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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Players turned students adjust to life off field

    Former UA backup kicker Adam Goldstein, a finance senior, plays NCAA Football 2007 on Playstation 2 as Arizona last night in his bedroom. After being a member of the football team for the past three years, Goldstein left the squad to concentrate on his future career in finance.
    Former UA backup kicker Adam Goldstein, a finance senior, plays ‘NCAA Football 2007’ on Playstation 2 as Arizona last night in his bedroom. After being a member of the football team for the past three years, Goldstein left the squad to concentrate on his future career in finance.

    As he toured the sideline at Arizona Stadium in the early moments of the Arizona football team’s “”Meet the Team”” scrimmage on Aug. 19, Jason Argos did what he usually did during games as the Wildcats’ scout-team quarterback last season – he talked with coaches and chatted with players roaming to and fro.

    But as halftime approached, Argos found himself scaling the student-section bleachers to a second-level platform far removed from the action.

    Having quit the team two months earlier to concentrate on work and school, Argos watched the rest of the game as an everyman, a role he still has yet to embrace.

    “”I miss being down there,”” said Argos, dressed in a student’s uniform of a T-shirt, jeans and a baseball cap. “”Football’s really addictive at this level. Here, once you’re done, you probably won’t be playing organized football again. Once you hang it up, you hang it up for good.””

    Argos is one of a handful of former Wildcat football players adjusting to new roles this fall.

    But unlike guys like redshirt sophomore cornerback Gerold Rodriguez and freshman running back Derke Robinson, who have elected to pursue playing opportunities at other schools, Argos’ departure was predicated more on the “”student”” than “”athlete”” half of his title.

    “”I think what it really came down to was getting my grades last semester,”” said Argos, a communications junior. “”I had a 4.3 (GPA) in high school, and I got a 2.5 last spring. I’m not blaming it on football. It was just my priorities weren’t correct.””

    Former special teams player Adam Goldstein had to confront a similar quandary last fall, when a series of academic discoveries and new career opportunities led him to quit the team in December.

    By the time the 2005 season concluded with a 23-20 loss to ASU last November, Goldstein, then a junior, had learned from a credit check that he could graduate with a degree in finance a semester early.

    He had already been offered an internship from RBC Dain Rauscher, the 10th-largest securities firm in the United States, and was contemplating taking a two-week summer-session course in international financial markets that would include trips to London and Amsterdam.

    With his options on the table, Goldstein decided not to pursue a fourth straight year backing up redshirt senior kicker Nick Folk.

    He went to UA head coach Mike Stoops’ office and informed him that he would be leaving the team to concentrate on his career.

    “”It was no hard feelings or anything,”” Goldstein said. “”I have nothing but respect for that program. I just had the opportunity that I wouldn’t have been able to do.””

    The main adjustments to being off the team, Argos and Goldstein said, have been coupling a loss of identity with a lot of extra time.

    Goldstein rooms with linebacker Dane Krogstad and offensive lineman Peter Graniello, and when they head off to practice in the afternoons, Goldstein stays behind and pops in the recently released “”NCAA Football 2007″” for the Playstation 2.

    A video-game junkie, Goldstein has already played Arizona through enough seasons in the dynasty mode to graduate Krogstad, a junior, to the NFL.

    “”During (fall) camp, I was pretty jealous of him,”” Krogstad said. “”We were out here doing two-a-days and he’s sleeping in until 11, noon, playing video games.””

    Argos, meanwhile, has rejoined the team as an undergraduate assistant in charge of overseeing the scout team, which runs opposing teams’ plays to prepare the Wildcats in drills during game weeks.

    He hopes to become a graduate assistant after he graduates and said his love of campus life developed over three years in Tucson has made Arizona his top choice.

    “”We’ll use him in the office, breaking down film, helping us,”” said UA offensive coordinator Mike Canales of Argos’ role this season. “”He wants to be a coach, (so) that’s what he’s going to learn. It’ll be fun to have him around.””

    Whether its on the golf course or at the movies – a few weeks ago, Argos went with a group of players to see Kevin Smith’s latest film, “”Clerks II”” – the two former players have stayed close to their former teammates.

    “”This is my fraternity, you know what I mean?”” Argos said. “”These 95 guys, this is my frat.””

    Despite not taking an official snap with the Wildcats, he said he has plenty of memories of his year and a half spent with Arizona, including his promotion to the traveling team the final four games of last season.

    The experience culminated in Argos’ first visit to Sun Devil Stadium as a player after he failed to get to the state championship game there twice while attending Mesa’s Red Mountain High School.

    Now, with that November trip to face ASU still fresh in his mind, he struggles with not being involved in organized sports for the first time since he was 5 years old.

    “”Being an athlete and a student is such a privilege,”” Argos said. “”It’s a hard thing to give up.””

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