There's an old saying, "Life is not fair."
Many people work hard their entire lives chasing their dreams and fall short. You can have all the talent in the world and still never get that big break.
Sometimes it's the other way around. Pitt's star running back Ray Graham suffered a season-ending knee injury in Wednesday night's 35-20 victory over Connecticut. You knew it was bad when he began reaching for his knee before the play was whistled dead.
The silence from the Heinz Field crowd was immediate. This wasn't just any player lying on the ground. This was the nation's 2nd leading rusher. The heart and soul of the Panthers.
Graham had to be helped off the field and tears streamed down his face as he exited the playing area. It must be difficult to be so close to your dreams of playing in the NFL only to see them become uncertain in a heartbeat.
Graham was putting up historical stats this year and you had to wonder just how good he could be. That all changed in an instant.
I felt for the guy. You never want to see this happen in sports. Sometimes we focus too much on the highlights and moments like this are too easily forgotten.
There's nothing anyone could have done differently on the play. Graham just went airborne and landed awkwardly—a cruel twist of fate.
Now the Panthers must forge ahead without their superstar. Running back Zach Brown, the Wisconsin transfer, and quarterback Tino Sunseri must now adjust the offense and mold it into their own.
What about Graham? His NFL hopes have to go on hold for a while and perhaps he will return for another season at Pitt. There will be a lot of questions about his knee as he tries to move up to the next level. This might even cost him millions of dollars in contract money, but right now I don't think that's the first thing on his mind.
Knowing Graham and the competitor he is, I would imagine he's already mapping out his rehab schedule so he can get back into top shape as soon as possible.
He has a drive most other college kids can only dream about. It gives him almost an unfair edge. Pitt fans should be honored he plays for their team.
Even as a fan of another team, I respected the talent Ray Graham had. He was dynamic and exciting to watch, and it's a shame I won't get to see him play again this year.
Like they say—life isn't fair.