“Know Your Jaguars” is a series of articles that will focus on Jaguar players from the past. Some were All-pros. Some came and went quickly. Some were everything you would want to remember. Some I wish I could forget. Regardless, they were all part of the Jaguars family and are part of their history. If one of my articles introduces you to a player you were not familiar with, than my effort was productive.
For our fourth in the series, we will focus on WR Andre Rison.
We don’t want to focus too strongly though or it could hurt your eyes. But let’s discuss his career before he came to the Jags in 1996.
- First round pick (22nd overall) from Michigan State by the Indianapolis Colts.
- Had 52 catches for 820 yds and 4 tds, yet was still traded to the Falcons the next year for first round pick. (note – Indy got rid of one headache, then proceeded to use that pick to draft another headache, Jeff George!)
- Rison, thanks to the “Run and Gun” offense employed by the Falcons, becomes a perennial All Pro. (Five yrs – 423 catches/5633 yds/56 tds)
- Left Atlanta and signed a lucrative with the Cleveland Browns. Typical story (47 catches/701 yds/3 tds) Not so typical (because Cleveland fans boo’d the team’s last home game because they knew the team was moving to Baltimore, Rison took it as if they were booing the players and went off on the fans to the tune of THREE f-bombs). Unlike the rest of the Browns, Rison wasn’t invited to join the Ravens.
Now I’m sure Jags management was hoping they would get the Falcon’s “Bad Moon” Rison, not the Browns’ “Just Bad” Rison. Andre Rison lasted 10 games with the Jags (34 catches/458 yds/2 tds) before he was told that he would be losing his starting position to new upstart Jimmy Smith. Rison responded with “I ain’t no backup” and requested immediate release…which was gladly granted. During his 10 games, here is what he also accomplished. (I will head all of these as “allegedly” so there won’t be any issues)
- Allegedly he was late for numerous meetings and practices. Even rumored to have been drunk at one.
- Allegedly he refused to study tape of opponents though it proves beneficial to just about every player in every level of football.
- Allegedly had numerous verbal confrontations with coaches, staff, and one on-field incident with starting QB Mark Brunell.
- Allegedly spent so little time studying the playbook that coaches attributed HALF of interceptions Brunell threw that season to Rison not being where he was supposed to be.
Now to prove sometimes that God can be cruel and moves in mysterious ways, Rison signed with the Green Bay Packers for the final 5 games of the season, caught 13 passes for 130 yrs, scored only one touchdown, and got a SUPER BOWL RING. He also later in his career was forced to go to the Canadian Football League and is one of the few players in football history to win championships in both the NFL & the CFL. Sometimes life just ain’t fair! There are a few more things about Andre that I DON’T have to allege.
- Though he was given every opportunity to succeed in Jacksonville, after his release he went on to say many disparaging things about the Jags, Coach Coughlin, Mark Brunell, and Jimmy Smith.
- He was forced to appear in courts multiple times for refusing to pay child support.
- Andre had a tumultuous relationship with TLC rapper Lisa “Left-eye” Lopez which culminated in Lopez, after a physical altercation with Rison, burning down his $800,000 Atlanta mansion. Don’t go chasing waterfalls indeed!
- 2000 was a banner year for Brock Middlebrook…I mean Andre. That year, while with the Oakland Raiders, he was arrested for writing over $158.000 in bad checks to jewelry stores in Georgia. He was arrested and charged with theft after not returning audio equipment rented from a guitar shop while he was playing for the Kansas City Chiefs. Finally he was arrested for obstructing a police officer by telling him he was “Brock Middlebrook”. He was released by the Raiders after they were informed that Andre would be suspended the first four games of 2001 for a substance abuse violation. (Wow…How the HELL do you get released by the RAIDERS!!! Andre was DA MAN!!!)
- In Andre’s 12 year NFL career, he earned over $20 million dollars in salary and endorsements. After years of large entourages, outlandish spending, and tremendous legal bills, Andre “Bad Moon” Rison, now has a net worth of $50, 000 dollars. He is on probation and if he gets even one month behind on his child support, he could see jail time.
You may be asking “Why did you choose to dig up this guy?”…Well I’ll tell you. One Sunday night I was at Jacksonville International Airport to pick up my mom who was flying back from a trip to Las Vegas. The Jags had played at the Saints and had lost a hard fought game 17-13. In that game, I do believe (memory fails…I’m old!!) cornerback Dave Thomas got hurt on kickoff coverage. He was carted of the field and no other news came out. When I saw Jag players exiting the concourse, I said to a group “Hey guys, great game…sorry for the loss. Hey, how is Dave Thomas, they didn’t tell us on TV if he was ok.” The next voice I heard was an obnoxious and loud Andre Rison saying “Why don’t you ask him yourself…He’s right in front of you, man!” Embarrassed, I looked at a sore looking gentleman walking near me and said “Mr Thomas…I’m so sorry I didn’t recognize you…Are you OK?” Graciously, Dave said “Nah man, it’s cool. We wear helmets. I just got my bell rung…thanks for asking.” Shortly after that incident, my mom got off her plane & told me to go pull the car around while she waited for her luggage. As I’m walking in the parking garage, again I hear Rison. “There he is…There’s that FOOL who couldn’t recognize Thomas even though he was standing in front of him! Damn white boy probably think we all look alike!” By this time, I was no longer embarrassed, I was getting mad. Even a few of the fellow players were telling him to settle down, but he just kept it up. I told him I didn’t know what Thomas looked like and I just wanted to know he was ok. “Yeah…whatever white boy…I know the truth.” he said as he walked away. Now I truly hate being called racist…especially when I didn’t do anything to warrant it. So I gladly let loose with “Lay off me, Andre…I’m not Left-eye.” That drew a laugh that echo’d though the garage with players telling Rison I just got him and to let it go.
After that incident, it became my life’s goal to make sure everyone knew what a jerk Rison was. I hope this article has accomplished that. Luckily, Andre Rison has done a pretty good job of that on his own. Hopefully…Now you know it too.
Spinning the classics for Jacksonville…Michael McDonald.
Want to apologize, Bad Moon? You can on Twitter @Gumbussy!