February 11, 2009

Wright dealing with adversity

September was a forgettable month for USC cornerback Shareece Wright. Trouble is, reminders are everywhere.

Wright suffered on-field and off-field setbacks in the first month of the season, breaking a bone in his neck after two games and getting arrested for a felony count of arresting a police officer.

"That one month was a bad month. I broke my neck and I got into that thing. It was not a good a month for me," Wright said. "I got in trouble with school a little bit. The hardest part was letting it go and taking it for what it is.

"I had to understand that things happen, and I had to respond the right way."

Wright has responded, but he's not out of the woods yet. The felony charge is still lingering, and he's not 100 percent recovered from the injury.

Still, he's trying.

Wright's returned to the field for each of the Trojans' winter workouts, and Tuesday, he participated in throwing drills and seven-on-seven work.

"I'm not too far behind," he said. "I've been doing everything they've been doing. I haven't been killed by the workouts. I've been making it through everything."

Wright said any fear over his injury has been alleviated by the joy of returning to the football field.

"I wasn't really worried or anything," Wright said. "I was more excited to get going again, to get back and try to catch up with the rest of the team as far as getting in shape."

Per the off field issue, nothing has really changed. At the latest pretrial hearing, Wright declined a plea bargain that would drop the felony charge to a misdemeanor - leaving him with a 90-day jail sentence that could be served on the weekends.

"It's taking a lot of time," Wright said. "It hasn't really progressed too much. It's not really in my hands, and I'm not trying to focus too much on it.

"It's up to the lawyers. I can't do anything about it now. I just can pray."

Clearing up the off-field issues would open the door for a clearer return to a secondary loaded with experience and talent.

"We're the oldest group of the team," Wright said. "We've got the most experience. As far as our awareness, we're going to be one of the strengths on the team."

Wright said the veteran group has already discussed what it needs to do during workouts and the upcoming season.

"That's one thing we've talked about already, being leaders," Wright said. "It's important to do that at practice and during these workouts. We're the older group this year. We lost all of our linebackers and some guys on the line; those guys were our leaders.

"Now, it's our time."

The process has already begun, Wright said.

"We like to lead by example. We work hard," he said. "If the young guys see us working hard, they'll follow us. We need to go to the front of the line and set the standard."

The group figures only to get stronger come summer, when members of the secondary-heavy 2009 recruiting class arrive on campus.

"I'm really excited because I've been there before. With so many guys coming in, now I'm the older one," Wright said. "I'm excited to teach them the things I've learned. I'm going to try and make them as good as they can be.

"We'll need them. You never know what's going to happen."



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