If you were lucky enough to grow up in Wisconsin around football, you’ve had the luxury to watch a handful of players do things on the gridiron everybody else can’t even imagine. Obviously, Aaron Rodgers could throw a ball over the mountains and hit Lincoln’s nose on a penny waiting on the other side, Joe Thomas could pass protect a freshly cooked steak from a pack of starving wolves, and JJ Watt could sack Trump through the secret service and White House walls without a problem. Wisconsin football has always been a beauty to watch and guys like the ones listed above as well as other legends like Brett Favre, Ron Dayne, Lee Evans, Reggie White, Charles Woodson, Melvin Gordon, Bart Starr, and a bunch more were the main reasons why we’ve been blessed to watch Wisconsin football.
However, besides Aaron Rodgers, I’d argue none of those players were more dominant in their respective fields than Montee Ball was as a touchdown scoring running back in college football. He left Madison with 77 rushing TDs, the most for a RB in FBS history, 18 or more TDs in 3 straight seasons, and 33 TDs in his junior season, the second most in FBS history for one season. The guy was an absolute monster. He ate up more defenses on the football field than guys are eating up asses in 2017. If he was within sniffing distance of the endzone, and you were in front of him, your obituary would be front page news the next day for the horrible things he did to you, guaranteed. Just look at him…
After all the success, he was drafted to the Denver Broncos in the second round, played parts of a season, lost in the Super Bowl, and was never heard from again after being cut the next year. Ball went from one of the most prolific running backs in college football history to fallen off the face of the Earth is less than a year. What the hell happened?
While breaking rushing records for the Badgers, Ball was setting himself up for failure to come. The heavy partying that began during his 2011 junior season didn’t stop after he became a Denver Broncos second-round draft pick two years later. The boozing continued throughout his time in Denver and after his 2015 release. A domestic violence arrest in February 2016 left him watching his former Denver teammates win Super Bowl 50 from jail. New England, which had signed Ball to its practice squad, unceremoniously dumped him. Another domestic violence arrest followed after claims made to police by a girl he dated several years earlier; claims that Ball adamantly denies. Ball still had not yet hit rock bottom. That moment came last April. One week following the birth of a son he didn’t know was his until just three months prior, Ball was arrested for violating terms of his bond when spotted drinking inside a Whitewater, Wis., bar.
Going from setting all time records to two counts of domestic abuse and severe alcoholism is the definition of a rough rock bottom. I’ve always said that you can’t be an alcoholic in college. It only counts if you continue your multi-weekly binge drinking episodes after your handed the diploma or fail out. Whatever your lucky enough to get first. But, I’m rethinking that after reading Montee Ball’s stories because he’s always been one of my favorite athletes, and he even says himself that it could’ve been avoided. As a fan I’m just glad he’s back on track to what he wants in life. Since getting clean, he’s had multiple job offers, potential tryouts, and other opportunities. No matter what happens, I and the rest of the Tap Down Sports brand will always support you. Here’s Montee’s future plans, from the same source.
He is anxious to resume work on his old campus, finishing a sociology degree before pursuing a master’s program. Fiercely loyal to his alma mater, Ball is taking advantage of a Wisconsin reentry program that allows former athletes to finish their degrees. “I’m really focused on improving my image and relationships that I destroyed,” he said. “I let down the fans, the entire University of Wisconsin and my family. I want people to know I am deeply sorry. “I feel way better now. I feel like I’m free.” And determined to stay that way.