A little-known fact about Chris Turner – the man loves Ledo pizza.
Well, maybe his teammates and family and friends know. He’d mentioned it to me in August 2008 during a camp interview, and I thought “Well, that would be a pretty cool detail to use down the road.”
A week later, he wasn’t the starting quarterback anymore and any thoughts of building a feature around his appreciation of a classic College Park pizza joint got shelved.
Of course, three weeks after that, he was starting again – and he wound up getting the nod in 22 of Maryland’s next 24 games.
That run ended last month, and Turner insists he has no regrets about his unorthodox career path. We talked – where else? – at Ledo’s earlier this week, a conversation that led to this dead-tree edition story.
It will be fascinating to see how Turner is remembered by Maryland fans, once the present-day myopia of the recent wins and losses shakes out.
It is inescapable he was the starting quarterback of a 2-10 team in his final season. Yet his name is also scribbled all over Maryland’s record book, in part because of the poor fortune (Jordan Steffy) or mistakes (Josh Portis) of others but also because Turner maximized his opportunities early in his career when granted the opportunity.
Ultimately, there was little he or anyone else was going to accomplish this year behind a patchwork offensive line, and it’s a minor miracle he made it into November before an injury sidelined him. That fact rightfully tempered some of the criticism he could have absorbed – scrutiny he surely would have received if he played in a more rabid college football market.
People will probably remember the upset of Rutgers, the huge game against Boston College and the string of victories against ranked teams in 2008. Sure, Turner wasn’t the second coming of Boomer Esiason. And no, his final year didn’t turn out the way anyone envisioned.
But there’s a lot of Maryland quarterbacks in the last 25 years who didn’t create the sort of memories Turner did for Terps fans. They’d be wise to recall that when looking back on his career.