When Dallas Cowboys Rayfield Wright and Troy Aikman were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame earlier this month, we were reminded of what happens when great players are also good people. When Dwayne Goodrich was ordered to pay $6 million in damages in a Dallas court yesterday, we were reminded of what happens when football players trick themselves into thinking they're invincible. That's what allowed Goodrich to drink heavily in topless bars and then drive his BMW home at 120 mph--thinking he'd never get caught by police, thinking he'd never run over three good Samaritans. But that's exactly what happened back in January 2003, when Goodrich, a former Cowboys second-round draft pick, went partying at Silver City Cabaret and The Lodge and then plowed into three men who had stopped to help a man out of a burning car along Interstate 35E.
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I saw Goodrich at a downtown Dallas sports bar last winter. There were people all around him and drinks all over his table. But you could see the pain in his empty eyes and on his hollow face. One bad--one horribly bad--decision had ruined his life. Goodrich is serving a 12-year sentence in jail and, from all accounts, is broke. Cowboys like Michael Irvin, Nate Newton, Erik Williams and Keith Davis have made questionable bad decisions behind the wheel. Goodrich's mistake, however, had a permanent impact--for the victims and for him. --Richie Whitt