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Former UM great Russell Maryland speaks about his election to College Football Hall of Fame (He thought Cortez Kennedy was playing a joke)

 

     Add another Miami Hurricane to the College Football Hall of Fame.

      Former Hurricanes defense tackle Russell Maryland undoubtedly had one of the thrills of his life Tuesday morning when he was named to the College Football Hall of Fame and then got to officially open the NASDAQ stock market in Times Square.

        Maryland, 42, won national titles with UM in 1987 and 1989. He was the first UM player to win the Outland Trophy as the nation’s top interior lineman in 1990. That year he had 96 tackles and 10.5 sacks. He was a consensus All-American and finished his career with 279 tackles, 25 tackles for loss and 20.5 sacks. He was then drafted first overall by former UM coach Jimmy Johnson’s Dallas Cowboys.

      Johnson, who went to Arkansas, was one of nine coaches nominated this year for the College Football Hall of Fame. But Johnson was not elected to the Hall.

      I talked to Maryland this morning, shortly after he helped open the stock market. It was pretty funny, actually, because they were about to interview Maryland before the stock-market opening, and some lady rushed up to the podium and told them they HAD to open the market on time. They were running way late, so nobody got interviewed live on the web, and Maryland, along with fellow new Hall members Lloyd Carr (former Michigan coach) and former Alabama DT Marty Lyons rang the bell (actually it was pushing a button) together.

     "They open the stock market at 9:30,'' Maryland said. "They can't be listening to me talking about my old Miami days and then stand there waiting on the floor for me to stop talking to conduct business.''

    Maryland said the whole experience has been very exciting. He wore a dark green (of course) suit and pumped his fist when he opened NASDAQ trading. He said he first learned the news recently when he was contacted by phone by National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame president and CEO Steve Hatchell.

    "He said, 'You know, you have to keep this under wraps,''' Maryland said of Hatchell. "But when he first contacted me I thought it was [former UM DT great] Cortez Kennedy or somebody close playing a trick on me. I was like, 'Come on Now!' I didn't even know I was nominated until Cortez called me when the nominations came out in March.

    "He said, 'Go to the website.' And the website has hundred and hundreds of names of guys who are great players. And I'm like, 'I can't believe this.' I see my name in the midst of them and I'm like, 'OK, I probably won't go in this year but there's always hope.''' 

     The National Football Foundation on March 7 announced the names of the 79 players (and the nine coaches) from the Football Bowl Subdivision who were nominated for induction.

      Maryland played defensive tackle in the NFL with Dallas, the Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers for 10 seasons.

      The other UM players in the College Football Hall of Fame are quarterback Gino Torretta, running back Don Bosseler, defensive end Ted Hendricks and safety Bennie Blades. Former UM coaches Jack Harding and Andy Gustafson are also in the Hall.

     "When Steve Hatchell called me a couple days ago and said, 'We want you to come to New York,' I was like, 'Man, this is probably real -- actually surreal.' It's an honor and a blessing to be named among the cream of the crop of college football athletes."

    For all you Canes fans who haven't kept up lately with Maryland's whereabouts, he now lives in Southlake, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. He was formerly a salesman for an electronics company in Dallas, but he's currently not working. His aspiration is to work in an official role with NFL or college athletes ("Maybe even high school athletes,'' he said) to help mentor athletes -- counsel them. Russell earned his degree in psychology from the University of Miami.

   Russell, who grew up in Chicago, is married to Rose, a Miami Edison High alum, and has three children: 14-year-old daughter Kyra, 11-year-old daughter Iris, and 6-year-old son Russell Jr.

    Congratulations to Russell!

    SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

  P.S. I'm still working on getting my first 1,000 followers on Twitter @smillerdegnan. I have 934 followers now and I thank each one of you!

 

 

 

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