Saturday, August 19, 2017
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Top 10 Careers Derailed PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mark Grey   

Len Bias

Must have already turned pro or been drafted to make the list. 



10. Bobby Hurley - One of the most successful college point guards in history. Also, his 1,076 career assists is still an NCAA record.  After being selected 7th overall, Hurley was involved in a car accident in his rookie year that left him with life threatening injuries.  He returned to the NBA a year later but was never the same player.  Hurley was a classic point guard built in the same mold as Hall of Famer John Stockton, a player who knew how to win.

9. Jay Williams - While at Duke, Williams was the most unstoppable player in the country. There wasn’t a guard in the NCAA who could keep Williams in front of them and he was a threat to shoot the ball as soon as he crossed half court.  The Bulls drafted Williams second overall after his junior year and in just his 7th NBA game, Williams recorded a triple double with 26 points, 13 assists and 14 rebounds.  His rookie season was filled with highs and lows, but he finished the season strong and showing improvement.  In the off-season of his rookie year, Williams crashed his motorcycle and never played in another NBA game.

8. Jerome Brown - By just his fourth year in the NFL, Brown had established himself as the best nose tackle in the game.  Brown was a combination of speed and strength -- not normal for a guy his size.  At the young age of 27, Brown died when he lost control of his Corvette and crashed into a power pole.  As good as Brown was playing, he was still getting better, and there is no telling how good the Eagles' defensive could have become.

7. Pelle Lindbergh - Lindbergh is the only goalie to face the 1980 USA Hockey team and not lose.  After a strong show in the Olympics, he was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers.  Lindbergh was named to the all rookie team and by his third year in the NHL, he led all goalies in victories and became the first European-born player to win the Vezina Trophy. He also led the Flyers all the way to the Stanley Cup finals with a collection of great post-season performances.  That following season, Lindbergh crashed his car into a wall, killing himself at the age of 26. He had all the tools to become one of the best goalies of all time.

6. Drazen Petrovic - Petrovic was a player way ahead of his time and was the first European player to make an impact in the NBA.  In his first full year as a starter with the New Jersey Nets, Petrovic averaged 20 points a game and was named team MVP on a team that included Derrick Colman and Kenny Anderson in their primes.  In just his second year as a starter, Drazen’s 22 points a game were 11th best in the NBA.  He was one of the most feared shooters in the NBA shooting 45 percent from behind the arc and was named to the All NBA third team.  The summer after his best NBA season, Petrovic died in a car accident at the age of 28.

Sean Taylor5. Sean Taylor - In just a few years in the NFL, Taylor established himself as one of the hardest hitting players in the game.  Taylor was a combination of speed and size that had him on pace to be one of the best safeties to ever play the game.  It took Sean just two seasons to be named to his first Pro Bowl.  While enjoying his best season as a Redskin, Taylor was shot and killed in his home in Florida. His death produced a shock that was felt all across the NFL.

4. Monica Seles
- At the age of 16, Seles became the youngest player to ever win the French Open and was the number one tennis player in the world by 18.  For two years, Seles dominated women’s tennis.  In a 25 month span, Monica won 22 titles and reached the finals in 33 out of 34 tournaments she entered.  She put together an unbelievable record of 55-1 in grand slam tournaments.  At the age of 20, Seles was at the height of her career when she was stabbed in the back by a fan with a 10-inch knife during a match.  After more than two years away from tennis, Seles returned but was never the same.  Seles managed to win nine Grand Slams over her career, but there is no telling how many she would have won without the stabbing.

3. Bo Jackson - Arguably the greatest athlete of the last century, Bo is the only person to ever be named to a Pro Bowl and MLB All-Star game.  After winning the Heisman Trophy, Jackson was the first pick in the NFL draft, but chose to play major league baseball instead.  Just three years into his Baseball career, Jackson not only made the All Star game but was named the game's MVP.  Despite only playing half of the NFL season, Bo more than made his mark on the field.  Bo averaged an amazing 5.4 yards a carry and was a threat to score every time he touched the ball.  Less than a month into his NFL career, Jackson rushed for 221 yards in a Monday night record that still stands.  After just 3 NFL seasons, Jackson’s football career was finished after suffering a career-ending hip injury.  He returned to baseball, but never regained his All-Star form.

2. Ernie Davis - Davis was the first African American to ever win the Heisman Trophy.  By Davis’ sophomore season at Syracuse, he was already regarded as the best running back in the country, leading his team to the National Championship.  In his junior year, he rushed for a record 7.8 yards a carry. After his remarkable college career, Davis was drafted first overall, but would never play in a single NFL game.  In 1962, Davis was diagnosed with leukemia and died a year later at the age of 23.

1. Len Bias - In 1986 at the age of 22, no player in the country had a brighter future than Maryland’s Len Bias.  After averaging 23 points a game and dominating the ACC, Bias was drawing comparisons to Michael Jordan.  His combination of size and athletic ability made him virtually unstoppable.  After a great college career, the Celtics drafted the former Terp second overall in the 1986 draft.  Just two days after being drafted, Bias passed away after a cocaine overdose in his campus dorm room.  Although there is no telling how great Bias would have been, most agree the sky was the limit.      


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