By JAY HEATER
Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.)
BERKELEY, Calif. - A string of injuries and the pain that has accompanied them has turned Geoff McArthur's dream into a nightmare.
While most of his senior teammates pray that they will get a shot in the NFL by being drafted this Saturday or Sunday, McArthur is hoping his phone doesn't ring.
"Physically, I can't go pro," said McArthur, who is recovering from knee and ankle surgery that was performed in December.
McArthur was hurt in Cal's regular season finale against Southern Mississippi when teammate J.J. Arrington fell on his leg. McArthur was blocking to spring Arrington, a tailback, for a few extra yards.
When doctors repaired his broken fibula and subsequent ankle damage, they also performed left knee surgery that was overdue.
"My knee cartilage is the main problem, it's just not right," McArthur said. "I'm not ready for a football environment. And I know that if someone was paying me, I would feel obligated."
McArthur, who set Cal records for career receiving yardage (3,188) and receptions (202), has been getting calls from NFL teams telling him they are interested in drafting him.
"I've told nine different teams that my goal is to rehab, get healthy and try again once I can walk comfortably," McArthur said. "My knee was bad going into last summer and I can't play another season with it this way again. I'm never taking another injection to play football, not unless something really big is on the line."
Admittedly, McArthur is getting a lot of criticism from his friends and family over his attitude, especially at a time when it seems likely he could be rewarded for an outstanding college career.
Although his speed is listed at around 4.6 for the 40-yard dash, he has shown that he has the quickness to separate from defensive backs. He is a strong, physical wide receiver capable of making spectacular catches.
But McArthur said he is trying to stop and think about his future when everyone around him wants him to react.
"Football is something that I love to do," he said. "I would be stupid not to try to make the NFL. I wish I could start training today. This is killing me.
"But I am going to stay away until everything dies down. I'm praying that my body will feel better."
McArthur will graduate from Cal in May with a degree in social welfare; he has obtained a real estate license