Proud Navy Veteran 1990-1995
Feel Good Story about Dimitrius Underwood
I wonder if JJ has had anything to do with this and is behind the scenes helping him along in hopes he can prove himself up there this year and come back to the NFL next year and maybe even with Dallas. you know how JJ loves the long shots...I know thats why our drafts have sucked the past few years and he himself admitted it. Just a thought.....
BTW I know someone reported he had signed to play in the CFL but this kinda goes hand in hand...
Sun, May 29, 2005
New start for Underwood
By DON BRENNAN, Ottawa Sun
Controversy? That was then this is now. Dimitrius Underwood is about to get a whole new start in his pursuit of a football career, in Ottawa.
Starting with today's first training camp practices, the Renegades will get an indication if the gigantic defensive lineman still possesses the artistry that made him a first-round NFL pick, thus providing them with a legitimate pass rusher.
"We'll see (today)," Underwood said after taking a physical at Kemptville Agricultural College yesterday, asked whether four years away from the field had damaging affects on his skills.
Underwood, picked 29th overall by the Minnesota Vikings in 1999, left the game after bipolar disorder led to a series of well documented arrests and suicide attempts. Now injecting an antidepressant medication once every two weeks, he has been "incident-free" for over a year.
He has also worked with a trainer in Dallas since January.
"Pass rushing, speed," Underwood, 28, said in describing his game. "Rushing the quarterback is like an art. Either you're an artist, or you're not. Some guys can make a mess of getting back there, some guys can get back there gracefully."
At 6-foot-6 and checking in at 298 lbs., Underwood was the tallest and one of the heaviest players reporting to the Renegades yesterday.
Like new Renegades president Lonie Glieberman, he is a Michigan State grad. He also looks like he could eat Lonie for breakfast.
"I'm the first guy to say people deserve a second chance. I'm getting one," said Lonie, the former president of the Rough Riders who tried to make another trouble former NFL defensive lineman (Dexter Manley) a hit here. "If he can make the team better, if the coach feels that he does ... then I support that."
Underwood looked uneasy talking to reporters, as he nervously tugged his pant legs up throughout a 10-minute chat and beads of sweat formed on his upper lip. Other than an interview with Sports Illustrated a couple of days earlier, it was his first dealings with the media since his NFL career crashed.
"That's the past, I'm here to make a new start now," he said when asked to talk about his off-field problems. "I'm just thankful Ottawa's giving me another chance, to mend some of the past mistakes. But that was when I was at a young age ... you know, young and dumber ... you do some dumb things.
"Getting the opportunity to do it again, I'm like a kid in a candy store," added Underwood, who admitted uneasiness in making a return to the game that gave him a name. "I was anxious. I just want everything to go smoothly, make the transition again, getting across the border safely ... everything turned out to be okay, right now, I'm just ready to go. I know (Canada) is cold, but not too much else (about the CFL), besides the field is larger, you stay one yard off the ball and the three downs ...
"(Football) is always fun. Just being around a group of guys who are similar to yourself, athletes, and get a chance to mingle with them, make a couple of friends. I've never had a disappointing time in football in my life, since the fourth grade."
As for the stress that comes with trying to make a team, Underwood says he just has to deal with it.
"Bipolar doesn't make stress go away ... it's just about coping with it," he said. With counselling, I've been coping with it pretty good. It's just about taking life on life's terms, and not giving into it.
"The public scrutiny is not really bad. It makes you walk the straight and narrow, a little more than the average Joe. It's not a bad thing ... you've just got to be a choir boy 24-7. It's not too bad."