Last weekend was not the most ordinary for the Florida Gators, well at least not as ordinary as things can be for a program that may have no more popular figure than Chucky doll that is carried around by one of its players.
That doll, of course, belongs to senior defensive tackle Dominique Easley, who has possessed it – or vice versa – since the day he stepped on campus.
With Easley now out for the season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament and medial meniscus during practice one week ago, he was not about to let the motivational aspects of the doll fall by the wayside.
Enter sophomore Buck linebacker Dante Fowler, Jr., who has his own special relationship with the doll.
“When I was a freshman last year, when Ease had [Chucky], I used to be with him all the time. I used to kidnap [Chucky] from him and stuff like that. So he always came with me,” he explained.
“I used to go to [Easley’s] room and we’d just watch TV and I’d be like, ‘Alright, I’m leaving and taking [Chucky] with me.’ He’d say, ‘Where you going with him?’ I’ll be like, ‘No, I’m just going outside in the hallway.’ And then [Chucky] ends up spending the night with me and stuff like that.”
Fowler’s bond with Chucky got even tighter this past weekend when he took the doll with him on Florida’s charter to Lexington, KY.
He explained: “Just with Ease [being injured], bringing a piece of him with me and stuff like that. Just to know that he’s still there and stuff like that. I always been liking Chucky.”
Senior safety Jaylen Watkins said the doll being around was actually a bit of a motivator for the team as a whole.
“Actually seeing that made everybody cheer up a little bit about not having him there and made everybody play a little harder,” Watkins said.
He also explained that Easley left the team with a bit of advice, ironically enough just hours before he suffered his season-ending injuries.
“He stood up here, I think it was Monday or Tuesday, and spoke to us and just told us to cherish every moment on the field,” Watkins explained. “That said a lot to us because I’m pretty sure he didn’t think on a Tuesday practice that would be his last Gator game. It meant a lot to us and we knew we had to go out and play for him, especially because he couldn’t come on the trip with us.”
It may still be a few weeks before Easley travels with the team – surgery and the beginning of the healing process will likely have to take place before he is cleared to get on a plane, stand on his feet and walk around – but it appears like his right-hand man will continue to have a place in the Gators’ locker room for the foreseeable future.
Photo Credits: Unknown, David Jones/Florida Today, Unknown