tampabay.com

Working on a comeback

Nobody knows where Darren Hambrick will be in a week.

By DAVID MURPHY
Published May 24, 2007


Nobody knows where Darren Hambrick will be in a week.

He could be preparing for a game against the New Orleans Voo Doo. He could be adjusting to life in the Canadian Football League. Or he could be back in Dade City, training and waiting for his next chance.

One thing that is known: Hambrick, 31, was at the St. Pete Times Forum on Wednesday practicing with the Tampa Bay Storm.

"I'm just trying to get the inactivity off me, trying to get back into ball, " the former Pasco High star said.

Hambrick said he's spent much of the past year training with his strength and conditioning coach in Hudson.

He realizes his off-the-field image is what has kept him out of football, and he says he has worked hard to change.

When Hambrick starred for Pasco in the early 1990s, leading the Pirates to the state championship in 1992, he had the brightest athletic future of any sporting figure in Pasco County history.

It seemed his success was going to translate at the professional level. In 2000, Hambrick led the Dallas Cowboys with 154 tackles.

But three years later, he was out of the league.

He received probation in 1999 for running from a sheriff's deputy after a traffic stop. In 2002, he pleaded no contest after authorities said he tried to cash a paycheck from the Panthers twice.

"Personally, I cleared up some stuff that I needed to clear up with myself, " Hambrick said. "Spiritually, I'm letting God just have his way and just open up opportunities for me."

Hambrick worked out with the Dolphins last season but wasn't offered a contract. His agent, Terry Braun, said spending the rest of the season in the Arena League is a viable option. He also said he expects Hambrick to receive a contract offer from the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.

"If I can help the Storm, they're pretty much going to use me, " Hambrick said. "But my main objective is to try to get back to the National Football League.""

David Murphy can be reached at dmurphy@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1407.