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Early departures help some, hurt others

Updated: January 22, 2003, 3:55 PM ET
By Ivan Maisel | ESPN.com

Coaches used to react to underclassmen leaving for the NFL draft with the angst they typically reserve for protecting a two-point lead with two minutes to play in the other guy's stadium. Underclassmen had until mid-February, after signing date, to declare their availability. With one 19-year-old's decision to chase a pipe dream, a solid position on the depth chart became a void that only a coach with a tarot deck could have planned to fill.

The NFL listened to the coaches' complaints and ...

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