Kye Staley’s battle back from a severe knee injury that should have ended his career has evolved from a feel-good and inspirational story to a straight-up success story. He’s not only back on the field; he’s thriving in a critical role in the Cowboys’ offense.
And last night we broke that the Oklahoma State fullback and fan favorite has been granted a sixth year of eligibility.
I talked to Staley about the news Monday afternoon. Here are some leftover quotes that did not make it into the story.
On the play he sustained the injury in 2009:
“I was just trying to make a play and just got rolled up. (Former OSU defensive tackle) Chris Donaldson came in and just hit me in my knee, and everything just tore. I layed there and it was hot and I was swearing and cursing. It was miserable. When I was hurt was probably one of the worst days of my life.”
On the long recovery process:
“The main thing I didn’t have was confidence. Even though it wasn’t true, I felt like none of the coaches really had confidence that I could come back in play. I felt like they had basically just written me off.”
“Coach (Rob) Glass, he still believed in me. He worked me out 100 times harder.”
“Didn’t like John (Stemm) for a little bit. Now that I look back on it, I’m really glad he pushed me the way he did.”
“I knew that I could do it. Because if I could make it through that knee injury and (come) back, I knew I could play football again.”
On the move to fullback:
“I’ve always been a team player. I put the team first before I put myself. I wasn’t recruited to be a fullback, but I embrace the role. Coach (Jemal) Singleton asked me to be that person, and I embraced that role and just took a whole different attitude toward that position.”
On getting back on the field for last season’s opener:
“I wouldn’t say I was nervous, but I was just overexcited, just happy to be out there. Just full of energy.”
On his desire to become a high school coach:
“Back in Guthrie, there were a lot of kids that had the athletic ability, but they didn’t have the grades. Not because coaches didn’t care, but mostly because they didn’t monitor it more closely. If I go back to a school, the kids with the great athletic ability, (I’ll) make sure they get the grades and go to a D-I college.”
Coach Mike Gundy
On Staley coming back from the injury:
“It’s truly an amazing story when you go into the actual fundamentals of his knee. He had no chance to play. We went through a 6- or a 9-month period where hopefully he can walk without a limp. And then they said, ‘Well, one of those nerves is firing back. That’s awesome, but the other one’s never going to fire.’”
On how Staley continues to play with pain:
“I’ll see him at practice, there’s times he’ll walk off and he’ll kind of just stand over there, because it’s hurting him. He doesn’t say anything, but I know he’s over there and he’s missing reps, but he’s doing it because he can’t do it. Then he’ll get back in.”