By Jim Moore
Last weekend I watched the combine and rooted for Marquess Wilson to do well. I wanted him to run a fast 40-yard dash and catch every pass that was thrown to him.
My 8-year-olds were excited, racing up the stairs to ask: “Dad, did you see Marquess!”
But then it occurred to me that there might be a fair share of Cougs who weren’t rooting for Washington State’s all-time leading receiver. They’re upset with him for quitting in November, three games before the end of the season, and citing verbal, mental and physical abuse by Mike Leach and his coaching staff.
That led to investigations by the WSU athletic department and the Pac-12, both of which cleared the staff of any wrongdoing.
I threw it out there on Facebook and got a mostly negative reaction to Wilson.
Enrique said: “Good luck, but I don’t support him. No heart. If he thinks Leach was tough, then he won’t last long if at all in the NFL.”
From Dennis: “Hope he struggles. He let his ego dictate his actions.”
From Gordie: “I would not waste a draft choice on that quitter.”
From Joel: “He might as well be a dirty Husky for all I care. Lazy quitter.”
From Jason: “I don’t consider anyone who quits to be a Coug.”
From Riley: “I hope he does terrible and doesn’t get drafted.”
From Doug: “Not a true Coug.”
But there were a few Marquess supporters.
From Stephen: “He’s just a kid. We all did dumb stuff when we were his age. He’s going to pay for it when he falls in the draft, but I hope he has a successful career and represents WSU for life.”
From Roy: “Still has a lot of work to do, but I’m hoping someone gives him a chance. Whether he likes it or not, when he makes the winning Super Bowl catch for the Seahawks, they’ll always say he’s from WSU.”
From Michael: “Everyone makes mistakes. No need to crucify him for one of his.”
There are a lot of factors that influence how you feel about Wilson:
• Some of it depends on how you feel about Leach. If you’re 100 percent supportive of the new head coach, then what Wilson did is inexcusable.
• I wish I knew if he were a lazy prima-donna or a terrific kid. I’ve heard that he’s both, from different camps, over and over again. Which is the truth?
• If you believe that everyone deserves a second chance, especially a youngster at his age, you’re more apt to support Wilson.
• Do you feel like he quit the team or quit on the team? There’s a difference. I feel like he quit on the staff, not his teammates, though I can see how others wouldn’t look at it like that.
No matter how you feel, he should have stuck it out for his own good. He didn’t need to subject himself to questions about his toughness at the combine. If he had hung through the end of the season, he probably would’ve been drafted in the middle rounds. Now? He might not get drafted at all.
As I said before, I’m pulling for him. He’s a kid who screwed up. He gets a second chance in my book. I prefer to think of him hauling in that game-winning touchdown pass at Colorado two years ago instead of picturing him on his way out of Pullman on terrible terms.
Why do I feel that way? I’m not entirely sure. But I won’t take the time to try to figure it out – I’m just going to wish him well and hope that the Seahawks get a steal when they select Wilson with one of their three picks in the seventh round.