Isiah Miller, a 5-foot-8 tall outside linebacker and defensive end, said he would go to junior college this spring, join the track team, and lose 25 pounds to reach his ideal weight of 225 pounds. He was confident that he would be noticed by colleges.
Jaquan Baxter, 22, who played in a Christians of Faith game the day after arriving in Columbus, is done with soccer, done with school. He delivers for Amazon. “I’m motivated to work now,” he said outside the door of his apartment on the fifth floor, where every landing was cluttered with unwanted equipment – a refrigerator, a stove, a radiator. “I want to implement everything that I put on the field. I love money and I love fly clothes. “
Nobody is further from the big dreams shared on that FaceTime call than Rodney Atkins.
As he sat on the bed in his otherwise empty room in the psychiatric ward of the Jacobi Medical Center on Wednesday, he thought about his future. He said he had taken too much of his medication and was admitted involuntarily. His hair and beard, once properly cared for, had become unruly. His prescribed medication left him foggy and lethargic at times.
Atkins checked a bracelet on his wrist to remember the date it was recorded: November 28th.
Until then he had been busy mending the house of his grandmother, who died two years ago when he returned from Columbus. He rents out two bedrooms to make money and eats most of his meals at the corner deli. “In my head, as long as I have three meals and a bed, I’m fine,” he said.
Atkins is hoping to regain the trust of his former neighborhood teammates who are suspicious of him for standing by Johnson after all the unfulfilled promises he made. Much, said Atkins, was on his shoulders. He has not given up football and school.
Does he regret going to Columbus?
“I would say no,” he said. “It’s an experience. You can always draw advantages and disadvantages from everything. I still think it’s a good opportunity, a good vision. But you need money to make the dream come true, and it was missing. “
“It’s ironic,” said Atkins. “It’s called Christians of Faith. All those involved worked on faith. “
Sheelagh McNeill contributed to the research. Alan Blinder contributed to the coverage.