Apologetic Nicks says he let down Nebraska

New Orleans Saints offensive lineman Carl Nicks made a surprise

visit to Nebraska’s practice on Wednesday to apologize to coach Bo

Pelini and athletic director Tom Osborne for bad behavior when he

was a Cornhusker.

“I was proud of my school, but I know my school wasn’t proud of

me, so that was important to me,” Nicks said. “I’m

embarrassed.”

Nicks said his class attendance was spotty and his work ethic

lax during his senior season in 2007. Then, the weekend before the

Cornhuskers’ pro day in March 2008, he got drunk and was arrested

for refusing to leave a disorderly house party.

Though Pelini, hired in December 2007, never coached Nicks, he

banned him from the on-campus workout in front of NFL scouts.

Pelini’s decision initially angered Nicks.

“First thing I said was that I don’t even know this guy and he

doesn’t know me,” Nicks said.

But after thinking about it more, Nicks said, the punishment was

justified. In fact, Nicks said Pelini’s decision inspired him to

work “10 times harder.” He was drafted in the fifth round in 2008

and is a two-year starter at left guard for the Saints.

“I’m not who I was then,” he said. “It just kind of hurts, to

know I made a fool of myself.”

Dressed in shorts and a Kobe Bryant Lakers’ jersey, Nicks

approached Pelini after the coach’s post-practice session with

reporters. They talked for a few minutes and shook hands.

“I wouldn’t be true to Nebraska if I didn’t try to apologize to

Bo, even though I didn’t play for him,” Nicks said. “He’s the

face of Nebraska. I have to make it right with him, Mr. Osborne and

everyone I did wrong when I was here.”

Osborne surprised Nicks by greeting him as Carl – “I didn’t

think he knew my name” – and then told him to learn from his

mistakes and finish his college degree as soon as possible.

“I basically apologized to them for being an irresponsible

athlete,” Nicks said. “I didn’t really have to do it, but I felt

I needed to do it.”