For Verron Haynes, the play never gets old.
The highlight of his Georgia Bulldog career came in 2001 when the coaching staff called “P-44 Haynes,” a play where the fullback sneaked up the middle past the Tennessee defense. Haynes hauled in a 6-yard touchdown pass from David Greene in the waning moments, the famous hobnail boot play described by Larry Munson.
“I’m honored that a legend like Larry Munson has put me on the map,” Haynes said. “Larry had a unique skill of letting guys transform from the field to your living room and making them a household name.”
Haynes and fellow Georgia star D.J. Shockley entertained 70 youngsters at the MVP football camp Saturday at Augusta Christian, delivering an inspirational talk as well as helping with fundamentals and playing flag football. Later in the day, the Bulldog duo signed autographs in Columbia County.
“It’s a satisfying thing to come out here and teach kids things you learned all of your years and then be able to give it back to them,” said Shockley, the former quarterback who led Georgia to the 2005 Southeastern Conference championship. “Coming out here is like you’re back playing again.”
Haynes, 33, and Shockley, 29, are retired from professional football. Shockley, who played with the Atlanta Falcons from 2006-10, works in radio and TV in Atlanta and is currently working out a deal with an Atlanta TV station to cover the Bulldogs and Falcons in the fall. He said the transition from football to the working world has been seamless.
“For me, it was easy because I knew it was going to be over one day,” Shockley said. “I was always taught at an early age you can’t put all your eggs in one basket. I knew eventually I needed to start doing things that would set me up for later on.”
Haynes played six seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and in 2005 became the first native of Trinidad & Tobago to win a Super Bowl ring. He finished his career with the Falcons in 2009. Haynes lives in Roswell, Ga., and works as a commentator for ESPN International, covering events like cricket and soccer in English-speaking countries outside the United States.
Haynes said he’s optimistic about his former college team’s chances this fall. But, he added, a lot will depend on Georgia’s upperclassmen.
“A lot is going to ride on the attitude of the older guys,” he said. “The older guys need to let the younger guys know to stay the path. You’re never as good as they say and you’re never as bad as they say you are. I think we’re going to have a successful season if we stay the path.”