Munoz may not be done

Monday's bombshell announcement by former UT offensive tackle Michael Munoz that he will NOT play professional football may be more a product of frustration than reflection. Once that frustration fades, he may reconsider.

Imagine the humiliation he must be feeling right now: As the son of the greatest offensive lineman in the game's history, you played in your dad's shadow your entire life. You enjoy success at the college level, starting for four years at a major university and serving as team captain your last two years. But, just as you feel you're establishing your own identity and worth, the entire NFL Draft passes without anyone selecting you.

Some people would say, ''To hell with it. I'm not playing football anymore.'' That may be what happened with Michael Munoz. He's frustrated. He's angry. He's hurt. No wonder. The Draft snub essentially suggests: ''You can't stand on your own. Everything you've done to date was accomplished off your dad's name.''

It's true that Michael never approached the level of greatness achieved by his dad. Heck, MOST players don't approach the level of Anthony Munoz. That's why he's considered the best ever.

It's also true that Michael had a lot of injuries at UT, including a knee problem that caused him to miss an entire season. That probably scared away some NFL scouts. But Anthony had serious knee problems in college, too, and they didn't stop him from becoming a pro superstar.

Michael's decision to forgo pro ball isn't based on his knee problems. If it were, he wouldn't have bothered to enlist his father as his agent in contract negotiations with the NFL. Michael's decision appears to be based on frustration -- the frustration that comes from thinking you've escaped your dad's shadow only to discover otherwise in gut-wrenching fashion.

Don't be surprised if that frustration fades and Michael Munoz winds up signing a free agent contract in the next week or so. How else could he make the kind of money he'd make in pro football? How else could he satisfy that competitive urge that burns within him? How else could he establish that he doesn't need his dad's name to compete at the top level?

Bottom line: Michael Munoz's football career may not be ended just yet.


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