Detroit Lions receiver
Ryan Broyles knows the highs and the lows of football. He set the NCAA record for career receptions while at OU, but he also tore his knee a week after setting the record. He rehabilitated the knee, got drafted by Detroit, became a steady force as a rookie, then suffered another torn knee.
Maybe nothing encapsulates the extremes of football, though, quite like a national championship game. Broyles knows what the players from Notre Dame and Alabama will experience Monday night in the BCS national championship game.
I just remember the buildup. Having Sam Bradford and a bunch of those guys who were like mentors to me. Getting through that process and going to the national championship was huge.
We left some points out on the field. Losing that game, you think of the negative more than anything. Dropped balls. Missed opportunities in the red zone.
You never know when you're going to get back there. You're in a fortunate situation to even play in the national championship. Don't take it for granted, more than anything.
I took it for granted. I felt like being at OU, that's what we were supposed to do.
We never made it back.
It's a business now. In college, you wake up, you might go work out, go to a couple classes, get a little break, then go to football practice. In the NFL, it's eight hours. You're there eight hours, then you go home.
You've got to be more dedicated in the NFL. You don't have coaches calling you up. You've got to show up to work every day.
It's totally different. Off the field stuff's a little bit different. It's a business. You're basically your own CEO. You've got a lot of people to work under you, your financial side, your agent side. But at the end of the day, it's still football.
It's still fun. I enjoy it.
I'm still learning. There's always a learning curve. I'm learning from guys that have been in the league 10 years, and they're telling me that they're still learning. I don't think there's a point where you stop learning.
Slow down. That's the best advice I've received so far. It's not a race. It's a marathon.
It really is hard, especially going in as a rookie. You want to get out there and prove yourself on the field as much as possible. You press things. You just want to step over boundaries.
I've been through one (knee injury) already. I didn't know what to expect. I was just doing what the protocol said, just trying to get back on the field. Every day, I felt a little stronger. But I never doubted myself or my football skills or anything like that. It was just getting healthy. I feel like it's the same thing with this one.
I know what to expect this time around. I know I can bounce back from it. I'm excited to get back out there again.
Right when I felt like I was catching my groove, I got hurt. I've still got a lot to prove.