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OSU football/Sports Illustrated: Former receiver Artrell Woods blames OSU for current struggles

SI's latest story, “The Fallout,” was released without notice Monday, a day earlier than had been promoted. It portrays an image of an OSU that coldly discards players once their usefulness is exhausted.
by John Helsley Published: September 16, 2013

Yet it wasn't always that way with Woods.

Even after the accident and the surgery and treatment and therapy and rehab paid for by the school and eventually overseen by OSU's doctors and training staff, Woods initially spoke positively about his future and his place with the Cowboys.

Two months after the injury, Woods met with the media and admitted bad days when he doubted his ability to come back, but also plenty of good days when he was thinking, “Man, when I get back I'm going to be so much better than I was the first time.

“I figure it happened for a reason. Hopefully for a good reason.”

OSU's athletic trainer, Rob Hunt, talked of driving back and forth from Stillwater to McBride Clinic and Orthopedic Hospital in Oklahoma City.

“Spent a lot of time on I-35,” Hunt said in a story in The Oklahoman in 2007, “but it was worth it.”

That year, Woods became the first nominee of the season for the FedEx Orange Bowl/Football Writers Association of America Courage Award. By August 2008, Woods had received clearance to play and progressed enough to be back at practice with the Cowboys.

And when then-receivers coach Trooper Taylor created a plan for easing Woods back into action, complete with a green jersey signifying that he wasn't to be hit, the player would have none of it.

“He didn't want sympathy,” Taylor told the Oklahoman that preseason. “I had to turn him loose, at his request.”

On the road to recovery, Woods asked no favors.

“I'm just a normal football player like everybody else, and that's how I want to be treated by our defense,” Woods said at the time. “I don't want our defense thinking, ‘OK, this dude had back surgery. Let's take it easy on him.'”

That was then.

This is now.

“I'm the mother (bleep) who wakes up every day and I think, ‘(Bleep), how am I gonna eat today? The bottom? (Bleep), it's now. Every day is the bottom.”

Woods paints a scene in which he was no longer needed at OSU and was cast aside, offered a medical exemption that would keep him on scholarship, although the story suggests only as a ploy to free up a spot on the team's 85-man football scholarship roster.

The medical exemption would have paid for five years of school for Woods, starting from the time he first arrived on campus.

Instead, Woods opted to leave and continue his career at Central Oklahoma.

“I just needed a change of scenery,” Woods said in August 2010. “I'm hoping something good comes out of this year.”

Woods continues to hope for something good to happen.

Nethon made something good happen.

Married with four children and managing a car dealership in the Tulsa area, Nethon reflects back on his hurdles at OSU as a good thing.

“You have a couple of huge moments in your life,” Nethon said. “I think that was one of my defining moments, as far as becoming an actual man. If that had not happened, who knows where I'd be, honestly.

“It really taught me now, in life, to handle your business. I thank the coaches for doing it.”

by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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