Updated: Mar 1
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
As the entire world rains down on Arik Gilbert's breaking news decision to re-enter the transfer portal, leaving Florida after only 29 days, LSU fans wonder if the nation's #1 tight end may find his way back to Baton Rouge.
It's a strong possibility: within an hour of Arik's decision, Coach Orgeron was already on the phone with his former tight end, not trying to convince Gilbert to come back ....just letting him know he was there for support.
Many on social media haven't been so nice...
So many have questioned the tight end's mental health as he switches from LSU to Florida and back to the transfer portal... all since January 2nd.
But so many of those same people can't even imagine what kind of decisions Arik has made....or the intense ripple effect his next choice will have on his family, career and future....few people really understand the inescapable pressure, the unceasing expectation or continuous ridiculous demands from complete strangers on this 19 year old incoming sophomore.
According to our sources, Gilbert's sudden departure isn't about football, starting positions, playing time, Dan Mullen's buttchin (maybe a little) or anything to do with the sport....
This is about academic eligibility affected by mental health & other factors...namely drug use, which we aren't judging anyone about here. In fact 99% of people on this planet have either done or are doing drugs, struggle with mental illness or both. Through that logic, Gilbert isn't an outlier...what he's experiencing is a common result of being a human...shoved through a funnel of stress throughout the past 10 months, dealing with Covid as well as intensive isolation (during the 2020 season).
Instead, many have tried to frame Gilbert as this "ruiner" of all things...every choice he's made has either "ruined LSU", "ruined Florida" or "messed up his own chances" to play football during 2021....the truth isn't that dramatic.
It's actually very interesting to me...how so many are willing and ready to judge or mock famous people...in the hopes that each tabloid headline or hilarious GIF will hammer them back down to our level??
It's also disgusting to me how a large number of people are willing to attack Gilbert's mental health itself, making jokes about his unconfirmed drug use, speculating about whether he has bipolar disorder, challenging his work ethic, commitment and talent...obsessing over every choice Gilbert could ever make from now until the end of time, internalizing his path as an attack against them....and in that way, Arik must look at social media and think the entire world is against him.
Well...I'm not against you here at LSU Odyssey, Arik....I'm on your side. I'm not going to make my name by preying on talented teenagers when they're down and out...in fact, if you really care, that's when support must be at its highest.
...there's a mental health aspect to this. Not as extreme as some speculate... yet this is still an extreme situation showing how bad it can be for kids who have the world at their fingertips, but also in their ears, in their face....the lights can get oh so bright...the noise can be deafening, truth can become lies very quickly...friends turn into foe without a word...pretenders at every door...fake frauds who love you when you win on Saturdays but treat you like a leper when you lose...if you're injured, it's like you didn't exist...and if you decide another path may be what's best for your life, they'll cut your throat from ear to ear....
Tigers fans: We're better than that....let's stay classy.
Be advised: LSU's coaching staff and players are making a hard push for Gilbert's return and the young man' interest in coming back to Baton Rouge begins to grow with each LSU teammate or coach that reaches out to him.
While Gilbert's older brother Avis Jr doesn't want him coming back to the Tigers, much of his family would love to see him reinstated at LSU, especially his mother who still has a great relationship with Coach Orgeron.
The only thing which could keep this from happening?
The party scene Gilbert became entrenched in during last year's lonely pandemic season.
Everyone understands just what kind of team this could be with Gilbert back on the team....just imagine a passing attack containing Kayshon Boutte, Arik Gilbert, Jaray Jenkins, Brian Thomas Jr, Deion Smith, Chris Hilton Jr and Jack Bech...
Keep your ear to LSUODYSSEY.COM... we've been talking to people close to the situation from LSU, Florida and close to the Gilbert family, so you'll be getting the best information here.
UPDATE: i'm hearing it will take the entire team AND much of the community embracing Arik to get him back here. He's well aware of what's gone down since his decision was made public and the fallout in and around Baton Rouge as well as for him personally.
It wasn't a win for anyone. Maybe the best way to get past that is a reunion, but both parties are well aware it could also be the worst thing if mismanaged. Arik needs a support system and I know in LSU's new coaching staff, he'll have that fully.
I'm told it's going to take Arik Gilbert wanting to be a Tiger for good, not just for 2021, in order for LSU to take him back.
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Copyright 2021 Uninterrupted Writings Inc LLC
ARIK...WE'RE WITH YOU
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