Chris Steele can’t seem to make up his mind, but after being with Oregon Football briefly, he had another change of heart.
The Footbridge Focus
Alright, so Chris Steele is NOT going to play Oregon Duck football after all.
The former Florida transfer CB who left Gainesville after Dan Mullen improperly handled sexual assault allegations against Steele’s former roommate at UF; who, just six days ago, tweeted (and recently deleted) “Eugene Tomorrow,” will now be heading to his hometown school, USC, per his father.
A lot of Duck fans are more than a little upset by this news. Some of the worst NegaDucks on Twitter have even gone as far as to attack Steele (an 18-year-old kid), his decision, and even his character.
I’m sure that you can go back a few short weeks ago—when Steele first announced his transfer to Oregon—and you’ll see that those same NegaDucks were disgusted by all the deplorable Florida fans that took part in the very same public berating of Steele behind their own shameful Twitter eggs.
Now, if you believe that there’s a NegaDuck out there who isn’t also a well-practiced hypocrite, I have a bridge to sell you.
But for some reason, I expected a little more understanding from our fanbase as a whole.
I wrote a column about Steele just two weeks ago where I complimented his decision-making and moral compass in the face of real adversity, and there isn’t a single part of that column that I would even consider taking back.
I think his ability to transfer out of his situation at Florida speaks volumes about the kind of man Chris Steele is. I was genuinely excited about having a guy like that in a Duck uniform. I wasn’t only excited about him from a pure talent standpoint, but as a true leader, and as a Man of Oregon, too.
Any self-respecting Duck fan that was genuinely stoked on Steele’s transfer to Eugene (read: every single Duck fan) should be big enough to admit that his decision to now go home to USC is just as valid.
I think we can all have a collective come-to-Jesus moment here and be able to recognize that even the slightest anger we might feel would be better attributed to the fact that we’re all dreading having to face Steele in-conference for the next 3-4 seasons.
And let us not forget that it’s always good for the conference as a whole when the smaller schools can get a big recruiting win like the Trojans are getting with Steele.
Rising tides, etc..
Roar The Praises
I’d like to take a moment to roar the praises of something totally unrelated to football for a moment.
Payton Pritchard’s brother, grad transfer guard Anthony Mathis, has officially announced that he’ll be reuniting with Pritch in Eugene for the 2019-20 season.
Pritchard and Mathis played high school ball together at West Linn, where they won three 6A state titles.
Just before Mathis made the formal announcement that he was transferring from New Mexico to Oregon, Pritch wanted to set the record straight on just how close him and his brother are:
I feel like people forget that @mathis290 and I are actual brothers and not just high school teammates lol we lived together since the 6th grade
If Payton says they’re brothers, that’s good enough for me.
It’s also worth noting that next year—with the addition of the Lion Brothers—both Men’s and Women’s basketball will boast sets of siblings.
I honestly couldn’t even venture to guess which duo will be more dangerous, but what I do know is that I’d personally rather face Pritch one-on-one than either of the Sabally Sisters.
Random Historic Oregon Thing I’m Thinking About this Week
More from Autzen Zoo
If you have the distinct misfortune of following me on Twitter, you might have caught on to the fact that I’m doing a little jersey number-related countdown to a certain date in late August.
For the past couple of summers I have had this wholly unoriginal tradition of counting down the days until the season opener by simply tweeting out a picture of a corresponding former Duck.
From my experience, this is probably the most effective—non-chemical—form of off-season therapy out there.
This year I began my countdown to Oregon Duck football from the highest number that I’ve ever had the foresight to start at (which also happens to be the highest jersey number possible in American Football at the time this column is being published) Number 99, Zac Clark.
I usually like to mix up my usage of players from the Brooks-era (or earlier) and players from my lifetime, but I definitely tend to fall into a recency bias more often than not. I’m also sometimes faced with making some tough decisions between two or more absolutely worthy players that shared the same jersey number.
We are currently at Day 86, but as I think ahead a couple of days, I’m seriously torn between whether or not Pat Johnson or Ed Dickson deserve the 83 slot.
Pat Johnson is an absolute instant classic. He is the titular catcher in the criminally under-remembered “The Catch” play that completed the 1997 Demoralization of Washington in Seattle.
That highlight alone could easily earn him the 83 mantle, but Ed Dickson is a dark horse in this race for the very same reason that made him such a fan favorite throughout his career: consistency.
During the Masoli years, Ed was easily the most sure-handed receiving threat on the team. Jeff Maehl was still in the process of becoming Jeff Maehl, but through every offensive growing pain, Dickson never failed to prove that he was the real Mr. Reliability.
Whether it was his three-score performance in a 42-3 smackdown of sixth-ranked Cal, or his iconic game tying touchdown in Tucson that would eventually lead to an incredibly important—and ultra rare—modern Duck victory in Arizona Stadium, Ed came up big time and time again.
It’s also worth noting that Ed’s last name leant itself to one of the best fan signs in the history of ESPN College Gameday during a time where national growth of the Oregon brand heavily relied on the exposure that came from Gameday alone:
“Our Dickson, Your Booty” – v. USC, Fright Night 2009
I still haven’t quite decided which one of the two legends I’ll choose to feature for 83, but there’s absolutely no question in my mind that the coveted 82-slot belongs to Joey Harrington’s least-favorite target, Sonny Cook.
Final Whistle’s Call
Oregon Duck football is fast-approaching.
I had a brief two week hiatus, but I was busy taking care of the fact that I lived so far away from Autzen. Hopefully now that I’ve significantly decreased that distance you will never again be forced to endure two weeks without me.