By TOM LEA
MADISON – Some of the best advice senior running back Montee Ball received in the hours, days and weeks following his attack came from a familiar source.
Nick Toon, UW’s former No. 1 wide receiver and current rookie with the New Orleans Saints, knows a thing or two about being in the spotlight. Having grown up with a dad that not only achieved legendary status during his time as a wide receiver for the Badgers, but also the New York Jets, Toon knew he would be in the spotlight when he followed his father's footsteps to Madison.
So as his profile continued to rise and as his stardom continued to grow throughout his collegite career, he decided it was better for him and his long-term personal goals — namely making a NFL roster — if he just stayed out of the spotlight.
He didn’t go out much, if at all, during his senior season. Those are footsteps Ball, who has legitimate Heisman Trophy aspirations and a very high profile in Madison, has decided to follow.
“He told me that he just basically disappeared form the outside world,” Ball said during UW's recent media day event. “After the game he would go right home. That’s it. He would do nothing. I’m not saying he was above us, but living in that fishbowl you can’t do some of the things you want to do.”
Five men allegedly attacked Ball in the early morning hours of Aug. 1, just a handful of days from the start of fall camp. Ball suffered a concussion and a jaw contusion as a result of the attack and had to miss the majority of the first week of practice.
With two incidents during UW’s recently completely offseason — the attack and a $429 citation for trespassing during Mifflin — Ball has decided that it’s not worth it for him to risk his future and potential as a NFL player for a night out on the town.
He wants to make football one of his top priorities.
“That’s my plan,” Ball said. “Disappear from the media and disappear from everything and focus on what I need to do. A lot of people want to see how I respond that first game. It’s fun to me.
“I have a goal in life and that’s to make it to the NFL.”
Return to: Wisconsin Badgers Blog