Inmates at Gadsden County Jail received a special visit from Florida State University’s Director of Football Relations Corey Fuller on Wednesday, September 6.
Fuller is a Tallahassee native, and played defensive back for the Seminoles from 1990-1994, including their first National Championship season in 1993.
Fuller was also a second-round NFL draft pick for the Minnesota Vikings, and played in the pros for ten seasons, after which he coached at FAMU, West Gadsden High, East Gadsden High, Rickards, and Godby, before being appointed to his current position in 2022.
Fuller spoke first to a gathering of both male and female inmates in the yard, after which he visited several pods within the jail.
Walking into one pod, inmates chanted the Seminole fight song, showing their respect for Fuller before he said a word.
After exchanging a few joking words with a Miami Hurricanes fan, Fuller got serious.
“We came from the same streets. The only difference between you and me is the decisions we made.”
Fuller told his audience about his brother being gunned down on Tallahassee’s Southside, and how it shaped his future.
“Being real isn’t being tough. Help us help you. Help us help this community. This ain’t no place for a man.”
After speaking to each group of inmates, Fuller mingled with them, shaking hands and listening, generating a warm energy that could, for a short time at least, make one forget that they were in a jail.
“I’ve spoken in alot of prisons in my time, being an athlete,” said Fuller. “I’m trying to get these young guys and ladies to understand that there’s still hope, and life outside of these walls.”
Fuller’s appearance was part of the jail’s new Winning Wednesday program, organized by Colonel Robert E. Barkley, Bureau Chief of Corrections, who accompanied Fuller on his tour of the facility and also spoke to the inmates.
“We’re always trying to do something to entertain the inmates, and help them get better when they get out,” said Colonel Barkley. “The first and third Wednesday [of the month] we have someone like Mr. Fuller come out and talk to the inmates.”
“Seeing the road my brother went down, he got caught up in the system at a young age,” said Fuller of his desire to reach inmates in a positive way. “It’s hard to overcome once you get in. If you don’t have a positive mechanism set in place, it’s just going to be a revolving door. I never go into a room in a prison or jail, a church, or other audience and just try to save everybody. That’s just not humanly possible. My goal, my dream is to just get them one at a time, as many as I can. Change starts with one.”
Stephen Klein – Gadsden County News Service