MICHAEL DYER waves the smoke out of his eyes and tries to focus on the question: Can we have your gun?
On one side of him, an Auburn teammate is nodding off, too sick and tired from his high to stay awake. Another teammate is holding his stomach and retching while his brain burns.
Dyer, a 20-year-old running back coming off a freshman All-American season in 2010, is celebrating spring break at a friend's apartment, drinking beer and smoking chemically coated leaves that are sold in gas stations under the name Spice. But the mood turns serious when fellow freshman teammate Shaun Kitchens asks: "Man, let me use your strap. We need to go hit a lick."
The "strap" is a .45-caliber handgun with a laser sight stashed beneath the couch in Dyer's off-campus apartment. But Dyer, according to records of his subsequent interview with police, isn't interested in committing a robbery on this night, or any night. Not when he's just two months removed from single-handedly marching Auburn down the football field in the final seconds of the 2011 BCS title game, the school's first national championship since 1957. Not when two more seasons stand between him and a first-round spot in the 2013 NFL draft.