Beckford's Last Chance Squandered

3 strikes for no. 3

When Dwayne Beckford was arrested just days prior to Purdue's bowl game in December, many of us thought that he had used his last chance from Coach Hope.  We were wrong.  In the last weeks, Hope has talked about how Beckford's dedication to staying in shape, learning the new defense and getting himself out of the doghouse was inspiring and a good example of how to make a lousy situation somewhat-good.

Well, earlier this afternoon (Monday), Beckford was arrested again.  I haven't yet heard why, but if Hope allows him to come back from this, the coach is nothing more than an enabler...he really already is.

I'm going to ignore the types of arrests for a second and just look at what type of message this stuff sends to the Purdue football team.  First, from Beckford, it shows them that he doesn't really give a damn about the team.  There's no doubt that he's a good football player and a tremendous athlete...and he should know his importance to the guys around him in the defense, and his place on the team.  But, by repetitively having run-ins with the law during the season, he sends a pretty clear message that his dedication to the team is nil.

But really, football is of little importance to Beckford at this point.  While I don't know the details of his last plea, I'd bet that getting arrested within a calendar year would put him in a position in which he'll need to lawyer up, so to speak.  I just learned, this arrest marks the third different court in Tippecanoe County in which he's been charged in the last 14 mos.  From early reports, it looks like the charge is drug related, once again.

Waaaaaaay back in July, another former Purdue football player was arrested...like Beckford, he was also on a team-imposed probation.  Unlike Beckford, he struck a woman...and on his second strike, the walk-on, Collins, was off the team.

I've talked to people that coached Collins- they said he was a good kid...hard to believe, but they knew him.  And while I've never talked to any of Beckford's old coaches, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that he isn't a bad guy either.  But neither guy deserves the privilege of playing football at Purdue.  That seems crystal clear to me.

Now, to the less-important element of the story- the fact that the LBs were already the thinnest, least-experienced unit of the defense.  They'll lose the best tackler from last year and a Senior on-the-field leader. Waiting in the wings is Senior LB turned DE turned LB, Antwon Higgs and RS Sophomore QB turned LB, Sean Robinson.  If the depth chart is right, Higgs will get the start on Saturday.  Higgs is a bigger LB and doesn't have the speed of Beckford...and Robinson has never played a down at LB; at Purdue or in HS, I believe.

We'll see how this affects the team in the immediate future...for the long run, I guess it's better it happened now than on the eve of a much larger game.

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