A few months ago, Trent Guy wasn’t sure he’d ever play football again. On July 5, the University of Louisville wide receiver/kick returner suffered a gunshot wound outside a local nightclub.
The bullet hit Guy in the lower back, and after undergoing surgery, he spent almost a week in the hospital.
At that point for the Cardinals junior, football wasn’t a priority. Living was.
Sure, Trent wanted to come back and play football again…but there was no guarantee if that would be possible, let alone in 2008.
As the recovery process moved along through the next few weeks, Guy began to plot his comeback…maybe he would miss the whole year, maybe only half…but he wanted more than anything to be out on that football field again with his teammates.
Fast forward to the Aug. 31 season opener against Kentucky. Although no one had expected his comeback to be so quick or so complete, the playmaker who had been constrained to a bed for part of his summer was participating in drills, cleared by the doctor, and wondering what it would be like to get into a game.
He waited a grand total of six minutes to find out.
Although Guy didn’t catch a pass in his first game back, getting on the field at all had to be considered a victory. Things only improved from there, as the 5-foot-9 speedster had three catches the following week against Tennessee Tech.
Due to the team’s desire to err on the side of caution (as Guy recovered from his stomach surgery), he didn’t return any kicks in the first four games.
Trent’s health was obviously the No. 1 concern of the UL coaching staff, and they wanted to make sure he didn’t take any extra hits that could set him back physically.
As Guy worked himself back into the receiving rotation, he finally felt that he was ready to get involved in special teams again. The Louisville star already had three career touchdown returns, and he was itching to get another shot at taking a kick back.
On Oct. 10, that opportunity came against Memphis. Guy had already gotten off to a great start in the contest by catching a 43-yard touchdown for the Cardinals’ first points of the evening.
When he finally got his hands on a kickoff later in the period, the Cards trailed 14-7 and needed a spark.
And that’s when Trent Guy delivered the highlight worthy of a Hollywood ending.
In his first kickoff return of the season, Guy gathered the ball in at his own five-yard line and didn’t stop running until he had crossed the goal line 95 yards later.
Touchdown, Cardinals. Trent Guy was officially back.
I had the privilege of being in the press box at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium in Louisville the following weekend as Guy returned his first home kickoff of the 2008 campaign.
The fans roared as the ball came down into Guy’s waiting arms, and he hadn’t even made a cut yet.
After a few shifty moves and 34 yards, they were still roaring for one of the most popular players on the Louisville team.
And one of the most fortunate.
Tim Cary is the writer of “Carrying On About College Football”, a weekly column posted each Sunday night on BleacherReport.com. To contact Tim, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org