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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Sunday's must-read profile of Will Weatherford

15

March

An excerpt from Michael Van Sickler's must-read profile of House Speaker Will Weatherford:

Weatherford — like a Weatherford should — excelled at football, and Jacksonville University recruited him to play defensive end.

Jacksonville coach Steven Gilbert said Weatherford had a maturity level that set him apart from the other players, except in one respect. He partied.

After his freshman season, Weatherford, 19, got a second degree misdemeanor in Manatee County for using a fake ID. He pleaded guilty, paid a $200 fine and was ordered to 25 hours of public service.

After his sophomore year, now 20 and a hefty 240 pounds, Weatherford was arrested in Ybor City after the Sant' Yago Knight Parade. When Tampa police arrived to find a brawl on 7th Avenue, others fled. Weatherford and a friend were handcuffed and charged with a first degree misdemeanor. He spent the night in jail.

He says the fight began after a belligerent drunk bumped into his 16-year-old brother, Sam.

"So I took care of it," said Weatherford.

Asked to explain further, he said: "I think I punched him in the face. Got him on the ground, and then, when I had him on the ground, I was beating on him.

"I wouldn't do that now," he adds. "I was a little wild, yeah. I was a big football player, and I had a big ego."

[Last modified: Friday, March 15, 2013 4:45pm]

    

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