By Eric Russell
Almost 15 years ago, Florida State had a much bigger shopping incident on its hands. Wide receivers Laveranues Coles and Peter Warrick, the Heisman frontrunner, walked into a Dillard's and paid $21.40 for items they picked out.
The Dillard's debacle started there.
The actual price for the merchandise was $412.38. The two receivers were arrested and faced grand theft charges. They both had the charges reduced to a misdemeanor. FSU allowed Warrick back on the team, but not Coles. He had a rep as the bad guy because of a few other incidents, including a simple battery charge.
Coles became a victim of the usual draft suspicion as highlighted in an ESPN Magazine article about the receiver tandem. The line that stands out the most in the article by Tom Friend is a quote from Coles about his image heading into the NFL Draft. Friend wrote, "Excuse my language," Coles says, "but Baltimore said, 'We wrote you off as a plan d---head. And Tampa Bay was the meanest. They wouldn't even meet with me."
The New York Jets picked him in the third round. Fast forward more than a decade and nobody thinks of Coles as the guy who was kicked off of the Seminoles national championship football team. All many see is a guy who often was praised by his teammates while compiling 8,609 career receiving yards, 647 receptions and 49 touchdowns in 10 NFL seasons.