Former Florida coach Urban Meyer delivered to the NFL multiple successful players during his time in Gainesville. As Matt Hayes of Sporting News explains it, however, some of those successful players contributed to the implosion of the program.
According to Hayes, Meyer enabled certain players, including them in what he allegedly called a “Circle of Trust.” When receiver Percy Harvin, tight end Aaron Hernandez, and linebacker Brandon Spikes each missed the 2008 season opener due to supposed injuries, Hayes reports that they each had actually failed drug tests. The protection of Harvin, Hernandez, and Spikes from public acknowledgement of their violations of university rules bolstered the notion that some players got special treatment.
Harvin, per Hayes, became the most blatant example of the double standard. Harvin allegedly stopped during a 2007 conditioning run and, when pressed to continue, said, “This [expletive] ends now.” The next day, conditioning consisted of playing basketball.
Hayes also reports that Harvin once pulled a Sprewell on receivers coach Billy Gonzales, grabbing him by the neck and throwing him to the ground. Harvin was never disciplined.
Gonzales told Hayes that the incident was “a little overblown.” Meyer admitted, “Something did happen and something was handled. I don’t think it’s fair to Percy Harvin or Billy Gonzales to talk about it.”
Apparently, if that had happened, it wouldn’t have been the first time Harvin laid hands on a coach.