ROBBINS NEST The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com
By Lenn Robbins
Pro athletes have it made in our hero-worship society.
They drive sweet rides. They date beautiful women. They eat in three-star Michelin restaurants.
Until they drink it and then drive it all away.
Henry Ruggs III’s NFL career is probably over. He’s lucky he’s life is not. He’s lucky the life of his girlfriend is not over. He’s lucky that he probably will be a free man for many years after his likely prison sentence expires.
It’s going to take some shoddy police work, or some Vegas-magician of a defense attorney, or a combination of both to see a world in which Ruggs III doesn’t serve serious prison time after being charged with DUI resulting in death (two-to-20 years) and reckless driving (up to six additional years).
The 22-year-old former first-round draft pick was in the middle of his four-year, $16.67 million rookie contract when he allegedly drove his Corvette an unfathomable 156 MPH on a Las Vegas street with a blood-alcohol level of .161, twice the Nevada legal limit of 0.08.
And we have yet to report the two most important, sobering numbers of this unfathomably shocking, sad story.
A 23-year-old woman is dead because Ruggs III allegedly turned his sports car into a life-seeking missile. The body of a dog, man’s best friend, also was found in the charred remains of the Toyota Rav4 that burst into flames after allegedly being struck from behind by Ruggs III’s vehicle.
The Raiders cut Ruggs III.
Ruggs III, and his girlfriend, walked away with little more than some scratches and bruises, although no one knows what pain is in his soul; what damage has been done to his psyche. Ruggs III is alive.
One might say he is the luckiest man in the world but there are others.
Britt Reid, the former Kansas City Chiefs linebackers coach and son of head coach Andy Reid, goes on trial in April. He was charged with felony drunk driving last February. An allegedly drunk Britt Reid crashed his car into two other cars.
Two children were injured. One suffered a traumatic brain injury.
Britt Reid allegedly was driving 83 MPH, turtle speed compared to Ruggs III. His blood alcohol level about two hours after the crash allegedly was 0.113. The legal limit in Missouri is 0.08. It marked the second time Britt Reid was charged with driving under the influence, the first coming in 2007 in Pennsylvania.
Ruggs III and Britt Reid are two of the most recent; two of the most tragic incidents that occur at the blurry intersection of drinking and driving. There will be more.
This column focuses on wagering on football games. Some lives are ruined, some families are torn apart, some neighbors become enemies when the betting gets out of control. But usually innocent people don’t die, children aren’t robbed of their future.
The only safe bet is not drinking and driving. Seems simple and it is these days thanks to Uber, Lyft and Via, which are street-clogging, fender bender producing, emissions-spewing necessary evils.
Trust me, I know. My left knee, which one surgeon has dubbed Frankenknee, looks like an old gold mine map. Forty years ago, I decided it was a brilliant idea to have breakfast with Jack Daniels and jump on my motor bike.
I didn’t feel a thing when the bike collided head on with a guard-rail on the side of the road. No one else was hurt. The doctors put me back together again. Turns out Henry Ruggs III is not the luckiest man alive.
+COLTS -14 over Jets – There comes a time when one must consider the abstract, maybe even the occult, when considering the Jets. Just when they seemingly had a plan in place – an unproven one no doubt – the worst possible scenario unfolds. The unknown backup QB tears off his jersey to reveal a large S and leads the team to a stunning upset. So much for the future franchise QB named Zach Wilson. Say hello to Mike White. The Jets have a QB controversy. Good grief!
SAINTS -5.5 over Falcons – Jameis Winston was writing a true feel-good story, resurrecting his career, until a torn ACL ended his season. We believe in Trevor Siemian. Even more, we believe in Sean Payton. Man, do we believe in Payton.
COWBOYS -7.5 over Broncos – The Cowboys, like most teams, had some pressing questions coming into the season. Backup QB was one of them. Scratch that. Cooper Rush led the win over the Vikes. Defense was another concern. The Cowboys have been better than expected and they are about to get DE DeMarcus Lawrence and DL Neville Gallimore back from injury.
Patriots -2.5 over PANTHERS – Sam Darnold saw ghosts the first time he faced the Patriots. Goblins, demons, phantoms, spirits, visions, apparitions, devils are still on the table. Unless he gets Christian McCaffrey back, which is possible. If so, take Jacksonville. If not, Mac Jones continues to wow Bill Belichick if no one else.
+RAVENS -6.5 over Vikings – The last time we saw the Ravens they were getting pasted at home by the Bengals. Since then they’ve had a bye week to reassess. In come the Vikings, who couldn’t beat the Cowboys who were playing a backup quarterback. This could ugly.
BENGALS -3 over Browns – As a charter member of the Baker The Commercial Maker Mayfield Fraud Club, this has been a rewarding week. Odell Beckham Jr.’s father claimed that OBJ is being frozen out by The Commercial Maker. If only someone more credible would second this allegation. After all, OBJ is as big a narcissist as Commercial Man. Physical and emotional injuries mounting in Cleveland.
Bills -10.5 over JAGUARS – Urban Meyer has been spotted reviewing his Urban Meyer Escape Hatch Playbook – the one in which he cites stress and health for resigning from his position. This version adds a fast-forward forward. Meyer will be gone within 48 hours of the end of the season.
DOLPHINS -7.5 over Texans – Sources tell TheNYExtra.com that NFL RedZone will not have a feed from Hard Rock Stadium for this showdown of 1-7 teams. Monitoring the status of Texans QB Tyrod Taylor but even if he returns from injury, where’s the beef?
GIANTS +2.5 over Raiders – Since the forced resignation of Jon Gruden, the Raiders are 2-0 and have embraced the Us-Against-the-World mentality. The Giants have embraced Headset Hysteria. Toughest game of the weekend to pick. Can easily see a one or two-point Raiders win. Keep an eye on the spread.
EAGLES +3.5 over Chargers – The 3-5 Eagles have yet to win at home to the relief of police horses in the City of the Utterly Despicable Fan. The Chargers have responded to their standing as cool team of the year by losing two straight. Justin Herbert has thrown three TDS and three INTs in the last two games after a 13/3 start to the season.
CHIEFS -7.5 over Packers – Is this a Love/Hate or a Hate/Love story? We finally get to see QB Jordan Love, the man who by no fault of his own, triggered the Aaron Rodgers/Packers rift. The Chiefs did little in their win over Big Blue to inspire confidence. We don’t HATE LOVE, but we hate QBs making their first career start and therefore LOVE the Chiefs at home.
49ERS +3 over Cardinals – A lot of sprained ankles as folks jump off the Cardinals bandwagon. They remain a serious contender to reach the NFC Championship game but they had flaws before winning their first seven (run defense). The win-now Niners (3-4) can get right back in the NFC West with home wins over Arizona and the Rams.
+RAMS -4 over Titans – Derrick “The Designated Hitter” Henry won’t be punishing any defenses the rest of the season. Ryan Tannehill – you’re up. Aaron Donald to Tannehill – no you’re not.
STEELERS -5.5 over Bears – You have to give Bears coach Matt Nagy credit. At 31-25 and coming off of two .500 seasons, he could have elected to keep rookie Justin Fields on the bench. Fields has shown potential to be a special talent. Playing in Pittsburgh on Monday night is where potential is French for “Hasn’t Won Anything Yet.”
Home team in CAPS
+ Best bets.
Last Week: 11-4; Best Bet: 1-1.
Season, 65-53-3; 8-3.