Shutdown Corner - NFL

Raise your hand if you never did anything stupid when you were young.

OK. None of you have your hands raised. That's either because you're human and you did do something stupid in your younger days, or because it would be silly to raise your hand because you read on the Internet that you should.

If you're in the former group, you've got something in common with Carl Nicks(notes), starting left guard for the world champion New Orleans Saints.

Nicks acted like an idiot when he was in college, but here's where he separates himself from most everyone else. When he matured a little bit, he actually went back and tried to make it right. Nicks visited Nebraska's campus Wednesday to apologize and make amends for the bad behavior he displayed while "attending school" there.

"Attending school" is in quotes because Nicks didn't actually do a lot of that. He admits he skipped classes and didn't have the work ethic he should've. The weekend before Nebraska's pro day, he even got himself arrested at a house party for "suspicion of being an inmate of a disorderly house and failure to dispense."

"I was proud of my school, but I know my school wasn't proud of me, so that was important to me," Nicks said. "I'm embarrassed." [...]

"I'm not who I was then," he said. "It just kind of hurts, to know I made a fool of myself."

"I wouldn't be true to Nebraska if I didn't try to apologize to [current head coach] Bo Pelini, even though I didn't play for him," Nicks said. "He's the face of Nebraska. I have to make it right with him, [athletic director] Mr. [Tom] Osborne and everyone I did wrong when I was here."

Osborne surprised Nicks by greeting him as Carl — "I didn't think he knew my name" — and then told him to learn from his mistakes and finish his college degree as soon as possible.

That's got to be difficult; going back to face the very people you once let down. Nicks manned up and did it, though, and I think he deserves a lot of credit for that. Once an athlete steps out of line, we're quick to label them forever. People can change, though, even if that change isn't always accompanied by a change in public perception.

If you're a Nebraska fan, and you had a low opinion of Nicks, perhaps you'll re-evaluate now. He knows he let you down, and he's a different guy now.

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