Should Narduzzi Play Three Card Monte Again?

One of the things we have learned about Pat Narduzzi in his two years as the head coach of the Panthers is that he holds no strong loyalties to players who were recruited before he got here.  There is nothing wrong with that because any new boss brings in different ideas and attitudes to the program he’s been hired into.  Narduzzi is no different and truth be told those personnel moves have benefited the team in real positive ways.

We see he loves to get upperclassmen to fill gaps in what he perceives to be problems in his two-deep lineups. It is not just upperclassmen he wants and so he’s persuaded DE Dewayne Hendrix and TE Chris Clark to come onboard after only a year or two at their original schools.

In addition to those two he grabbed QB Nate Peterman in a move that was one of the best decisions I have seen a Pitt HC ever make,  then went out and convinced QB Max Browne to finish his playing days as the presumptive starter for this upcoming season.  Manny Stocker was brought in as a back-up QB last season also.

So he’s not hesitant to shuffle the player deck, splay the cards out and move them around.

Now we are hearing drumbeats along the Monongahela that his old school’s Middle Linebacker Jon Reschke has left the MSU Spartans and might have cast an eye toward reuniting with his old Defensive Coordinator.  Huh, right at a position of need also given the experience, or lack of it, we have at the LB position on the roster now (see yesterday’s article).

But here’s the rub.  Jon Reschke isn’t traipsing merrily along his way out of East Lansing – he’s been thrown out of the program due to being an idiot and a racist to boot.  Sorry if that offends anyone but I’m not sure how else to describe someone who repeatedly calls a teammate the most offensive word the English language to describe a Black person.26_4041268

“Arguably the top defensive player set to return for his senior year, Reschke released a statement that indicated he made an insensitive comment to a former teammate and the damage done was too much to allow him to remain on the team.

“Over a month ago, in an argument and a brief moment of anger, I lost control of my emotions and made an insensitive and totally regrettable comment involving a former teammate,” Reschke said. “In so doing, I have hurt and offended countless number of people, and for that, I am deeply sorry. If I could take my comment back, I would do so in a second.”

Gee – so would Howard Cosell with his “Little Monkey” comment and Jimmy the Greek with his explanation of his own selective breeding theory. But the reality is “once said 1000 times heard”.  (I think I just made that up.)

Love triangles always hurt unless your girlfriend is a great sport and the other participant is also a co-ed, at least in my  undergrad experience at Pitt. They were celebrated by all concerned actually.

But apparently this wasn’t the case with Reschke and his ex-girlfriend.  Rumors abound but the gist of the issue is that his old girlfriend (a White Woman) slept with a Tight End (a Black Man)  and pissed off the Linebacker (a Whiny White Man).

So to this guy,  who’s honor was besmirched or something, the only reasonable thing to do was use the Internet and then email childish and rude in the extreme insults and innuendoes to the old girlfriend.  Hell Fire folks! What else could a guy do?  Pussy foot around and 1) never talk to her again and let it fade into memory then grab another MSU co-ed right away… or 2) have a face to face talk with the old girlfriend, call her a name or two if he must,  then let it fade  into memory?

Neither happened.  Did this young man, and he’s not a teenager, never even stop to consider that what he wrote would go public in this day and age and especially with all the other crap happening in the MSU world?

Apparently not and he’s reaping what he sowed.

Well, the upshot is that it looks like his teammates didn’t really want him around all that much anyway and voted him off the team (which in itself is a weird way for the MSU staff to handle things if that part is true).  Truly letting the inmates run the MSU asylum there, eh?

So now he may come to Pitt, dragging this baggage behind him and looking for a another chance to get into the NFL.  Narduzzi may just take him – on pure football logic alone that would be a good move.  But personally I hope Narduzzi says thanks but no thanks and tells this guy to look elsewhere.

I have sung Narduzzi’s praises for his handling of his players and how he has admirably addressed all the off the field issues so far in his tenure at Pitt. Top notch so far in my book. But taking this player into the fold wouldn’t be in line with that. 

It is a minor thing for TE Chris Clarke not being able to make a solid choice of where to play his ball is one thing – to me that was a singular and personal problem of his.  But this Reschke action was mean and vindictive and most certainly involved and targeted someone else – and to top it off that someone else was a teammate of his.

Second chances for kids who chose Pitt from the start is one thing – that is taking care of your own.  Giving a problem child who had nothing to do with Pitt in the first place is a whole different matter.

It won’t be the end of the world if Narduzzi invites Jon Reschke to be a Panther and play out his college ball in Heinz Field as it is the HC’s prerogative to do that. It may work out well on the field of play but I would just prefer he didn’t in this case.

96 thoughts on “Should Narduzzi Play Three Card Monte Again?

  1. I’m thinking this may not be a decision that falls only on Narduuzi’s shoulders. While it sounds risky a bit and what he said and did is very irresponsible, should he be blackballed for a mistake that did not hurt anyone physically. I think it’s time that forgiveness should be applauded as well as stupidity should be condemned but not to a point of an eye for an eye punishment. The young man said he’s sorry, if that’s not good enough, then are we any better? I have a bad feeling about this article.

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  2. I’d hate to see any player added if it would upset the balance in the locker room. However, if Narduzzi feels that adding this player makes Pitt a better football team, who am I to question it? Likely, the best course of action would be to gather the “leadership” of the team together and ask them their thoughts on the player. If they’re “ok” with his explanation and are willing to give him a chance, who are you or I to judge? If not, move on.

    In the end, the man said a word- a hateful, reprehensible word yes, but a word. He did not assault anyone. In fact, he broke no laws. Have we come so far that we now consider someone “irredeemable” for losing his temper and saying words?

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  3. Everybody thinks their dog is great and won’t bite them. They forget they are the one that feeds the dog. If you ask a dog owner what his dog is like, he will describe himself. What Narduzzi does here says a lot about himself.

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  4. To all…do you remember what you were like at age 19-22? What asshats most of us were??
    Give me a frickn break on this kid and get him into a Pitt uni ASAP! As we are in Lent I quote ..
    “Let thou without sin cast the first stone!”

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  5. “Sorry if that offends anyone but I’m not sure how else to describe someone who repeatedly calls a teammate the most offensive word the English language to describe a Black person.”

    Reed, please explain “repeatedly.” This happened more than once?

    “Well, the upshot is that it looks like his teammates didn’t really want him around all that much anyway and voted him off the team.”

    The Lansing article I read said he met with Dantonio and the two agreed that it was best if he moved on. I must have missed the team voting him gone. Never knew MSU had so many perfect people on their team. No wonder the team stunk last year.

    Some transgressions aren’t forgivable, this one should be.

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  6. Tough situation, all for giving any one a second chance, but that is a pretty egregious thing to do (say). Only way I could see this even remotely working if invited was to have talked to the team leaders and get their feedback/buy-in. Obviously Narduzzi knows this kids character better than most, but obviously he needs to mature a LOT more.

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  7. No wonder MSU sucked. TE steals the LB’s girlfriend?? Yeah… nice move. At the very least this would instigate a brawl among teammates.

    Regardless of race… what would be the outcome if said LB broke the jaw of said TE? Would that be OK? Or does that invoke “team meeting” to vote the LB off the island?

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  8. Still waiting for any of the transfers to have an impact. Will Hendrix and Clark show up this year?

    Sounds like the kid deserves a second chance, unlike Jimmy the Greek or Cosell who were old enough to know better.

    Again coaches descretion makes the most sense. Certainly don’t need a cancer in the locker room.

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  9. TheNard Dog knows this kid well. Hence, he’ll know if the kid is a problem and shouldn’t come to Pitt or if the girlfriend situation put this kid over the top and he acted improperly.
    In conclusion, if everything we have said in life became known publicly we would all be in deep doo doo. I trust Nard Dog will do the right thing.

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    1. Good question but the answer is apparently No. The following is an excerpt from a Detroit Free Press article:

      The senior outside linebacker, who sat out most of last year with an ankle injury, said Friday in a news release that he will be seeking an immediate graduate transfer after he completes his degree at MSU.

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  10. Would have pissed me off too!! We are all different and all sin..Bring him on and while we are talking sinful behavior hire Tressel as AD..then we can have a “coming to Jesus” moment and be cleansed..

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  11. Maybe Pitt should make room for the girlfriend and the TE also. Let’s stir the pot some more and give all Pitt sports blog/writers some additional fodder for the coming season

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    1. Gee – what would you prefer to talk about? We could always rehash how crappy our defense was.

      But this is a part of college and Pitt football like it or not. And again I remind you that this is a blog that stirs the pot as do many others.

      Should you prefer to have shiny and cleansed Pitt discussions then the Post-Gazette and the Tribune -Review put out articles with a comments column under them. But when you go there please notice no one talks about what they have to say.

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      1. My post was meant to be humorous in nature. Your comment Reed on the concerns surrounding this potential transfer were appropriate IMO. That said I say let Narduzzi make the call and live with the consequence.

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  12. I am with Jay91’s comment from 12:45pm. Duzz should consult the leadership of the team.

    Sounds like the “kid” acted like a jilted lover and went over the top. Been there and done that. So, we throw in a word spoken/typed in anger. I am not black. So, I am not the one to make a judgment about how unacceptable this is. Leadership of the team will include black players, I am certain. Let them decide.

    I am quite comfortable making decisions about a guy who beats/abuses/rapes his girlfriend or steals. This one is not in my ballpark to decide.

    H2P

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  13. If Narduzzi thinks that he’s a good kid who made a bad mistake, then let him come. The kid likely heard that type of language at home. Doesn’t make it right. But, it can take a while to unlearn what your hear/learn at home the first 18 years of life. The kid will learn from this.

    The LB and TE should have taken it out back and settled the matter without words, imo.

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  14. Coach N will make a strong decision on this. If he has options I’m sure he will explore all avenues. Good people make mistakes and the process may help the young man. On the other hand let’s suppose Nard may be asked to take over Deantonios job down the line how would it look to the hiring committee if he took a boy who got in trouble there. Would this hurt his job chances? H2 P

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    1. Now that you put it that way FoP, I guess we should hope he takes on this troubled young man and burns bridges in E Lansing. Although I doubt that would matter much.

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  15. The kid came to MSU from Birmingham, Alabama. So what’s the chance of him returning back to his roots to finish out his collegiate career? There are some pretty big named schools back in Alabama he might be looking to transfer to.

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  16. Hey Reed – we agree. No room for it. I hope Pitt passes. If his teammates truly did vote him off the island that’s very telling to his character. Send him back to the Deep South.

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with Pitt looking into him, however. If there is interest, I would hope Narduzzi would leave it up to the team, like MSU did in kicking him out, as to whether or not he can become a Panther.

    If Pitt players accept him, then it’s a different story. At face value, nope. Find another school.

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  17. OK let’s talk about a few points here. Lots of strong opinions and good ones. but first –

    The young man is 22 years old, not 17 or 18 – 22. Let’s not kid ourselves that he isn’t an adult and should have shown much more maturity at that age. It wasn’t a prank gone bad or a stupid teenage thing.

    What sort of message does it send to the kids already on Pitt’s roster, especially at the LB position, if you bring this discarded player in to start above them, which he most probably would. That kind of shits on your own younger players’ good work and their best behavior, doesn’t it?

    Does that sound like the head coach taking care of his own players, ones who chose Pitt out of high school and have stuck in there and did everything that was required of them by Pitt to do? I think not, and by a large margin.

    It ain’t easy being a student/athlete and keeping your nose clean but from all accounts our kids have done just that. They should be taken care of first and foremost and not punished by loss of opportunity – instead of rewarding a player who failed at what he was required to do and then giving him a scholarship.

    And speaking of which he would be taking a scholarship spot from someone who deserves it. Unless he’ll pay for grad school himself which I highly doubt.

    While we are at it let’s ask all the Black players on Pitt’s roster how they would feel about what this player did at MSU and how they would react if a Pitt player did it in our locker room. I’m sure we’d get a completely different answer from them. Think they want a guy like that in their clubhouse?

    With that, just what in hell do we think Narduzzi should do if one of our own players did all of this? Can you honestly say you think the Pitt administration and Narduzzi would overlook it and keep that player on Pitt’s roster? Of course they wouldn’t. He’d be gone in a heartbeat.

    Nobody said this guy can’t have a second or third chance. He most certainly can and there are probably many schools he could ask that of – but it doesn’t have to be Pitt.

    And as to the question of what were we doing as 22 year olds? Well, I made big mistakes in my early life and when they came back to bite me on the ass I took the heat and understood the ramifications of my actions.

    I’ll bet most of you did also. I carried around some bad rep for a while and worked damn hard to shake it – but I understood when some doors were closed to me. Not a lot of employers want to hire a teenager who is on on five years probation. I took it and learned from it.

    Again – Pat Narduzzi will do what he wants. I think it would be best for the team, the program and Pitt for Narduzzi to pass on this transfer – if there even is one in the works. As I said it isn’t the end of the world if Pitt takes him.

    But I do strongly think it would be a mistake and will send a poor message to our current team members.

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    1. Well Reed IMO it tells the current Pitt players on the roster to focus on getting better at what you do. If you can’t beat out the transfer coming in then get better do. By the way what’s it saying to our QB’s on the roster when Pitt brought in Savage and Peterman and now our new USC transfer these past couple of years? It simply says you may not be ready yet.

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  18. I confess to using racist talk back when I was even older then 22. I’ve used the bad word in front of friends who are black. Not proud of that and the remarks really weren’t meant to be racist but never the less I made a few. Hell, I’ve said some silly dumb ass schitt to my own wife I’m not proud of and I’m happy she has forgiven me and conversely she has done the same during heated times. Obviously I don’t live a perfect life but the mistakes I’ve made has helped me to be a better man. I chose not to cast the first stone.. Let the kid play ball! BTW, my friends forgave me instantly.

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  19. Another note. Rescke graduated on time while playing major college football. Certainly not unheard of but that does take some discipline. In a domestic dispute when only words are fired in this day and age is also a sign of discipline imo. No fists, no gunshots. This is more of a social media problem than anything. These words were not even face to face. … imo

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  20. Character counts and this guy doesnt have it. Ped State is Linebacker U and he would fit in fine there. Tweet him “thanks but no thanks”

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  21. I agree with Reed. If he were to come in and start ahead of Wirginis I’m sure there would be some hard feelings. Wirginis is quite capable of manning that MLB slot, and if an outsider were brought in at this point I don’t think it would bode well in the locker room. Although if Narduzzi thinks this kid would make Pitt a better football team, all bets are off. It’s a slippery slope. My gut tells me no…let’s pass on this one.

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  22. This term is used in rap music continuously and nobody seems to have a problem with it. In fact these college pukes dance around to it…and try to act cool.

    What ever happened to Sticks and Stones may break my bones….but names will never hurt me.

    This college PC stuff and safe zones and attack on any speech that doesn’t agree with yours is bs and
    causing one person at least….to view much less of college sports period.

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  23. Missouri let the inmates run their asylum as well. It was great to see them finish last in the SEC East this past football season.

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  24. Btw if this other kid had any respect for his teammate and his team he wouldn’t have been dating/whatever with this guys girlfriend.

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  25. Right, listen to a Chris Rock stand-up show or a Spike Lee movie and a million other examples and that’s all you hear. I know, not with this sort of animosity but…it’s a word. The kid graduated on time, he’s not a criminal and just wait, he may come back and haunt PITT to hell for being unreasonable.

    rkb, I don’t disagree but Wirginis is not the point here…. and say Wirginis gets hurt first play. ??

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  26. I don’t care if this kid comes to Pitt or not. But this insanity infecting these college campuses needs ended immediately.

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  27. I agree that people can be really screwed-up or brain-washed by those who raise them. So he’s 22 – the programming of the brain is a powerful thing.

    Since he knows the kid, Coach Duzz could read this situation better than most. If the kid wants to make amends, could be a good situation for Pitt. As for the LBs on the team now, one word, compete!

    Go Pitt

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  28. I’m 41 (and a half). The word this 20 something year old adult used has never been okay to use in my lifetime. This isn’t some new thing where you can’t go around calling black people the N word. It’s been this way for a really really long time. And if you use it, and it becomes public, you’re going to be admonished.

    Regardless of whether you think it’s okay (it isn’t), or if he should be forgiven (maybe), life doesn’t work that way. People hold grudges and deep down we know if he used the word once, he most likely has used it before. This is not a politically correct argument. This is a kid fucked up and looks racist and is suffering the consequences argument.

    You can say it was a mistake and blah blah blah … and you wouldn’t necessarily be wrong. It really may have been an lapse in judgement but the damage has been done. He’d be poison to a locker room. Let’s ease up on the TE too. It was an ex-girflriend not his current girlfriend. It doesn’t sound like these two are friends so I’m guess the bro-code was off the table.

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  29. Well wait a minute here TT……it is ok to use it if you’re of a certain color. Chris Rock uses it constantly today and Richard Pryor used it constantly in our day.

    I don’t use it myself, I don’t condone using it….but if we’re going to be fair…if it’s such an offensive word….than ALL people regardless of color should stop using it.

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  30. Emel – it’s been this way for a really long time. It’s not some new politically correct thing. That’s a fact. There’s been books, college courses, documentaries, essays and so forth on the difference between a white person using the word and a black person using the word. There is not the space nor time in a Pitt football blog to explain the difference.

    I don’t like the word. Period. But there is a big difference. If you, or others, don’t see the difference there’s not really much I’d be able to say to convince you otherwise. If you’re white and you use the N word, especially in a derogatory manor (which this kid did), you’re going to get shit from people (of all races) because it sounds really racist. That’s just he way it is.

    The N word, btw, gets used all the time in locker rooms by white people to black people in a non-derogatory way … and you never hear about it because A) the athletes feel comfortable enough around each other to get away with it or B) it’s handled internally because there was no malicious intent.

    It blows up when it’s used in a discriminatory way … like it was used in this particular instance.

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  31. Loving the passionate discussion and like in many things I find myself sharing the middle ground position that Narduzzi would already have some insight into this player-‘s character and if his initial thoughts were to consider bringing him on AND the leadership council was in agreement, then by all means proceed..

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  32. PittPT – if the team gives the green light it’s a different story. Locker room chemistry is so important though. To blindly accept him would be foolish. I trust in Narduzzi.

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  33. Actually with the way the media is, both local and national. And the way that both of them dislike Pitt. It would probably be a good idea to not give any of these chicken so-called sports journalists, any more ammunition.

    So no he should not come to Pitt, even though Pitt was the first university to take a black football player to the Deep South in the 1956 Sugar Bowl Game. Something we NEVER get credit for, from again…these so-called sports journalists/reporters.

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  34. well, if just the possibility of this guy coming here is causing all of this furor, maybe it’s better he doesn’t come.

    On another issue … Kapenick will soon be a free agent and the Stillers need a good back-up QB ….. oh, never mind!

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  35. Kap claims he will stand for the National Anthem next season. Is it his mom or the free agent market that is influencing this decision.

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  36. I’m all for second chances – a persons character is usually pretty obvious when you spend time with them. Not one or two hours, but days, weeks and/or months. The length of time spent depends on the “crime” committed.

    In this LB’s case, I’m sure HCPN will have met his parents, talked with prior coaches and teachers, etc.

    As far as taking Wirginis’ spot at MLB – this guy played both inside and outside LB positions at MSU. Besides Wirginis, Brightwell and former walk-on Sean Idowu, which Pitt LB’s have seen the field and do we have any confidence they can get the job done?

    LB is definitely a position we need to see some competition at…

    HTP!

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