Groupies, Drugs & Unbending Love: London Crawford’s Story

Former Razorback receiver London Crawford recently gave one of the more open and raw interviews I have ever heard with a Hog. The 29-year-old didn’t shy away from a single hardball question sports radio host Carter Bryant lobbed his way. Take the following exchange, for example:

Q: You are a handsome guy. Were the girls all over you in college?

 Yeah, sort of. I did my thing when I was in college, man, and you know it was fun. I’m glad I got it out of my system. Now I’m at the point where I need to to be focused on trying to find marriage. That’s what I’m looking for now. In college I did my share of bad things and rip and ran, and went to parties and hung out with girls — like, with a lot girls. I carried myself well so I was liked a lot, but thank God I made it out of there the right way.

Q: What’s it like having groupies?

Man, in that state of mind when I was in college, it was great to have woman all over you — women to love you or women to want to be with you or do whatever but as you grow mentally you think, “Is this worth it? What are you really benefiting from it? What are they giving you that’s going to make you really care or think about them beyond that time?”

Q : I feel bad, London, because I do radio and when people see me they’re like, “Oh my god, you look like this?!” Though I have a lot of listeners, I don’t have groupies man. What do I need to do to step my game up?

It’s not about how you look man, it’s about how you carry yourself. You carry yourself high, you carry yourself with confidence and you dress well, you smell well, you live well, you live clean. A lot of woman are drawn to the mind frame now. It’s not the old days where they’re drawn to how you look or what you got at the time because back in the day it was about, like “Oh, he got this amount of money.” But now it’s like what is his brain like? What kind of mind frame does he have? They want that longevity… They want the guys with the degree, the guy with the secure job, so things changed man.

Bryant also catches up with how Crawford is doing these days as a professional arena league football player. They talk about his young son — “he’s a very smart, handsome guy, love sports, loves video games” — and how grateful Crawford feels to have the opportunity to mentor him, to be the involved dad he did not have at the same age.  Crawford’s childhood was far from stable, but he nonetheless credits the early gang-related activity and street temptations as a source of strength. “Growing up in that tough environment, and growing up going through the drugs, and the fighting, and all of that stuff, it made me a better person. It made me a better man today.” He adds:

I’m happy my father has gotten himself to be able to be the dad in my life that I needed him to be and he’s a great grandfather in his grandson’s life. My mother she’s still having her struggles but I’m not ashamed of her struggles. The drugs are strong man, they take over people, and it’s hard for some people to come back from it… crack addiction is tough and I’ve watched it my whole life within my mother. She had bouts where she gets off of it but she relapses. I know it’s her because she’s asked me for help and I’ve tried, and she just relapses. It’s just something that is hard to control. A lot of people don’t have a strong mind frame like I have. A lot of people can’t overcome a lot of things. With that being said, regardless of what she does, she birthed me. I wouldn’t care if she goes through it for the rest of her life and I would love my mother like she’s always been in my life.

Q: Did it make you want to do drugs? Did you do drugs in high school?

To be honest with you man, I had a time where I went through where I wanted to sell it but for me to use it, to watch my mom go through the things that she went through and to watch me not have the things that other kinds had, to see my mom how bad she was looking when she was on that stuff … Man, I steered away from that.

Carter Bryant also spoke with Crawford about a white couple who essentially adopted him in high school and college. More insight about this unique  situation, often compared to Michael Oher and Lee Anne Tuohy in The Blind Side, is provided in an accompany Fox Sports Arkansas piece.

Q: Janice Givens and her wonderful husband Bryan Givens took you in. They’re white, you are black – was there racism? Was there pressure with them to take you in? 

… They treated me as if God never gave any human a color, he gave us a name, that’s how they treated me. They treated me exactly like they treated their two kids, Jonathon Givens and Thomas Given, if not sometimes better to be honest. Anything I needed, they were there. Every football game in high school, once they got in my life, every football game in college after they dropped everything — their jobs, everything to move to Arkansas because they felt like I needed someone to be there for me, they were there. Anytime I needed to talk to them about anything, advice wise, family wise. When I didn’t want to forgive my dad they told me “Look, we love you regardless of what you do. Your mother is your mother, your father is your father. You have to forgive in order to forget.” And I forgave.

janice givens Q: I guess I should rephrase the question. Did they face racism? Were people chirping about them?

Oh man! When I was in high school, there was a lot of people asking “Why is she trying to help him? What is she trying to get out of this?” A lot of doubters man. I’m talking about people that was close to me doubting. And when I got to college it was like, “Okay, they see that he’s a great athlete. They trying to get this, they trying to get this and that, doing this for a payoff for when he goes to the NFL…” Ya-da-ya-da-ya-da. Okay, I went to the NFL. I got hurt. That hindered me. I’m here now, living a wonderful life. I’m happy and they’re in my life everyday now. Where’s the payoff? They’re still the same people they were. It’s not this. They love me more now than they did then. So, no. They faced a lot, a lot of ups and downs. I’m talking about through the media, through social networks, everything. They faced a lot, man, but the love that they had for me never showed that it bothered them, ever. They always told me no matter what goes on them, that “We love you and we’re going to always be here for you.”


Like these “Where Are They Now” type articles with former Razorbacks? I write plenty more at my main site BestOfArkansasSports.com. Sign up for my once-a-week newsletter and never miss another new post:

Dallas Super Bowlers vs. Houston Super Bowlers: Kickoff and Punt Return Edition

 

Here is a list of all-time Super Bowlers who attended a high schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston areas, broken down by position. Make sure to check out my upcoming piece in the Dallas Observer to see how each metro area’s all-time Super Bowlers stack up against each other.

DFW High School Super Bowlin’ Kickoff Returners

Super Bowl W/L SB Year Team Player Kick (Yds) Kick (Rt) Kick (Y/Rt) Kick (TD) City of High School Name of High School
XVIII (18) Loser 1984 Washington Redskins Alvin Garrett 100 5 20 0 Mineral Wells Mineral Wells
XXVIII (28) Winner 1994 Dallas Cowboys Kevin Williams 50 1 50 0 Dallas Franklin D. Roosevelt
XI (11) Winner 1977 Oakland Raiders Carl Garrett 47 2 23.5 0 Denton Fred Moore
XVII (17) Winner 1983 Washington Redskins Mike Nelms 44 2 22 0 Fort Worth O.D. Wyatt
XXX (30) Winner 1996 Dallas Cowboys Kevin Williams 24 2 12 0 Dallas Franklin D. Roosevelt
II (2) Winner 1968 Green Bay Packers Tommy Crutcher 7 1 7 0 McKinney McKinney
II (2) Winner 1968 Green Bay Packers Doug Hart 0 0 0 0 Fort Worth Handley
XXXVII (37) Winner 2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Karl Williams 0 0 0 0 Garland Garland

In the Super Bowl punt return category, three Dallas Super Bowlers are in the books. Mike Nelms stands atop this knoll with 52 yards on six returns. Next up is former Buccaneer Karl Williams, of Garland High School, who returned a single punt for 25 yards in Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl XXXVII win.

The Cowboys’ Kevin Williams also returned one, for a meager five yards.

Houston Metro Super Bowlin’ Kickoff Returners

Super Bowl W/L SB Year Team Player Kick (Yds) Kick (Rt) Kick (Y/Rt) Kick (TD) City of High School Name of High School
I (1) Loser 1967 Kansas City Chiefs Bert Coan 87 4 21.75 0 Pasadena Pasadena
XLIX (49) Winner 2015 New England Patriots Danny Amendola 44 2 22 0 The Woodlands The Woodlands
XVIII (18) Winner 1984 Los Angeles Raiders Greg Pruitt 17 1 17 0 Houston Elmore

In the punt return department, two Houstonians have done it on the Big Stage. In Super Bowl XVIII, former Raider Greg Pruitt returned one eight yards in Los Angeles’ win over Washington. On the other side of the ball, speedster Darrell Green returned one for 34 yards in the Redskins’ loss. He returned another one four years later for a goose egg in Washington’s XXII win.

Now we go to the folks who so politely provide all those returns:

All-time Super Bowler Kickers & Punters, a la DFW

Super Bowl W/L Team Player XPM XPA FGM FGA City of HS Name of HS
XXXV (35) Winner Baltimore Ravens Matt Stover 4 4 2 3 Dallas Lake Highlands
XLIV (44) Loser Indianapolis Colts Matt Stover 2 2 1 2 Dallas Lake Highlands
XXII (22) Winner Washington Redskins Ali Haji-Sheikh 6 6 0 1 Arlington Arlington
XLIV (44) Winner New Orleans Saints Garrett Hartley 2 2 3 3 Southlake Southlake Carroll
XIX (19) Loser Miami Dolphins Uwe von Schamann 1 1 3 3 Fort Worth Eastern Hills
XVII (17) Loser Miami Dolphins Uwe von Schamann 2 2 1 1 Fort Worth Eastern Hills
XX (20) Loser New England Patriots Tony Franklin 1 1 1 1 Fort Worth Arlington Heights
XV (15) Loser Philadelphia Eagles Tony Franklin 1 1 1 2 Fort Worth Arlington Heights

Dallas’ sole punter representative is Curley Johnson, a Woodrow Wilson alum who kicked it at the University of Houston before heading to the NFL where he played for the New York Jets in Super Bowl III. He knocked out four of ’em at nearly 40 yards per pedi-pop.

Oh, and “Greater” Houston? Pssshh. This metro has only produced one Super Bowl field goal kicker. That would be Curt Knight, of Mineral Wells, who missed his only FG attempt for Washington in a losing Super Bowl VII effort.

All-Time SB Houston Metro Punters

Super Bowl W/L Team Player Yds/Punt Punts Yds City of HS Name of HS
XXIII (23) Loser Cincinnati Bengals Lee Johnson 44.2 5 221 The Woodlands McCullough
XXXVII (37) Loser Oakland Raiders Shane Lechler 39 5 195 Sealy East Bernard
XLIV (44) Winner New Orleans Saints Thomas Morstead 44 2 88 Pearland Pearland

For more DFW vs. Houston rankings, check out my BestOArkansasSports.com* post where I rank both areas’ all-time Super Bowler rushers and receivers.

If you really dig this kind of thing, make sure to sign up for my Texas sports stats email newsletter below. You’ll get all my future Texas-related posts. Sign up now and in your first blast I’ll send you something very similar to the above, except it will include all-time Super Bowl Texans regardless of native city.

 

 *OK, so I ventured a little out of state topically. So soooie me.