Tuesday, June 19, 2007
You couldn't miss it.
The bright silver watch hung from Chartric Darby's wrist -- a beacon to the eyes -- as he spoke to the young group of boys who were attending the South Carolina State Junior Bulldog Football Day Camp Monday afternoon. It was inevitable. A young hand shot up, and the question was out there. How much does that watch cost?
Darby smiled and pointed up at the ceiling of the recital hall in the Fine Arts Center on the university's campus.
"A lot," he said with a smile. "It's up there."
It was one of the questions that followed that one -- what do you do besides football -- that really got Darby's attention.
"That's a good question," he said, with South Carolina State head football coach Buddy Pough sitting beside him. "I have a degree in Business Management."
And then, the 6-foot 298 pound, Seattle Seahawks' defensive tackle went about explaining his message, football is not forever.
"The biggest thing that I tried to get across to these kids is education," said Darby. "Education is knowledge. Education is power. Education will take you a long way. One thing you can never take away from any human being is their education, and that is one thing I stress.
"I came to school to get a degree," he continued. "Football is a great job. It's one in a million, but you have got to have outside revenues to keep you on top because once your playing career is over it's over . I deal with Real Estate, I used to deal with logging ... you've got to find outside things and use football as a tool."
The nine-year NFL veteran was home -- North -- for Father's Day when he received the offer to stop by the camp. He didn't hesitate.
"Coach (David) Blanchard and coach Buddy Pough -- they were always on my side and supporting me -- so I have to give them that same type of support they have given me," Darby said. "I had a lot of good questions here. There were a lot of crazy questions too. But, the most important question was, what do I do besides football. If football wasn't here, I'd have my degree to turn to.
"And, to me, that is important to get across," he added. "To me, the best players are the ones that are really not playing. They are either locked up or have gone through some adversities in life. That's important. You never know what might happen in life, so you have to tell kids to put God first and then your education. Whatever happens beyond that is extra."
An SC State grad, Darby is scheduled to return to Seattle for his third season with the team. Last year, he recorded 28 tackles and 3.5 sacks.
"I'm trying to get a couple more (years) in before I retire," he said. "I take it one year at a time, and I just go from there."
The camp is scheduled to wrap up June 21.
T&D Sports Writer Brian Linder can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 533-5553.