(CBS 4 Miami)Just when it seemed the story of four-star running back Alex Collins not being able to sign his letter of intent with Arkansas because his mother would not let him couldn't get any weirder, it did.
Just before Collins announced he was carrying through with his plan and signed his letter of intent to play football at Arkansas, this time with his father's signature on the letter, Collins' mother Andrea McDonald hired an attorney, several outlets reported. A press release sent out said the law firm was hired to "represent the family's interests." Oh, and the law firm is the Cochran Firm, founded by the late Johnnie Cochran, famously O.J. Simpson's lawyer for his murder trial.
Collins showed up at his press conference, carried live by the CBS affiliate in Miami, to announce he was still signing with Arkansas wearing a full camouflage suit (because the event needed something more unusual about it) and said that his mother was OK with his decision to still commit to Arkansas, even though she wasn't there for the announcement.
Weird isn't enough to describe this ordeal anymore.
This story became the most bizarre of national signing day on Wednesday when ESPNU reported that Collins, who is from the Miami area, had decided to attend Arkansas but his mother stole his national letter of intent papers and went into hiding. Many reports said she wanted him to go to Miami because it's closer to home.
(CBS Miami)Collins, in an interview with CBS' Miami affiliate before his official announcement and signing, denied that his mother took his letter of intent papers, but she didn't sign right away because she wanted her son to feel comfortable with the decision.
"It was nothing like that," Collins told CBS 4 in Miami when asked about his mother taking off with the papers. "It was her wanting to give me more time."
When the reporter asked if his mother was OK with his decision to go to Arkansas even though she wasn't at his press conference, Collins said, "She's fine."
"I respect her and understand why she did it, to give me more time," Collins said.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Collins said his mother wasn't at the press conference because she was at work. The Sun-Sentinel also reported that Collins wasn't aware his mother had hired an attorney.
Collins signed his papers during a small press conference with his father, Johnny Collins, and other family members there. Johnny Collins was asked by CBS 4 Miami if he had anything to say to Alex's mother.
"Let him go," said Johnny Collins, who added that he supported Alex's decision. "Let him go."
Johnny Collins said he was disappointed Alex's mother wasn't at the press conference, and he tried calling Alex's mother but she would not answer the phone.
To his credit, Alex Collins handled the odd circumstances very well, staying upbeat during the interview and his announcement. After all, it is a big moment for him. Hopefully he ends up with great memories of his signing day and his decision turns out to be the best one for him and it doesn't cause problems within his family. He said that his mother's intervention wasn't necessarily because she didn't want him to go to Arkansas.
"She cares about me so much she doesn't want me to make the wrong decision," Alex Collins said.
Later in the day, McDonald released a statement through her lawyers, which was tweeted out by the Sun-Sentinel's Steve Gorten:
"Ms. McDonald understands that Alex has received consent from his father who has signed the letter-of-intent for him ... to play football for the University of Arkansas. However, our client's initial intentions remain unchanged. ... She is a loving and caring mother who only wants her son to choose a university without any outside and inappropriate influences ... Ms. McDonald hopes all NCAA rules and regulations were followed during today’s signing. ... She is not seeking any personal financial gain because her only concern is for Alex's happiness and well being. ... The Cochran Firm is standing by Ms. McDonald in this difficult time ... and has made all of the firm's resources available to her as she explores her options.”
Difficult time? Collins looked pretty happy when he signed. We'll let you judge based on his tweet:
Finally over! Finally a razorback! I'm glad this is over alot of weight off my shoulders happy to be a hog! The camo suit was for the fans!!
— alexander collins (@Budda03) February 7, 2013
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