Oh, Ross Verba...
For those of you who don't remember our good friend Ross, he played guard for the last great Hayden Fry Iowa squad. He was seen as a genuinely good kid while at Iowa. He was a first-round draft pick of the Packers in 1997 (one of two Iowa first rounders, along with the long-forgotten Tom Knight). Believe it or not, he was a Christian missionary while at Iowa, and continued his religious pursuits in his first few...well, days, in the National Football League.
His pro career was going relatively splendidly through 2004. He had solidified himself as a starter on the Packers' offensive line. He was making good money. He signed a free agent deal with the Browns in 2004. But then, for reasons passing understanding, he negotiated a buyout of his contract with the Browns (might have something to do with living in Cleveland) and fell off the face of the earth. According to Deadspin, he was once accused of rape by a Cleveland woman, and he periodically surfaced in Vegas (once with $500k in winnings; once with Paris Hilton and Tara Reid). Although he had not played in over a year, Matt Millen signed him for the 2006 season. And if there was ever a kiss of death for a football career, it is a contract with Millen.
Apparently, the Vegas bug got him, because earlier this month he was arrested for failing to pay back a $50,000 marker at the Wynn casino (by the way, a gorgeous but thoroughly overrated casino). In essence, it was a bad check charge. His case was ultimately dismissed, after Ross paid back the marker.
The story itself is sort of unremarkable: Des Moines kid makes a killing in the NFL, loses his way (and, apparently, his religion), falls into a life of decadence, and is ultimately in jail. But the Ross Verba story makes me scared for Chad Greenway. I mean, Verba went crazy and he was playing in GREEN BAY. What happens when Freddy Smoot and the rest of Sex Boat 2005 get ahold of Chad? May God help us.
Then again, I graduated from Iowa, and I have yet to meet Tara Reid. So he's got me there. Go get 'em, Ross.