The Wolfpacker

January 2017

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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JANUARY 2017 ■ 51 WHEREARETHEYNOW? BY TIM PEELER L ike he did as a two-time All- America wide receiver for NC State's football team, Nasrallah Worthen runs his routes fast and accurate. Only now, he does it for the U.S. Postal Service. "It's about accuracy," Worthen said, laughing. "Speed isn't everything." The former Dick Sheridan-era flanker and triple-jumping track star has worked for the post office in his hometown of Jack- sonville, Fla., since 1993, shortly after his two-year NFL career with the Kansas City Chiefs ended. First he worked indoors as a sorter, but he's been a mail carrier since 1998, toting his bag from house to house in the hometown he never thought he would escape. There's a huge difference, however, in being stuck in the housing projects of Jacksonville, where Worthen grew up, and choosing to live there in a house he bought with his NFL signing bonus and shares with his 18-year-old daughter, Summer Angel Worthen, and his wife of five years, Mo- nique Wilson Worthen. And he says the difference is his time at NC State, where Worthen had a significant impact on building Sheridan's successful program, and his four years as an under- sized, record-setting receiver helped him mature as a person. He especially played a huge role in estab- lishing the strict coach's disciplinary expec- tations for a famous incident in the spring of 1987 when Worthen was involved in an altercation in a parking lot near Reynolds Coliseum. He had loaned a small amount of money to a female classmate, and when he tried to collect the money during intermis- sion of a campus talent show, the boyfriend of the female student in question started an altercation. While they were scuffling, according to reports at the time, the girl and her friend also became involved and both said later that they lost jewelry in the fight. At his trial in May, Worthen pleaded not guilty to two counts of assault on a female, but judgment was delayed for one year. During that time, Worthen had to perform 50 hours of com- munity service and pay $300 in restitution to the two female students. Sheridan defended his player's actions in the altercation during a surprise press con- ference prior to the start of the 1987 season. "In my opinion, Naz is not guilty of as- saulting any females. He is guilty of getting involved in a scuffle with a male," Sheridan said at the time. "Naz, from our standpoint, is guilty of becoming involved with a male in a fight. What happened after that was Naz defend- ing himself." In the next breath, Sheridan announced that he was suspending Worthen for what was supposed to be his senior season, with the option of him returning the following year. The announcement sent shockwaves through a program that lost a slew of tal- ented seniors from Sheridan's Cinderella debut team in 1986: quarterback Erik Kramer, wide receiver Haywood Jeffires and kickers Mike Cofer and Kelly Hol- lodick. At the time, some followers of the pro- gram thought the punishment was unfair and unduly harsh. It cost Worthen, coming off his first-team All-ACC 1986 junior year, the chance to become an even bigger star in the aftermath of a season in which he led the Wolfpack with 41 catches and 686 receiving yards. It cost the team, which fell to 4-7 without Worthen in the fall of 1987, the momentum it had started the previous season. And it certainly cost Sheridan, who had exactly one losing season prior to 1987 in his remarkably successful high school and college coaching careers. Nearly 30 years after the fact, both Worthen and Sheridan still agree, as they did at the time, that suspending the star wideout was the right thing to do — even though it's doubtful that a current college coach would make the same decision today. "Some people thought it was an over- reaction," Sheridan said recently when he returned to Carter-Finley Stadium for the Wolfpack's game against Florida State. "Some people think I overdid it. I don't think so. I hear about coaches who are ask- ing their athletics departments to handle the discipline. I don't understand that. "Discipline was always the foundation of our programs." Sheridan was famously strict on the field. He didn't allow cursing, from his players or his staff, during practices or games. He instituted policies barring facial hair and long locks. There was a greater attention to detail in all facets of the game, along with a strong emphases on academics, fitness and leadership. Most importantly, Sheridan told his play- ers there would be consequences for ac- tions that brought negative attention to the program. "When he first got there, we had a lot of meetings, and he always laid out the rules: if you got into trouble, if you shined a bad The Star Wide Receiver Turned His Suspension From The Wolfpack Football Team In 1987 Into A Positive For Both His Life And Head Coach Dick Sheridan's Program. THE INCIDENT Worthen, who left NC State as the school's career leader in receiving with 131 catches for 2,247 yards, was named a third-team All- American by Football News in 1986 and picked as a second-team All-America selection by Sporting News in 1988. PHOTO COURTESY NC STATE MEDIA RELATIONS "What happened with Naz didn't slow the program down. It was an example of how to respond to the discipline we expected from all our players." ■ Former NC State head football coach Dick Sheridan Nasrallah Worthen Football (1984-88) Age: 50 Living: Jacksonville, Fla. Occupation: U.S. Postal Service Did you know? Worthern was the first of only five NC State wideouts to have over 2,000 yards receiving. ? WHERE ARE THEY NOW

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