Trace Armstrong has been out of the spotlight since he retired in 2003. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t around to share a couple of stories from his playing days.
From his time with the Gators to a 15-year playoff career, he has some to choose from.
Raised in Birmingham, Ala., Armstrong started his college football career at Arizona State. ASU, at the time, was a member of the Pac-10 (now Pac-12). Armstrong said that his move out west was an exciting one for him.
While with the Sun Devils, Armstrong won the Rose Bowl against Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines in 1987.
Armstrong would likely have finished his college career at ASU, if not a dilemma with the NCAA. There was a transcript issue that dated back to his time in high school. The NCAA declared that while Armstrong did nothing wrong, Arizona State didn’t do a good enough job checking his transcript.
The NCAA ruled to penalize Arizona State by not letting Armstrong play there for his last season. The ruling allowed him to transfer somewhere else and be eligible to play immediately or go to the NFL draft. After advice seeking, Armstrong stayed in college and transferred to Florida.
After the Sun Devils win in the Freedom Bowl against Air Force, Armstrong drove across the country in his Mante Carlo to Gainesville, Fla to start classes on Jan 3, 1988.
Armstrong said he was very happy with his time at Florida.
In his only year at Florida, Armstrong was named first-team SEC and first-team All American. Even though he was with the Gators for one season, his performance was worthy enough for induction into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame.
Drafted to the Pros
The Chicago Bears drafted Armstrong in the first round with the 12th pick. Head Coach Mike Ditka called him and told him to be on the next flight out of Birmingham to Chicago. He would be selected for his only Pro Bowl appearance with the Dolphins in 2000. Armstrong retired after 15 seasons in 2003.
Armstrong has been an Advisor for professionals, such as coaches and broadcasters in the sports industry for the last 13 years. He said he loves what he does now and enjoys helping those he represents. Armstrong continues to look back on his playing days fondly and said he would do it all over again.