MIAMI HURRICANES

McGahee took out insurance


Published: Tuesday, January 7, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 6, 2003 at 11:21 p.m.

MELBOURNE - University of Miami tailback Willis McGahee took out a $2.5 million insurance policy two weeks before he was injured in the Fiesta Bowl and can collect after a year if the injury prevents him from returning to football, a Florida newspaper reports.

Insurance agent Keith Lerner of Gainesville told Florida Today that the policy was signed and put into effect just prior to the game, the newspaper said in a story for todays editions.

That last-minute decision could end up securing McGahee's financial future if he's unable to play again. The sophomore rushed for a school-record 1,686 yards and 27 touchdowns this past season, and was projected to be a top-five draft pick had he turned pro early.

McGahee suffered a severe injury to his left knee in the fourth quarter of the 31-24 loss to Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl.

``I just visited him in the hospital and told him that my hope is, and that everybody's hope is, that you're going to the NFL and make a substantial amount of money,'' Lerner said Monday night. ``But if he doesn't, he's got something to fall back on.''

McGahee underwent surgery Sunday at HealthSouth Doctors Hospital, next to the Coral Gables campus. Doctors repaired torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments and are hopeful he could eventually return to play again.

If he isn't able to return from the injury, he'll get $2.5 million minus taxes, Lerner said. He said McGahee will be eligible to collect Jan. 3, 2004 - one year from the date of the injury if he's not back by then.

Dr. John Uribe, who performed the surgery, declined to set a timetable for McGahee's return but said he should make a complete recovery.

Lerner, president of the financial consulting firm Total Planning, has written many insurance policies for college stars. Lerner told Florida Today on Monday that he wrote a policy for McGahee in late December with Lloyd's of London, after McGahee contacted him.

The coverage officially started on Dec. 20. The final medical forms were sent to Lloyd's of London the day of the Fiesta Bowl, Lerner said.

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