. “It’s me and only me if I’m being honest. Josh [Allen] runs his mouth [about Kentucky]; I don’t know why, it’s a basketball school. Travon can talk a little bit. Daniel Thomas [from Auburn] likes to talk a lot. Who knows why? He can’t really say much.”

Falcons linebacker Rashaan Evans, who dipped into Alabama from 2014 to 2017, stated in the previous colleagues were “too scared” to wager him when their school played Alabama. But running back Cordarrelle Patterson had no such qualms prior to his Tennessee Volunteers beat Alabama on Oct. 15.

Evans needed to use orange and white checkered overalls. It made him laugh. He likewise exposed, when again, the state of mind of the Alabama gamers.

“It was bound to happen eventually. It was fun for me because finally someone beat us. It gets boring winning sometimes.”

‘Undefeated on the mic’

FALCONS LINEBACKER WILL Compton established a track record in the NFL for something in specific: protecting Nebraska, which is where he played from 2008 to 2012.

Compton turned his orator abilities into the popular “Bussin with the Boys” podcast, where he made the case this summer season for an 11-1 season by the Cornhuskers. They’re 3-8. Last year, he called them the very best three-win group in college football history — it didn’t win any bets, however it did close down some arguments.

While Nebraska was 48-20 throughout his 5 years in Lincoln, the school has just 3 winning seasons given that, and none given that 2016.

“One thing I always said about Compton: He was undefeated on the mic,” Way, who was colleagues with Compton in Washington, stated. “He could be dead wrong and find a way to win the argument. It would be him against the whole locker room. He was the best in that regard.”

Here’s how Compton did it:

“A group would gather around me and I’d catch one person who laughs or chuckles whose team got destroyed,” he stated. “I’d defend myself and immediately point at the other loser in the room and get the spotlight on him and throw seven different kinds of smoke on that guy until nothing was said about Nebraska.”

But even Compton needs to pay up on his bets. And he understands the benefit may happen once again today when Iowa plays Nebraska, thanks to his annual wager with San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle.

If Nebraska loses for the 8th successive time to the Hawkeyes, Compton will tape-record yet another video. In it, he’ll need to announce Iowa’s supremacy and scream out the Hawkeyes on social networks when again.

In 2020, Compton appeared he was being required to check out a declaration on video. After stating he wasn’t going to “talk about me being 2-0 [against Iowa], getting player of the game one year; that’s irrelevant,” Compton took a deep breath and averted from the video camera.

“They are the big brother of the border. They are the more superior program.”

Nine seconds passed prior to he continued.

“I wish I had committed to Kirk Ferentz and the Iowa Hawkeyes back in 2008, and I wish I had never went to Nebraska because Iowa is the better football team.” He then called Kittle a “sick SOB” for making him do the video.

But Compton isn’t ready to alter.

“I s— talk,” he stated. “I still get texts from guys I played with. They’ll tell me they tune in to see what Nebraska is doing — when they’re doing bad they’ll shoot me a message. They’ll tell me they want to see if they’re winning or losing to know what state of mind I’ll be in.”

Nor are gamers on other groups ready to alter. They enjoy it excessive.

“Definitely it’s fun,” Wilson stated. “It’s almost every day someone brings up some story from college, whether it’s about them or in general. We’re always talking trash.”

Undefeated versus the GOAT

IN 8 SEASONS having fun with Tom Brady in New England, there’s one video game previous NFL security Nate Ebner never ever lost: the Ohio State-Michigan video game. Every year, Brady, possibly Michigan’s most well-known football alum, was persuaded it was The Year. It wasn’t. So, 8 times he needed to settle a bet to his colleague from Ohio State.

After a while, Ebner, who had fun with Brady from 2012 to 2019, wished to be more innovative in what he asked Brady to do after a Michigan loss. And since there were 2 Ohio State gamers and 2 Michigan gamers included, Ebner understood what to do: Have them strike an O-H-I-O posture. Brady formed the H; protective lineman Chase Winovich was the I, and ex-Buckeye John Simon bookended the O’s with Ebner.

“[Winovich] is probably one of the most annoying Michigan players of all time,” Ebner stated. “There was nothing better than to see him do it with us.”

It resulted in an image Ebner published on his Instagram page. It wasn’t the very first time Brady needed to swallow his pride after a bet, either: In 2012, he used then-teammate Mike Vrabel’s Ohio State jersey over his pads in practice.

Seven years later on, it was Ebner’s rely on strike a present with Brady that Ohio State fans loved. He stated Brady was an excellent sport for settling the bet. He states Brady is the very best quarterback of perpetuity, however Ebner understands he has an edge in one location. And by the time Michigan beat Ohio State in 2015 — its very first win given that 2011 — Ebner was on to the Giants and Brady was with Tampa Bay.

“You can see the look on his face like, ‘I can’t believe I’m doing this right now,'” Ebner stated of the 2019 image. “He didn’t have a lot to say, but he did say, ‘I’m never going to live this down.’ … Maybe I could get with some charities around Columbus to raise money with that picture because it’s such a special Ohio State picture. Maybe one day I’ll get Tom to sign a copy for me.”

Mike Rothstein, Ben Baby, Mike Reiss, Josh Weinfuss and Michael DiRocco added to this story.

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