Dwayne Jarrett wide open

October, 2, 2010
10/02/10
10:19
AM ET
Just read a pretty interesting story in which Carolina wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett talks about his struggles.

A second-round draft pick in 2007, Jarrett has done very little in four seasons. He hit a low point last week when he was declared an inactive on game day. Jarrett admitted he’s frustrated, and he talked about how he struggled with paying attention to detail early in his career.

Jarrett
Jarrett
That made me think back to the fine book “The Lion in Autumn’’ by Frank Fitzpatrick that I read last summer. The book is about legendary Penn State coach Joe Paterno and it was written at the point Jarrett was coming out of high school in New Jersey, a state that usually is prime recruiting territory for Penn State.

Paterno said Jarrett might have been the best receiver prospect in the country. But Paterno said he couldn’t even attempt to recruit Jarrett because of poor academics. Jarrett ended up at the University of Southern California.

With the Trojans, Jarrett said he was allowed to be an athlete, but never was put in positions where he had to read defenses or do a lot of thinking.

The other things that came to mind as I read the Jarrett story was the story I wrote on Atlanta’s Roddy White on Friday. White said the turning point in his career came when veteran Joe Horn took him under his wing.

Although Jarrett said his relationship with Steve Smith is good, the two clashed when Jarrett was a rookie. Jarrett also played behind veteran Muhsin Muhammad the last couple of years.

Smith and Muhammad are many things, but I don’t know that either is the kind of guy that’s going to volunteer himself to be a mentor. Wide receivers are a strange breed and a lot of NFL players are protective of their own jobs. I think White simply was lucky to run into a guy like Horn, who was the exception to the rule.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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