I didn't catch it, but more than a few people brought to my attention the fact that former Kansas University offensive lineman Anthony Collins, now a starter for the Cincinnati Bengals, introduced himself with his high school (Central High in Beaumont, Texas) instead of his college during the Bengals' loss to Pittsburgh last Sunday night.
This has become a bit of a trend for former KU players lately and one that has been met by disappointment from KU fans.
In a world in which every other player on these introductions is from USC, Alabama or “The Ohio State University,” hearing Kansas represented surely would be not only a nice treat for Jayhawk fans but also a huge lift for KU's recruiting.
One of the biggest culprits is New England Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib, who, for years, has been saying “North Dallas, Texas,” in place of the school he became an All-American. But evidently Collins has joined in on the fun now, too.
It should be noted that, until recently, not many former Jayhawks were in the position of announcing anything during Sunday or Monday night football intros because very few had become starters, so it's not like the list of guys snubbing KU is all that long. In a sense, though, that may be why it stings the fan base in the first place.
Denver defensive back Chris Harris is one former Jayhawk who has been a fixture in these pre-game introductions during the past couple of years and he has continued to say “Kansas University” each time.
I caught up with Harris quickly the other night for a little insight into why the other guys might be choosing to leave out KU and his answer was nothing short of hilarious. “You never know with those cats,” he said of Talib and Collins, his former Orange Bowl teammates.
Short of asking Talib or Collins themselves, I can't really pick out a good answer. But there are a few options.
They truly might just love their high schools. Many guys, especially athletes, are proud of where they come from and enjoy the opportunity to give the school that got them started a little shout-out. Nothing wrong with that.
It's possible they're just trying to be funny. I can't remember who started it, but a few years ago, guys started repping their preschools or their kindergarten teachers. Nothing wrong with that either.
The last thing I can think of may very well be the reason here and it's something that current KU coach Charlie Weis has talked a lot about since he arrived in town a couple of years ago. When reaching out to former KU football players, Weis found that many guys identified themselves with the coaches for whom they played. They were Glen Mason guys, Mark Mangino guys or Terry Allen guys instead of being Jayhawks. Weis has taken steps to eliminate the division and has hopes of getting all former Jayhawks to view themselves as exactly that. It'll take time, though. And maybe, since they don't know Weis or any of the coaches who came after Mark Mangino, those two are doing it as a way of showing their support for the man who was forced out after one of the most successful stints in KU football history. I know there were a lot of guys who played for Mangino who were upset about how his whole departure went down, so that could very easily be a factor, too.
Regardless of the reason, it's definitely nothing to get worked up about, but it is worth pointing out that them changing their tune certainly would not hurt KU in recruiting and would give KU football fans a reason to smile.