Photo: Sharrif Floyd takes home the New York Stock Exchange gavel

@RLiuNFL

And produces the best photo of Sharrif Floyd ever, and more evidence that Floyd is one of the best Gators ever.

Here is a picture of Sharrif Floyd, on a bus, in dark shades and a suit with a remarkable pocket square, with the gavel from the New York Stock Exchange.

If you don't think this, apparently the first time anyone's taken home that mallet, is the best thing, here's a little perspective:

  • Floyd's father died when he was a child, and his mother proved unfindable last fall, and he learned that the man he thought was his biological father was not while in high school. Floyd has also been legally adopted, only to have that adoption scrutinized for possible NCAA violations.
  • After Floyd had surgery to repair a torn ACL in high school, he rode a bus and made his way home on crutches.
  • A little more than three years ago, Sharrif Floyd couldn't afford a trip to Gainesville to check out the college he wanted to play football at, which was the genesis of Floyd being ruled ineligible to play for Florida in the first two games of the 2011 season. Floyd's high school ran a bake sale to get him to the U.S. Army National Combine.
  • Floyd was never the showiest member of the triumvirate of five-star recruits comprised of Floyd, Dominique Easley, and Ronald Powell from Florida's storied 2010 recruiting class, but was always the most productive, starting games as a freshman and never missing a game due to injury for the Gators.
  • Floyd took out ads in both The Alligator and The Gainesville Sun thanking fans, coaches, and friends for his time in Gainesville, and signed them both "Gator For Life."
  • This is what Floyd says keeps him going:

    "I think what's kept me going is always knowing someone has it worse than I did," Floyd said. "I don't take a lot of credit for things. It's the people around me who helped me get here. And there are a lot of them. Draft night is going to be emotional, I know that. I have no dreams, though. I don't have the world. I'm not done yet. I still have to prove myself. I have to be my own worst critic. No one is going to push me like I push myself. I think that's where the drive has come from. I wouldn't change anything that's happened to me. But it is a great time in my life."

  • At some point on Thursday night, some NFL team will choose Sharrif Floyd to join its roster. Floyd will get a hug from Roger Goodell; the team will get a humble, driven young man who took the hard road to greatness despite dozens of opportunities to take easy roads to medocrity. Later this summer, Floyd will sign a contract worth millions of dollars, and will probably use that money first and foremost on the grandmother, Lucille Ryans, who helped raised him, and the people who he is always vocally thankful to for his lot in life. This fall, Floyd will put on some NFL team's jersey, and get to work doing the thankless job of a run-stuffing defensive tackle who allows other players to make plays by grappling with 330-pound offensive linemen for three hours.

    And for all those reasons, Sharrif Floyd deserves the richness of life as much as any Florida Gator has deserved anything. If you look close, you can almost see that in the smile of a kid from the streets with one of the greatest symbols of how good it can be to live in America in his paw.

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