I did not get to see Ricky Ervins play much when he was at USC. Living on the east coast the only SC games I got to see were the bowl games or the ND game. West coast CFB always played second fiddle on the east coast.
But I did see Ervins play with the Redskins...A LOT!
And because he went SC he became one of my favorite Redskins. I won't forget his Super Bowl performance any time soon!
Ervins had a relatively short career but because he came from very humble beginnings, he has made the most of it.
Unique among Rose Bowl most valuable players, Ervins grew up less than a mile from the famous stadium, parked cars there on New Year's Day and was a star at Pasadena Muir High.
He was, in short, a local boy made good, which is not to suggest that the journey to Rose Bowl immortality was anything close to a walk in Brookside Park for the former USC tailback.
Ervins' fractured home life was not the type that is celebrated with floats and marching bands in fancy holiday parades.
Ervins says his late mother, Naomi, battled drug addiction, resulting in constant upheaval and evictions after his parents divorced when he was 4 years old and he, his mother and two sisters left his father behind in Fort Wayne, Ind.
"It was very nomadic," Ervins says of his upbringing. "It was rough because my mother struggled, so I struggled."
We have read these sorts of stories before about other players from other teams. It is a shame that we read too many of these because it means there was a path of despair to get to that success.
I think it is pretty cool when someone overcomes these sorts of obstacles...I think it is sweeter when it is someone you're a big fan of!