FORT WORTH, Texas — When TCU fired KaVontae Turpin from its football program in 2018, the prevailing thought was that his football career was over.
Then-coach Gary Patterson kicked Turpin off the team after the returner was accused of assaulting a girlfriend.
It’s 2022, Turpin is 25 and he’s still playing football.
On Thursday, Turpin was named USFL MVP.
It’s still a long way off, but his performance may lead to the chance he covets, which is an NFL team look.
Turpin’s New Jersey Generals finished 9-1, and he led the league in yards and receiving yards. He also had 44 receptions and four touchdowns.
He led the USFL in punt return average and was the one to score a touchdown on a kick return.
The success of Tyreek Hill of the Miami Dolphins, who isn’t exactly great and has been no stranger to off-court troubles since his college days, could convince an NFL team to give Turpin a try.
After Turpin pleaded guilty in the spring of 2019 to assaulting his girlfriend, he was banned from attending TCU’s Pro Day. He organized his own Pro Day.
It didn’t matter. The NFL didn’t want him.
Turpin pleaded guilty to “assault causing bodily harm – domestic violence” in Tarrant County Criminal Court. His sentence was two years probation with deferred judgment and a 27-week domestic violence intervention program.
In March 2018, he faced a domestic violence charge against the same girlfriend during a fight in New Mexico. The assault charge was dismissed and he pleaded guilty to a disorderly conduct charge.
Turpin was expelled from the school after the team learned of the accusation in New Mexico, which he attempted to hide from TCU coaches and administrators.
During his four-year career at TCU, he was a two-time All-Big 12 and one of the best returners in school history.
TCU coaches and administrators loved Turpin and were sympathetic to his background.
They were aware of the difficult life he had come from in Monroe, Louisiana, and desperately wanted to help him avoid returning to the same setup.
There was no way to keep him on the team.
His 5-foot-9 frame and multiple woman assault charges were more than enough to keep the NFL from even looking his way.
In 2021 he signed with the Fan Controlled Football League.
Then he moved on to something called The Spring League.
In the fall of 2021, he joined the Wroclaw Panthers of the European Football League. In the final five games of the season, he had 702 all-purpose yards and six touchdowns.
When the USFL formed and held open tryouts, Turpin gave it a try.
He is the best player in the new league.
Will that be enough for the NFL to give him a look?
Turpin is generously listed at 5-foot-9, an inch shorter than Hill. Suppose both men are an inch or two shorter than they are shown.
Before Hill became one of the NFL’s most electric players with the Kansas City Chiefs, he had a history of troubling off-field violence issues in Oklahoma State.
He played with OSU for one season, but was kicked off the team in 2014 after his girlfriend, who was eight weeks pregnant with the couple’s child, alleged that Hill had assaulted her.
He eventually pleaded guilty and received three years of probation.
He finished his college career at West Alabama and was a fifth-round draft pick by the Chiefs in 2016.
In 2019, Hill was accused of abusing his 3-year-old son. In the end, neither he nor his fiancée, the same woman he allegedly assaulted in the state of Oklahoma, were charged with child abuse, but the district attorney said a felony had been committed. .
The DA couldn’t prove who did what to their child. Hill was not suspended by the NFL.
Since entering the league in 2016, he has been one of the best attacking players in football. He is one of the main reasons the Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl in the 2019 season.
KaVantae Turpin isn’t as good as Tyreek Hill; Turpin never had Hill’s Olympic-caliber speed.
Turpin is a good player. Good enough to at least make an NFL roster and help the good NFL team for a few seasons.
After all these years, he could finally receive that call.
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