Earlier this week Michael Oher on Twitter addressed his decision to reference North Memphis, not Ole Miss, on his introduction as the Baltimore Ravens were getting started in a home game against the Jets.
Oher said he chose to say North Memphis to give “hope” to kids in the city that they too could make it big.
While Eli Manning still references Ole Miss in his intro with the Giants, a number of former Ole Miss players do not. I rarely sit down to an NFL game at the beginning, so I can’t provide a list of who does and does not, but enough former Ole Miss players do not reference the school to see a trend developing, a trend that has been discussed within the athletics building at Ole Miss.
“We’ve talked about it, and we’re going to follow up more. It was a trickle, but now it seems to be … more,” senior associate athletics director John Hartwell said. “We’ve talked about it. We will reach out to those guys and say, ‘This is obviously a very good opportunity not just for Ole Miss football but for athletics and the university as a whole. Is there a reason you guys are not saying Ole Miss.”
Pittsburgh wide receiver Mike Wallace doesn’t say Ole Miss, I’m told.
Some guys just have a deeper connection with the towns in which they grew up. Some may not consider their college experience to be the highlight that others do. Wallace, for instance, was part of a winning college team just once.
I visited with Wallace a little bit when he was on campus in the spring. He was smiling and talkative as he was when he played at Ole Miss. If there was some level of disconnect between Wallace and the program it didn’t show up then.
Hartwell says he can’t put a finger on why it’s happening, but he’s eager hear what the Ole Miss pros have to say.
“If there’s something we can do to help them, if they’re having issues we can try to get cleared up, whatever. We want to do that. It’s noticeable, and we’ve gotten calls on it.”