ATHENS — Former Georgia great Tim Worley attended the Bulldogs’ practice on Thursday, and he was beaming after getting a look the running back group.
Worley said it reminded him of his time in Athens back in the mid- to late-1980s, when he shared carries with the likes of Rodney Hampton, Lars Tate and Keith Henderson. Each one of them ended up in the NFL, and he expects the same will true of the ones who are currently wearing UGA’s red and black.
“It’s great to see Georgia still has that stable of running backs,” Worley said of Todd Gurley, Keith Marshall, Brendan Douglas, Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. “We keep a stable of running backs and that’s what I love about this university.”
But Worley wasn’t here to size up the Bulldogs’ tailbacks. He was in town to address the entire team’s character. Worley now runs a company called Worley Global Enterprises and he travels the country as a motivational speaker and life skills consultant for college and professional athletes as well as corporate leadership, recovery centers and young adult groups. He was invited to talk to the team by coach Mark Richt, who has had to deal with several high-profile disciplinary issues in the last year.
“I talked about character and ‘higher-ground habits,'” Worley said. “One of the things we’re seeing all across the nation when it comes to athletes is they’re slowing sabotaging their careers. . When you look at my history, that’s one of the things I did. I had the world in the palm of my hands and I sabotaged it. I have a hatred for that now.”
After rushing for 1,216 yards as a junior at Georgia, Worley became the seventh pick of the 1989 NFL draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. But his career lasted only six years, cut short by his abuse of alcohol and drugs.
Worley’s life reached a low point in 2008 when he was arrested for DUI and tasered during a highly-publicized arrest in Smyrna. But he’s proud to say that he turned his life around after that incident and has been sober ever since.
“I had to learn the hard way and I came to let these young men know they don’t have to go through that,” Worley said. “I told them, ‘as you work your bodies out, as you build to be a better football player, also work your character out, to be a better human being off the field.”
Worley has taken a particular interest in Georgia’s current top tailbacks. He met Gurley and Marshall last year and delights in the fact that they are North Carolinians like himself.
“They’re my homeboys,” said Worley, who hails from Lumberton. “I like that Georgia is really recruiting the state of North Carolina. Outstanding young men, very, very respectful and professional.”
Worley has been married for the past four years to Dee Foster, the former All-American gymnast for Alabama, and they live in Huntsville, Ala.
On, yeah, and he could play a little, too. Some of his Georgia highlights: