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McGahee to try to go pro

Jan. 14, 2003 at 8:13 AM

MIAMI, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Despite a serious knee injury, Miami running back Willis McGahee will enter the NFL draft pool this year.

He will be joined by star wide receiver Andre Johnson.

McGahee, who tore three ligaments in his left knee in the national title game loss to Ohio State, announced his plans to make himself available for the draft on Monday night.

Johnson told the Miami Herald that he also will try to turn pro, thus forgoing his senior season at Miami.

"I just felt like I was ready to go to the next level," Johnson told the newspaper.

The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft is Wednesday.

McGahee, a Heisman Trophy finalist who helped Miami play for a second straight national championship in the Fiesta Bowl, underwent knee surgery on Jan. 5 after tearing up his knee in the fourth quarter of the Hurricanes' 31-24 double-overtime loss to Ohio State.

The 6-1, 224-pound McGahee, a third-year sophomore, rushed for 1,686 yards and 27 touchdowns after beginning spring practice behind Frank Gore on the depth chart.

While McGahee took out a $2.5 million insurance policy in case he does not play again, he likely would have received an NFL signing bonus far exceeding that if he was not hurt.

"I have no reason to seek and I have no interest in seeking to collect on my $2.5 million insurance policy," McGahee said in a prepared statement. "My unfulfilled dream is to play in the NFL."

Johnson led the Hurricanes last season with 1,092 receiving yards. He caught 52 passes, including nine for touchdowns.

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