Tim Duckworth was a highly rated lineman coming out of Taylorsville, Miss. But Duckworth says he never received extra benefits as a recruit or as an Auburn University football player.
“I didn’t see anyone getting money,” said Duckworth, who was an offensive line teammate of Troy Reddick.
Reddick and three other former Tiger players claimed in interviews with HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” that they received illegal cash, mostly from boosters, during their recruitment or during their Auburn careers. But Duckworth and other former Auburn players who were contacted Wednesday said they never received any cash and don’t know of any Auburn players who did.
Jonathan Palmer, a free-agent offensive tackle after playing the 2010 season with the Jacksonville Jaguars, was a teammate up front with Duckworth and Reddick.
“As far as money goes, I have no idea (what Reddick is talking about). I didn’t get anything,” Palmer said. “I was pretty highly recruited. All of the schools in the SEC, all the schools in the Southeast, even Ohio State and Michigan. No one paid me.” Palmer said he didn’t see or hear anything like the activities alleged on HBO when he was in college.
However, he said, after spending time in NFL locker rooms, he knows there are illicit payments made to college athletes at some schools.
“It goes on, under the table, from guys from smaller schools to big schools,” Palmer said. “You know that from talking to other guys in the NFL.
“I guess it just depends on the individual. My family, we just went through with the flow. Some people may be out for personal gain and have their hands out, but I wasn’t like that.”
Palmer said he understands why it happens.
“It’s the times we’re living in,” he said. “Money talks and people have needs.”
Former Auburn center Joe Cope, another linemate of Reddick’s, said he’s most upset that the accusations paint a negative light on the Tigers’ accomplishments during that period, including the undefeated season of 2004. He believes the accusations stem from bitter players whose careers didn’t pan out.
“I don’t think they’re telling the truth, but it leaves an asterisk on what we accomplished and that’s not right,” Cope said. “The rest of the country thinks Auburn must have paid players instead of us working hard and busting our (tails), which is what happened. We all went through college life together. I didn’t have much money. Guys I knew didn’t have much money. We were brothers, we were teammates. So having guys say this, it hurts.”
Former Auburn All-American safety Junior Rosegreen said Stanley McClover, a former teammate and one of the players who appeared on HBO, spent a large amount of his $1.2 million from his NFL career at strip club