Dwayne Jarrett has officially retired from professional football after last playing in the CFL.
For all the jokes, all the jabs, and all the sneers the short-lived career of Dwayne Jarrett is a cautionary tale for any young athlete unwilling to put the work in to be great. It's easy to use hindsight, but I remember well that following the Panthers' selection it was almost universally hailed as the ‘steal of the draft'.
We'll never know what transpired in the selection of Jarrett, but almost everyone was dead wrong about him. The numbers suggested he would be a dominant pro. That he could use his large frame and big hands to have a Plaxico Burress like impact on the NFL, and this was said in Plax's prime. Unfortunately the reality was far from it. It quickly became obvious that his success was not a product of elite talent, but rather an unnaturally good USC offensive line, coupled with playing on a team where Reggie Bush was always being schemed for- this essentially made the life of a WR running slant routes as easy as pie. Linebackers would over-pursue Bush, the center of the field would be open and Jarrett took advantage. No knock on what he did at SoCal, he was one of the best college receivers in a long time- but he didn't have the ability to play in the NFL.
Tip of the hat to ‘jojoisthemann' for his fanshot
I've often wondered if the Jarrett selection (along with Everette Brown and Jimmy Clausen) were truly products of team scouting, or rather simply taking a player the Panthers didn't think would be available. All three picks came out of nowhere, the players weren't scouted heavily and all three times Carolina paid for it.
The tragedy for Dwayne Jarrett is that he failed to turn his life around. If you've read much about him you know he didn't have a great childhood, and the NFL could have been the opportunity he needed to really improve his station in life. In the end it wasn't his struggles with the playbook or the bottle that doomed his career, but rather the fact he never seemed to care very much. He went from big man on campus, to low man on the totem pole and never found a way to adjust. Year in, year out we thought ‘this year will be the year he breaks out', but to no avail. Even former USC head coach Pete Carroll gave up on Jarrett after signing him to Seattle's roster.
C'est la vie Dwayne Jarrett- you may be an infamous Carolina Panther, but we hope you get your life on track.