Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Huskers' Purify says he's grateful for another chance
LINCOLN, Neb. -- College athletes who mess up are regularly
given second chances. Maurice Purify got a third, and he's
"I don't get another one," the Nebraska wide receiver said.
Purify began practicing with the Cornhuskers this week, but he's
suspended for the Sept. 1 opener against Nevada for his role in a
bar fight and a separate drunken-driving conviction.
He believes he's earned back the respect of his teammates. Now
he's working to earn back his job.
That shouldn't be a problem for the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Purify,
who caught 34 passes last season for a team-leading 630 yards and
seven touchdowns. He's considered the Huskers' best pro prospect at
receiver since Irving Fryar in 1984.
Purify said that if he wants a chance at the NFL, he must stay
out of trouble.
That means no more drinking, the 21-year-old senior said.
What if he's at a friend's place and someone breaks out the
"I've got to leave," he said. "Drinking never did anything
for anybody. It's not going to be hard for me. I'm not an
alcoholic. I don't need to be social at bars."
Callahan said Purify has shown remorse for his transgressions
and been diligent meeting community service and academic
requirements placed on him.
"He's maturing," Callahan said. "This incident will allow him
to grow and hopefully won't occur again in his future, and he can
be the type of person that we all want him to be."
Purify's first run-in with the law was May 5, when he was
involved in a disturbance at a downtown bar. Witnesses said he
threw a man over a table, hitting him several times and striking
the man's girlfriend.
Purify was arrested again June 8 on suspicion of drunken driving
after he was pulled over for speeding. Purify was suspended by
Callahan later the same day.
Both incidents were packaged into one plea deal on July 18. He
was found guilty of DUI, assault, disturbing the peace and
hindering arrest. He was placed on a year's probation and fined
$1,250. He was ordered to not enter a bar or any other business
that primarily sells alcohol. Drug and alcohol counseling also was
Purify was reinstated to the team on July 20, at which time
Callahan announced the one-game suspension.
"I thought it was going to be way worse," Purify said. "I
thought it was going to be three (games) or so. I'm glad the
decision he made was one game. I wanted to play the USC game."
The Huskers play host to Southern California in the third game,
Purify emerged as one of the Big 12's top receivers last season.
He caught a 63-yard touchdown pass and set up a fourth-quarter
touchdown in a near-upset of Texas. He caught two more TD passes
against Missouri the following week, and his 9-yard touchdown catch
with 21 seconds left beat Texas A&M and clinched the Big 12 North
He missed most of the team's formal conditioning work while
suspended this summer. But he said he was invited by quarterback
Sam Keller to join him and other teammates for informal workouts.
"Our players have embraced Maurice," Callahan said. "They
love him to the extent that they want to see him have success and
do great things. The unselfishness of the guys to grab him and go
throw every other day and keep him going and maintain his
motivation was really big for us. I compliment our team, and I
compliment Maurice for staying with it and continuing to move on."
Purify said he felt anxious while waiting to hear how many games
he would have to sit out. But teammates assured him that he
wouldn't miss much time, he said.
"They said there have been worse (cases) where people were on
the team," he said.