Nicks apologizes to Pelini, Osborne

LINCOLN, Neb. -- New Orleans Saints offensive lineman Carl Nicks made a surprise visit at Nebraska's practice on Wednesday to apologize to coach Bo Pelini and athletic director Tom Osborne for bad behavior when he was a Cornhusker.

"I was proud of my school, but I know my school wasn't proud of me, so that was important to me," Nicks said. "I'm embarrassed."

Nicks said his class attendance was spotty and his work ethic lax during his senior season in 2007. Then, the weekend before the Cornhuskers' pro day in March 2008, he got drunk and was arrested for refusing to leave a disorderly house party.

Though Pelini, hired in December 2007, never coached Nicks, he banned him from the on-campus workout in front of NFL scouts.

Pelini's decision initially angered Nicks.

"First thing I said was that I don't even know this guy and he doesn't know me," Nicks said.

But after thinking about it more, Nicks said, the punishment was justified. In fact, Nicks said Pelini's decision inspired him to work "10 times harder." He was drafted in the fifth round in 2008 and is a two-year starter at left guard for the Saints.

"I'm not who I was then," he said. "It just kind of hurts, to know I made a fool of myself."

Dressed in shorts and a Kobe Bryant Lakers' jersey, Nicks approached Pelini after the coach's post-practice session with reporters. They talked for a few minutes and shook hands.

"I wouldn't be true to Nebraska if I didn't try to apologize to Bo, even though I didn't play for him," Nicks said. "He's the face of Nebraska. I have to make it right with him, Mr. Osborne and everyone I did wrong when I was here."

Osborne surprised Nicks by greeting him as Carl -- "I didn't think he knew my name" -- and then told him to learn from his mistakes and finish his college degree as soon as possible.

"I basically apologized to them for being an irresponsible athlete," Nicks said. "I didn't really have to do it, but I felt I needed to do it."