Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Family, friends struggle to understand Voss' choice to stop playing

Their emotions have ranged from shocked to devastated to downright numb. Some are at a loss for words, except to ask why. And they really have no clue what happens from here.

No one has died, mind you. To a far lesser degree, it just seems that way. Former Gulf and USF quarterback Alton Voss has chosen to walk away from football. For the time being, it appears a career once brimming with promise has passed on. Now, its survivors — specifically, those closest to Voss — are left to sort through their feelings and try to make sense of it all.

"He says that he just can't do it no more," said Robin Burge, the de facto guardian who essentially has raised Voss and regularly is referred to by the player as his stepdad.

"He said life is not fun for him at all. I don't know if he's exaggerating. … I'll never not love him. I'll always be supportive. It's just kind of hard to right now."

A Bulls redshirt freshman, Voss publicly announced his departure over the weekend, saying he was "going to take a step back from football. I'm not talking about transferring, just taking a year of school as a regular student."

Projected to be in a struggle for the Bulls' No. 3 quarterback spot, he said he had registered for a full course load at USF.

But on Monday, Burge told the Times that Voss informed him he was planning to enroll at St. Petersburg College that afternoon and perhaps pursue some type of degree in criminal justice.

Voss didn't respond Monday to messages left on his voice mail, but apparently had hinted of walking away for at least a few weeks. Bucs coach Jay Fulmer, who watched the rangy two-way star guide Gulf to the school's lone playoff berth in 2006, said the two had spoken in Fulmer's office earlier this month.

"He just told me that basically he's just tired of football," Fulmer said.

Voss also indicated the struggle for playing time at quarterback wasn't an overriding factor in the decision, the coach said.

"He's just tired of playing, tired of practicing, just really doesn't want to do it anymore," Fulmer said. "I told him if he feels that way, then he's probably doing the right thing. If you play and don't give it all you got, you're cheating yourself and cheating the team and could end up getting hurt."

Whether Voss experiences a change of heart after sitting out an autumn is anyone's guess. He has three years of collegiate eligibility remaining and indicated Bulls coach Jim Leavitt has kept the door open for a return, perhaps at another position. That scenario seems unlikely.

Fulmer said Division I-AA Eastern Kentucky, the Bucs coach's alma mater and home to the renowned College of Justice & Safety, also could be a viable option. That is, if the passion to play returns.

"I didn't put a lot of pressure on him or anything like that," Fulmer said. "The only thing I can tell you is, I've never seen this happen to a player who has played at such a high level. … It's just hard to believe a kid that can play at such a high level is losing interest"

Family, friends struggle to understand Voss' choice to stop playing 07/21/08 [Last modified: Monday, July 28, 2008 6:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. St. Petersburg's Sebastien Bourdais vows to return for IndyCar finale

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Sebastien Bourdais was in one of the best race cars he'd ever had, so fast that most of his competitors thought he would win the pole for the Indianapolis 500.

    Sebastien Bourdais does physical therapy at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana in Indianapolis. Bourdais broke his pelvis, hip and two ribs in an accident during qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 on May 20. He plans to return home to St. Petersburg soon to continue therapy. [Associated Press]
  2. Yellow cards stall Rowdies offense in tie with St. Louis


    ST. PETERSBURG — It's not the result they wanted, but it certainly could have been worse. Neill Collins' 87th-minute header off a corner kick was the reward the Rowdies settled for Saturday night during a 1-1 draw with St. Louis before an announced 6,068 at Al Lang Stadium.

  3. Calvary Christian routs Pensacola Catholic to win state baseball title


    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian left no doubt as to which baseball team in Class 4A was the best in Florida this season. The Warriors defeated Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium to claim the school's first state championship in any team sport. It also solidified a 30-0 season. …

    Matheu Nelson celebrates after scoring on a wild pitch during the first inning, when Calvary Christian took a 6-0 lead.
  4. Numerous lapses add up to frustrating Rays loss to Twins

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — While the Rays made some good defensive plays, threw a couple of big pitches when they needed to and got a few, and just a few, key hits, there were some obvious things they did wrong that led to them losing Saturday's game to the Twins 5-3:

    Rays reliever Tommy Hunter says the Twins’ tiebreaking homer came on a pitch that was “close to where I wanted it.”
  5. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. laughing right along after comical dive

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Souza being Souza.

    That seemed to be the best way to describe the entertaining — and comically bad — dive Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. attempted in Friday's game, and the good humor he showed in handling the fallout, including a standing ovation his next at-bat from the …