Maybe there is something about Shawn Andrews' appearance as a giant Pillsbury Doughboy that makes Arkansas sports fans smile. Or maybe it's that this seemingly gentle, smiling giant off the football field runs like a gazelle on it and pancakes opposing defensive linemen along the way. Whatever, Andrews was the Arkansas Times' readers choice as the best athlete for 2004, putting him in company with such past winners as Sidney Moncrief, Corliss Williamson and current University of Arkansas quarterback Matt Jones.
That Andrews (6-6 and 360 pounds) chose to forego his senior season at the UA was thought to be a foregone conclusion, since he has been a two-time All-Southeastern Conference pick at offensive tackle and last year was a consensus All-American and finalist for the Outland Trophy, signifying the nation's top lineman. That he opted out of the Razorbacks' last game, the Independence Bowl win over Missouri, didn't seem to lower fans' opinion of him. The nasal polyps he cited as a reason to skip the game proved to be very real, and the first-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles recently underwent surgery. His agent, Rich Moran, says Andrews is holed up in a Philadelphia hotel as he recuperates and prepares to play his first season in the NFL
Andrews and the Eagles still haven't come to terms on a contract, Moran said, but his being the 16th overall selection should reap him millions. The Eagles already have Andrews as an expected starter at offensive guard come September.