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If you can't make it there . . .

By BRUCE LOWITT

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 21, 2001


Other Giants players who have been given second chances:

WR RON DIXON: The third-round draft choice from Lambuth attended Wildwood High and was recruited heavily by Florida (where he would have played with Ike Hilliard and Reidel Anthony) but ignored his studies and was academically ineligible. He played two seasons at Itawamba Community College in Mississippi and one at West Georgia, then attended Tallahassee C.C. without playing football. With one year of eligibility, he transferred to Lambuth, an NAIA school in Jackson, Tenn.

He says: "I think I got a second shot. Maybe a third and fourth shot. I was just able to have people find out about me. I was fortunate in that way. I should have hit the books more. I missed out on the big-time college experience."

DT KEITH HAMILTON: The fourth-round draft choice in 1992 from Pittsburgh pleaded guilty in November 1998 to driving while intoxicated and was allowed to avoid jail time on criminal charges of possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and being under the influence of cocaine. He was ordered to pay about $2,000 in fines, and his driver's license was suspended for six months.

He says: "I think I've grown up. It's part of a maturation process, becoming a man. A lot of things that I did as a younger man I wouldn't do now. As a 21-year-old, you don't think about the same things you do approaching 30. The mistakes I made when I was younger made me into the man I am today. I wouldn't change anything."

DT CHRISTIAN PETER: The Patriots' fifth-round draft pick in 1996 from Nebraska was quickly dumped when the team discovered what everybody else knew (or ignored it until the the public outcry got too loud): a rap sheet including assaults on women, trespassing and threatening to kill a parking lot attendant.

He blamed alcohol for most of his problems. The Giants picked him up as a free agent the next season.

He says: "That guy is long gone. I'm a different man. ... This (the Giants) is such a first-class operation. I made serious mistakes in judgment and the Giants got me the help I needed. I can't say enough about the opportunity they gave me when no one else would."

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