Eno Benjamin went to Arizona State, and it doesn't take long to be in the state to realize how heated the rivalry is between ASU and the University of Arizona. ASU is in Tempe, UArizona is in Tucson, but the distance is much more than the 108 miles or so between the two main campuses.
(For instance, ESPN, please be careful with the logos or the mascots or their cities when you talk about one school or the other.)
Now that he's a Cardinal, though, on a pro franchise representing the entire state, Benjamin has some thinking to do.
But first, some backstory. The Cards' seventh-round running back, being from Texas, didn't know much about the schools' back-and-forth when he first arrived. Even being on the team as a freshman, the fact he wasn't playing much made it harder to get into the emotion of the moment.
"I never really understood what the rivalry meant," Benjamin said.
As a sophomore, though, Benjamin -- by then the team's star back -- noticed the escalation before the annual meeting between the schools. "It fueled me," Benjamin said. And then in May of last year, Benjamin was tweeting when the city down south became a subject.
"I tweeted random thoughts going through my head (and wrote) 'I want to be the most hated man in Tucson.' " Benjamin said. "Everyone ran off that."
"Everyone" included Benjamin. A budding entrepreneur, Benjamin started a clothing line to capitalize on his soon-to-be-NFL career. Included among the options were shirts and jackets bearing "Tucson's Most Hated."
Now, though, he is an Arizona Cardinal. So does he try and regain the relationship with the city down south?
"That was a question that went through my head," Benjamin admitted.
"You know, I am faithful to my school," he added. "But what I will have to take to just let them back in my life, and me back into their life as well, we're going to see."