This kind of confirms something that I've suspected for a while now...while State fans love to rag on Carolina for Willie Parker not recognizing his alma mater during intros on Sunday, State's relationship with their signature football alum may be just as icy.
You walk into NC State's football shrine, the Murphy center, and you have to search for a picture of Philip Rivers. His jersey? Only in a picture. Nine NFL helmets with autographs of former Wolfpack players sit in a glass case.
There isn't a Chargers/Rivers helmet among them.
Did it get lost in the mail? You could have walked it from San Diego to Raleigh in the five years that Rivers has been gone.
When recruits walk into the Murphy center they want to see recent history. Guys in the NFL who have played at NC State within the last decade. Guys who recruits see on TV playing right now. A star like Philip Rivers would pull some serious weight.
Who's fault is it?
Probably both parties. Rivers doesn't get back to NC State much at all. He is still bitter about Chuck Amato being fired.
It kind of makes sense, doesn't it? When was the last time Philip was on local radio? Was spotted at a football game? Was in town to take part in a charity event or some other State related event in the community. My boy Joe Ovies at 850TheBuzz has confirmed as much to me before -- the relationship between Rivers and State fans is mostly a one-way street.
It's odd that this story from Jeff Gravely comes on the same day that PackPride caught up with another N.C. State player doing well in the pros, Steven Tulloch, in a story entitled 'Tulloch: 'I Love NC State.' Tulloch, too had many positives to shower upon Amato, but he didn't seem to harbor any ill will toward State for his former coach's treatment.
With all due respect to Philip, I don't think he should be bitter that Amato was fired. He had difficulty getting the job done once Philip left and couldn't seem to get out of his own way with the media at the end. If anything, he should be proud that he is probably the reason Amato lasted as long as he did.
I would hope that Philip would take a page out of Amato's book. As much as Chuck was dogged and badmouthed during his final years here, the man still deeply and passionately loves the school he suited up and played football for. I wish, and hope, Philip reaches that point someday.
UPDATE 10-01-08: If you clicked on the above WRAL link hoping to find Jeff Gravley's story, I've got bad news...the story's no longer there. The link takes you to the front page of WRAL's new sports site, but a search on the new site yielded no results pointing back to the original piece.
Given the accounts posted in the comments section, I'm inclined to believe that Jeff was mistaken about his account of Rivers' memorabilia in the Murphy Center and decided to pull the piece. That's the only thing I can figure. If you find it on the redesigned page in the future, let me know via the comments or through email and I'll repair the link.