After a destructive 2015 football season that would end his dreams of the NFL, Ruhann Peele is working harder than ever for a major comeback.
Peele, a former Rutgers football star, was arrested several times in a 14-month span which resulted in him being indefinitely suspended from the team and arrested after he and four other teammates left a 19-year-old boy with a broken jaw.
“I was not even thinking, ‘You can’t keep doing this or (football) is going to get taken away from you. I wasn’t taking it as serious as I needed to, and it came back in the end and bit me,” Peele told NJ Advance Media.
He went on to say, “I messed up and threw it all away partying and drinking, making bad decisions. It’s still hard looking back at it — talking to some of the guys, seeing them on Snapchat, watching the games — like, ‘Man, you could’ve been there. You were so close to your dream and you threw it all away for stupid decisions.”
While Peele’s residency with Rutgers didn’t end until 2015, his last game was in 2013 as he was out due to a combination of injury and suspension stemming from a charge that was dismissed when the alleged victim twice failed to appear in court.
When Peele was questioned by his attorney about the fight, he said that he was confronted by two men while he was trying to leave a store.
He hit one of the men breaking his jaw and nose and rupturing his ear drum.
Peele admitted in court that it wasn’t self-defense.
How did he get to that low point?
“I just wasn’t humble and I was acting like I made it already,” Peele said. “I was in a good position. I was playing both sides. I was starting. I was having fun. Everyone knew me. I got caught up in the little limelight that I had. I just wasn’t living right.”
After the incident, Peele plead guilty to disorderly conduct in one indictment and to third-degree aggravated assault in another. He received probation and was ordered to attend anger management classes and undergo random drug testing.
Since the ordeal, Peele is trying to redeem himself.
5 days a week, he wakes up everyday at 5:30 a.m. to get a ride from his mom to a friend’s house where he will bide his time.
At 1:36 p.m. he takes a train to Secaucus, where travels to the Montclair State University Station.
Peele is working hard to convince Division II programs to give him a chance. In his last year of eligibility he thinks about the main question coaches will ask: Why should anyone believe this time will be different?
“The one thing that I love to do, and the one thing that drives me to keep going, is football. It actually got taken away from me the last time. You live and you learn, and without that I’ve been in a dark place. It’s been hard to even do things on a day-to-day basis. From the mistakes I’ve made, I’m here to show I’m a better person from it, and I’m not going to mess up again.”
“I definitely take full responsibility for what I did,” Peele said. “I think the coaches tried their hardest to put us in the best position to do good. At the end of the day, we’re on our own. They can’t be with us 24/7.”
According to NJ.com, Peele now trains at Parabolic, a common training ground for prior Rutgers football players who dream of the NFL.
He continues to go the extra mile, now calling coaches on his own. Peele relayed that he is close to landing at a Division II school but is awaiting admission.
“At this point, I’m willing to go anywhere to graduate from college and continue to pursue my dream for football. I’m never going to be able to live that down, but it’s in the past. I have to make better decisions from here on out.”
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