Redskins rookie running back Alfred Morris was the NFL's second-leading rusher this season. Indianapolis Colts rookie quarterback broke the rookie quarterback record for most passing yards in a season and turned around a Colts team that won just two games a season before.
They defied the conventional wisdom on the field, but both, despite coming from different backgrounds, equally do not fit the stereotypes of modern professional athletes. Morris still drives his 1991 Mazda to work. Luck does not have a smartphone and still uses a $10 AT&T flip phone he has had since college.
Their pedigrees could not be more different. Morris was a sixth-round draft pick who comes from humble beginnings. Luck grew up comfortably (his father, Oliver, played quarterback in the NFL, primarily as Houston Oiler Warren Moon's backup) and was a much-heralded No. 1 draft pick coming out of Stanford.
Morris never had a car in high school and did not have one for the first three years of college. Morris's college, Florida Atlantic, was 10 hours from his home -- and he once walked back.
“The two most reliable things I had were my legs, so I used to walk everywhere,” the 5-foot-10, 218-pound Morris told the Washington Post. “I’d walk to class, walk to work at Sears. It was quite a haul, but I’d walk it. I wanted a car so bad.”
Morris's pastor sold him the car during Morris's junior year at the school for two dollars. He wanted to give Morris the car for free but did not want to risk violating the NCAA's byzantine rules.
“He said, ‘Two dollars. Just two dollars,’ ” Morris said. “I said, ‘What?’ He said, ‘Two dollars!’ God answered my prayer. I was like, ‘It might not be much, but it’s mine.’ I wouldn’t let anybody steal my joy. They’d crack on me when I got it, and I’d be like, ‘Oh, that Bentley out there? Yeah, I’d be jealous if I didn’t have one, too.’ And the name just stuck.”
As the Post noted, though Morris makes $390,000 this year as a rookie, he prefers to save money to help his family.
“Why would I waste money on another car? My needs are met,” he said.
Morris also sleeps on his "comfortable" couch, by choice, when he goes back home to visit his family. He had to temporarily find a replacement car for the cold D.C. winters when his Mazda would not start and he had to ask a Redskins employee for a ride back home. But Morris has no plans to give up his Mazda.
"I'm glad I didn't grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth, because I wouldn't appreciate things," Morris said to Yahoo! Sports. "I don't think I would have the work ethic I do have -- that determination and drive."
In college, Luck rode around on a bike he borrowed from his sister, a volleyball player at the school. He was known for his unassuming nature on the campus, which fit Luck's style. The bike did not have breaks, so Luck had to wear boots to stop the bike.
Stanford head coach David Shaw once said of Luck: “My wife tells me, ‘I want to spend time with his mother to know how in the world she created this kid,’"
There are others who are saying the same about Morris.
photo credit: Redskins.com