The many they call “Swaggy”stood in front of the high school football team wearing his cavernous smile and a toggled green sweater.
Nose tackle Chris Baker returned to Windsor, Conn., as a success story, an emblem of what could come of out of the Hartford area. Baker fielded questions about his day-to-day life as a professional athlete. Then he talked about his mistakes.
Years before Baker’s career survived cuts from two other teams, before he became a member of Washington’s defensive line rotation, the big man messed up.
The local boy who made good interrupted the love fest to talk about how he was kicked out of Penn State in 2008 for his involvement in two separate fights.
“Part of the reason was just being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Baker said at Redskins Park a few days after his visit.
“When you see a bad situation happening, instead of running toward it to see it or to see who’s fighting, just get away from it. When you’re young, sometimes you want to see what’s going on. As you get older, and you’re away from your parents for the first time when you’re in college, when things happen, no one can call home to mom or dad.
“They’re going to call right to the police station. It’s easy to get into trouble but hard to get out. I just shared some of the trouble that I got into so they could learn from my experiences coming up.”
Baker’s cautious message underscored an otherwise happy day. he visited his elementary school, hugged old teachers and gamely accepted NFL trash talk form children a fourth his size.
He answered a lot of questions about Robert Griffin III. No, he’s not allowed to touch the quarterback in practice.
The Swaggy kid who always had a large head learned from his mistakes.
Tags: Chris Baker, washington redskins, Windsor, Windsor High School
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