Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

PUTTING INCIDENT IN THE PAST Riggins Moving on with Life

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

PUTTING INCIDENT IN THE PAST Riggins Moving on with Life

Article excerpt

NEW ORLEANS -- Even if he wanted to, he couldn't forget. The

face in the mirror wouldn't let him.

Not a day goes by where Anthony Riggins isn't reminded of the

Crescent City on the banks of the Mississippi River. He looks in

the mirror, and the man with the scar on his face and shattered

dreams in his heart looks back, still searching for answers.

His life -- the past and future -- is forever linked to the

bloody and embarrassing events that surrounded his last days as

a member of the University of Florida football team. Those days

are a constant reminder of where his life could be, and how much

harder he has to work now because of past transgressions.

"I have no one to blame but myself," Riggins says. "I was the

person that did what I wasn't supposed to do."

Which, it seems, was the way things usually always went for

Anthony Riggins. Everybody knew the high school star from Fort

Pierce would always make it big playing professional football.

Now no one understands how he couldn't have.

He soon will take classes to attend the police academy in

Ocala, and has begun a new life with his wife and infant

daughter. But every time he watches football on television,

every time he looks in the mirror, he can't help but think what

could've been.

Riggins was a can't-miss prospect. He had the size of a

defensive lineman (6 feet 4, 240 pounds) and could run like a

defensive back. He was strong, quick and mean, a star waiting to

blossom.

He was also -- by his own admission -- a time bomb waiting to

explode.

A loner, he never worked hard enough on the football field to

make an impact, but always knew he was as good or better than

the guy in front of him. Any coach or player who ever played

with him will tell you the same thing: Anthony Riggins is a sad

story of a player who could've had it all, but didn't put forth

the effort to seize the opportunity.

Maybe that's why things got so out of control that night two

years ago in New Orleans, the night before the Gators were to

play the original Redo on the Bayou with Florida State in the

Sugar Bowl. Riggins and former Florida star Darren Hambrick

would become the center of attention at the team's pregame meal

at the Superdome, and in national headlines the following day.

UF coach Steve Spurrier called it "the most embarrassing

incident" he has been involved with as a football coach. Riggins

and Hambrick were rival teammates competing for the same

linebacker position. Hambrick was the young sophomore star,

fresh off his Freshman All-America season. Riggins was the junior

who never reached his potential.

It all came to a brutal, bloody end that night. Hambrick

taunted, Riggins attacked. …

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