Landon: Leftwich Made Great Choice

BYRON Leftwich laughed. Long, lusty and outloud. The way Marshall's star quarterback laughs when he is truly amused. The joke? I just had told Leftwich the one about a Charleston newspaper columnist writing of the possibility of Byron being an early entry for the NFL Draft.

The punchline? The writer suggested that Leftwich should leave Marshall and declare for the draft.

I laughed with Leftwich.

Because it was laughable.

Anyone who actually is acquainted with Leftwich realizes that him departing a year early for the NFL never was a consideration. I repeat, never.

Leaving early is not who Byron is. It is not what Leftwich is about.

The issue here is character, not money. Leftwich already is wealthy in the first commodity. And a year from now Leftwich will have more of the latter than he knows what to do with.

Thank goodness, Byron kept them in the right order.

Was there ever any doubt that he would? Not in my mind. That's because I do know what Leftwich is about.

He's about class. He's about character. He's about loyalty. He is about all the concepts, all the qualities, all the intangibles that I see far too seldom in modern day athletes.

Byron Leftwich is a great quarterback. Everybody knows that. What they don't know, however, is Leftwich also is a great person.

That's why leaving never was a consideration.

Leftwich never would walkout on his teammates. He stood behind them when he was a sophomore, even though he was getting knocked down on a regular basis. So, is Leftwich going to continue to stand behind them as a senior? Of course he is.

Especially as a senior.

Leftwich has unfinished business. That's how he sees it. He's got another collegiate season to play. He's got another year to improve. He's got another season of heights to hit.

Byron knows how good Marshall can be next season. And he wants to taste that.

Grabbing the gusto now? That's not Leftwich's style. He would rather savor the moment, savor his senior year, savor his career.

Besides, there isn't any statute of limitations on NFL careers. But college football? He could play for four years. That's all, four years. If Leftwich gave one of those years away, he never could buy it back. No matter how many millions of dollars he was earning in the NFL.

That's why I believe Leftwich made the right choice.

And that's not an automatic opinion on my part. When West Virginia University star quarterback Major Harris declared for the NFL Draft after his junior year, I agreed with the move.

The circumstances were different.

So are Byron and Major.

Harris alienated his teammates. Leftwich ingratiated his. A lot of conclusions can be drawn from those two simple facts.

The bottom line is Byron Leftwich is going to be very successful.

Because he was true to his school?

No.

Because he was true to himself.


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