The Long Road Back For Andy Christensen

Mike SchaeferContributor IAugust 19, 2009

LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 24:  Andy Christensen #62 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers gets ready to move at the snap during the game against the Colorado Buffaloes on November 24, 2006 at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska won 37-14. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

He stood against the wall speaking slowly. There was no shakiness in his voice. He looked each reporter in the eye and answered each question directly.

Make no mistake about it, though: Andy Christensen didn't look comfortable standing there. Given what has transpired in his six years in the program, he couldn't have been.

Christensen has battled through injuries that took two of his years. The NCAA granted him a medical red shirt. Injuries weren't Christensen's only problem; he also was engaged in a legal battle after being accused of first-degree sexual assault.

Last fall, Christensen was acquitted.

Christensen returned to the team and since kept a low profile until Wednesday.

He had to know what he was in for when the media gathered around.

Christensen was asked if he was concerned about the public perception of him playing again for the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

“I don’t worry about it at all,” Christensen said. “I’ve had all of the support in the world. I’ve never lost any friends over this. Honestly, I don’t care."

Christensen told reporters that he's a changed man.

“I would say I live my life the right way now,” Christensen said. “I don’t go out anymore. I still hang out with my friends and have fun, but I won’t go out to bars. I don’t drink anymore. All that stuff has helped me to get back where I am now.”

Where Christensen finds himself is right in the middle of a battle for the right guard position with Ricky Henry.

Christensen has spent the past year getting in shape for this moment. He said he wasn't ready to play last fall and he's gotten his weight down from 330 to 310. He said he and the coaches think he's in a good spot.

The Bennington product has been working off the field too. After completing his Construction Management degree, he is now working towards a Masters.

But for now, his focus is getting back on the field.

“Now, I’m in a position where I can contribute and be competent when I contribute,” Christensen said.

He also wanted to finish what he started—six years ago.

“One of the main reasons I came back is the guys on our team,” he said. “I also wanted to come back and end things the right way.”

As odd as it sounds, the football field might be the only place where Christensen will find peace.