As Andrico Hines will tell you, hindsight is 20/20. Maybe the Spokane Shock starting quarterback should have forgone his senior season at Middle Tennessee State and opted for the surgery on his torn patella tendon.
His doctor gave him two choices: fix the right kneecap and miss his senior season, or play and miss his pro workout.
“I was stuck with a pretty hard decision,” Hines said.
He made the unselfish choice – got a shot in the knee before every game – and played.
“I didn’t want to let my teammates down, and you can’t get your senior year back,” Hines said. “So I did what I felt I had to do.”
The Blue Raiders finished 4-8 that year (2003) and while everyone else was participating in a pro workout on a Wednesday in early March, Hines was preparing for surgery the next day.
“With hindsight being 20/20, sometimes you wish you could be selfish,” Hines said of his decision to delay his surgery. “But everything that’s going to come to me is going to come regardless – what’s meant to be will be.”
That’s the attitude Hines consistently takes while thoughtfully answering questions regarding his injury-riddled career and his current stretch with the defending ArenaCup champions. But before the injuries – including a torn ACL – and the tough decisions, Hines fought to find his place in the world of college football.
A four-year starter at Riverdale (Ga.) High School, Hines led the Raiders into the Georgia Dome his senior year, where they lost to Peach County High in the 1999 state semifinals. He started the next year at Middle Georgia, a junior college in Cochran, Ga., only to hit his first dead end.
“The coaches might say, ‘We will lift at 6:30,’ and two people would show up,” Hines said. “We would get pads that were already cut in a circle, and I would be like, ‘Where do I put this – is it a knee pad, a hip pad?’ It wasn’t a good program, in my opinion.”
Hines transferred to Southwest Mississippi Community College, although he was reluctant at first.
“Being in the South you know what you hear about Mississippi,” Hines said. “But actually, it was the best decision I made in my life.”
It was there, Hines said, he grew up. While Middle Georgia was an hour away from home, Hines found himself seven hours away – on his own for the first time.
“It wasn’t the city, it was one blinking light in the whole town,” said Hines, who grew up near Atlanta. “It was basically a wake-up call for me … it put things in proper perspective.”
After that, Hines wore a Blue Raiders jersey for two seasons, during which he accumulated 4,296 total offensive yards – No. 6 in school history.
Following his college career, Hines fought through the rehab on his knee and got a phone call from former Spokane Shock coach Chris Siegfried, who was coaching for the arenafootball2 South Georgia Wildcats in 2005.
The same day he was brought in to try out, Siegfried was fired and the next day Hines was signed by former Wildcats coach Donny Davis. He finished out the year and signed as the franchise player for the expansion Chattahoochee Valley Vipers of the AIFL (American Indoor Football League).
The franchise has since folded, but that didn’t matter to Hines, who tore his ACL, again in his right knee, in the third game of the season.
Another surgery, and another missed opportunity.
“I was on a waiver with NFL Europe and the day I had surgery they called me up,” Hines said, “so it’s been rough.”
After rehab – Part Two – Hines was brought to Spokane this season by Shock coach Adam Shackleford.
“When you watch his film, you can’t believe someone hasn’t given this kid a chance,” Shackleford said. “I saw a quarterback that made good decisions, had a great arm and could buy himself time with his feet.”
He’s piled up several notable numbers for the division-leading Shock (6-3) – completing 70 percent (183 of 263) of his passes through nine games. He’s thrown 35 touchdowns and averages 212.6 passing yards a game.
“(Andrico) is kind of like that old worker that brings his lunch pail to work every day,” Shackleford said. “He clocks in and puts in the extra time after he clocks out – doesn’t make a lot of money here, and he’s realized in his offense quarterbacks move up to the AFL and he wants to be one of those guys.”
Shackleford believes Hines has a good shot. He might know a thing or two about quarterbacks – having coached the 2006 af2 Rookie of the Year Brett Dietz in Louisville. Dietz, who signed for a blink-and-you-missed-it moment with the Shock earlier this season, is the current AFL Rookie of the Month and Offensive Player of the Week with the Tampa Bay Storm.
“(Andrico) has more ability, potential and talent than Brett does,” Shackleford said. “If he keeps doing what he’s doing, he’ll get there.”
That’s the same way Hines sees it.
“It’s the first time that it feel right – from the organization, the coaching staff to the fans and the players, everything is in place – it’s right now,” Hines said.
“I still dream big – I just look at it like I’m being tested, you know. Everyone gets tested in life and if I really want what I say I want, I’m going to have to do what it takes to get there.”
Forget hindsight. His story is more about Hines’ sight.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.