Summarized by Kent Larsen
BYU's Morris a bit crazy, and thankful for it
CBS Sportsline 10Apr00 S2
By Len Pasquarelli: SportsLine.com Senior Writer
PROVO, UTAH -- BYU's Rob Morris is expected to be chosen in the first
round of the NFL's draft on Saturday, the eighth BYU player to be
chosen in the first round, and the first time that BYU has had
first-round picks one year after another. Last year, offensive
lineman John Tait was chosen 14th overall in the draft. CBS
Sportsline ranks Morris #5 among linebackers.
Morris has cultivated and developed a reputation for being a little
crazy, which helps in a position known for its gritty reputation. In
a position known for its nastiness, a reputation for lunacy gives
credibility to the idea that the player will do just about anything
to win. But in spite of his lunatic actions, Morris , a returned LDS
missionary also has a reputation for being a great guy and for
helping others -- albeit one that he plays down for his career.
Morris' outspokenness reached the level of social conciousness last
year when he spoke out criticizing BYU's honor code, wondering if
black players at nearly all-white BYU were being victimized by
prejudice, which often lead to their run-ins with the code. But
Morris is almost embarrassed by any credit given to him for speaking
out, especially because it conflicts with building the wild
Instead, he'd rather concentrate on the more zany stunts in his
career. One of the craziest was when he and his roommates, including
last year's first round pick Tait, were in the Florida Everglades.
Morris decided he wanted Tait to take a picture of him with an
alligator, and jumped a fence to get a little closer. He soon found
himself staring down a 7-foot gator, much closer than he had planned.
Surprised by the animal's speed, Morris may have beat his own 40-yard
dash record. "I never knew an alligator could move so well. But those
suckers can run. It was all I could do to get away. It wasn't too
comfortable being the 'chasee' instead of the chaser."
Tait, who still took the pictures in spite of the danger, says the
pictures are hilarious.
But Morris' stunts don't stop there. He has painted his toenails,
eaten out of a dog bowl, persuaded his teammates to bleach their hair
and jumped into his apartment complex's swimming pool from his
third-floor window. "He takes pleasure taking it all to the extreme,"
BYU tried to get in on the act when promoting Morris for the Butkus
Award last season. Morris became known locally for a comment he made
comparing his sacks to "a freight train hitting a Yugo." The comment
caught on, and Morris earned the nickname 'freight train.' BYU then
promoted him by passing out wooden whistles to the media and fans,
urging them to blow the whistles when Morris made a tackle.
But Morris found the whole thing annoying. Teammate Margin Hooks
explained to Sportsline, "The truth is that whole whistle thing was
too cute for Rob. I mean it's almost like he wished he'd said, 'You
know, sacking the quarterback is kind of like dismembering somebody.'
Then they would have handed out hatchets and he'd have loved it. He
is a great guy, but you don't want to (mess) with him on the field
because he works himself up into such a frenzy. But I think most
linebackers are a little half-loose or have something crazy in their
Where will Morris go? Well its hard to say, with so many teams vying
for players in the first round. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer says
that he could go to the Seattle Seahawks, who desperately need to
fill a middle linebacker spot. The Seahawks have both the 19th and
22nd picks in the first round, and could take Morris then, says the
Post-Intelligencer's sports analyst Clare Farnsworth. But Farnsworth
also notes that the Seahawks have needs at other positions that may
be greater. He says they need a Defensive Tackle more than a
linebacker, especially since they may have injured DeShone Myles
returning to the spot, or be able to pick-up Penn State's undervalued
Brandon Short in the second round.
But, Farnsworth evidently thinks Morris would have great value for
the Seahawks, in part because his zanyness isn't the kind that will
get him into legal trouble, and because, after serving an LDS
mission, he is more mature than most draft picks. "Some people think
I'm off biting the heads off chickens when I'm not playing." says
Morris. "But I am a person with strong religious beliefs, and I
respect the beliefs of others. I think I'm intelligent. I like
helping people. Hopefully, those kinds of things will stick out about
Farnsworth thinks that they do, "He talks in complete sentences. He
does not refer to himself in the third person." And Farnsworth
believes Morris is a good player, too. "He punctuates many of his
plays with exclamation-point hits."
Hawks on a mission for a linebacker
Seattle WA Post-Intelligencer 13Apr00 S2
By Clare Farnsworth: Seattle Post-Intelligencer Reporter
Morris Could Make Cougs 2-for-1st Round in NFL Draft
Salt Lake Tribune 14Apr00 S2
By Michael C. Lewis: Salt Lake Tribune