NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Gabe Wright has never lost touch with the most high-profile teammate he ever had at Carver High.
Isaiah Crowell is an afterthought to most college football fans after he was dismissed from Georgia in June 2012 following an arrest on weapons charges. Wright, on the other hand, said his friendship with Crowell is as good as it has ever been.
"We’re still tight," Auburn's junior defensive tackle said Saturday. "I saw him around Christmas. He was buying gifts."
Crowell, Wright said, recently told him he was heading down to Florida to train for the NFL Draft.
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The running back declared for the draft in November after spending two seasons at Alabama State. In two years with the Hornets, Crowell combined to run for 1,968 yards and 30 touchdowns. While he only spent one season at Georgia, Crowell had a solid campaign, running for 850 yards and five touchdowns en route to winning the SEC's freshman of the year award in 2011.
Not that his ability was ever in question.
"He’s an unbelievable talent," Wright said. "I still believe in him."
That's why Wright made sure to send words of encouragement Crowell's way after the arrest.
Sometimes, a second chance is all someone needs. As Wright noted, an off-field indiscretion only derails a career if you let it.
Wright then pointed to a pair of notable examples Crowell can turn to if he ever needs a reminder.
"Look at Nick (Marshall). Think about Cam (Newton)," he said. "Think about what those guys went through. It’s all about how you bounce back."