ATHENS — Natrez Patrick and Chauncey Rivers were then, and still are, close friends. When you ask Patrick about Rivers being set to be part of a Netflix series, Patrick’s face lights up.
Their lives, however, have taken very different paths in less than a year.
Early last November, early on a Wednesday morning, the two then-Georgia freshman football players were arrested for possession of an ounce or less of marijuana. It would be just the start of Rivers’ troubles, leading to his eventual dismissal from the program.
For Patrick, however, it became a side note in what could become a strong Georgia career. He finished last season as a starter at inside linebacker, and will probably be so again.
“I’m blessed. I’m blessed for things to have worked out the way they did,” Patrick said. “I’m looking forward. Not looking in the rear-view, straight ahead. So I’m ready to see what’s to come.”
It was a different outcome for his friend.
Just over a month after their arrest, Rivers was arrested again, and again for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. Rivers and Patrick were riding together again, but Patrick was cleared and released at the scene. Rivers was arrested, handed an automatic four-game suspension by UGA, and put on his last strike.
That occurred this spring, in a third marijuana arrest. When Rivers was dismissed, it was what coach Kirby Smart called “a little bit of a shock factor” to Patrick, considering they were close friends.
“He knows he had to make some changes in his life and make some better decisions,” Smart said this spring.
“It was time to make up my mind,” Patrick said on Tuesday. “I made a decision that everything that happened was behind me. And I’m on to a new path.”
Rivers took another path. He’s now at East Mississippi Community College, which last season was the subject of the Netflix series Last Chance U. The series has been renewed, so Rivers seems like a natural subject.
“Everybody’s finding their own way,” Patrick said. “I do still keep in contact with him. We do still talk. And I feel like he’s doing good for himself right now, so I’m proud of him.”