Wheaton, UO fans stay connected years after `The Pick'.Byline: Ron Bellamy "Rockin'" Ron Bellamy (born December 13, 1964) is an American professional boxer. He is the half-brother of former NBA center Walt Bellamy. Ron also started his career in basketball, playing collegiately at UNC-Charlotte and professionally in New Zealand and Europe. / The Register-Guard
THE FIRST LETTER found Kenny Wheaton Kenneth Tyrone "Kenny" Wheaton (born March 8, 1975 in Phoenix, Arizona) is a professional Canadian football player. Currently, he plays the defensive back position with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. in Detroit a few months ago, and to this day he's astonished a·ston·ish
tr.v. as·ton·ished, as·ton·ish·ing, as·ton·ish·es
To fill with sudden wonder or amazement. See Synonyms at surprise. by that, because who would have known he was in the Arena Football League, playing for a team called the Fury?
But there he was, "on one of my bad days," when he was reflecting on all that had transpired, from stardom at Oregon, to selection in the third round of the NFL draft The NFL Draft (officially the NFL Annual Player Selection Meeting) is an annual sports draft in which National Football League (NFL) teams take turns, through seven rounds , to three seasons with the Dallas Cowboys
National Football League
NFL (US) n abbr (= National Football League) → Fußball-Nationalliga dream by his fingernails.
And then came the letter. A fan letter, from an Oregon football fan who hadn't forgotten former Oregon cornerback Kenny Wheaton.
"It was `Wow,' it really picked me up," Wheaton said.
More letters from other Oregon fans would follow, eight to 10 in all over the course of the nine games Wheaton played for the Fury, a team that went just 1-13 this year, a team for whom Wheaton made 32 solo tackles and intercepted two passes.
"It was like being a little kid and not expecting to get anything on Christmas, but you end up getting eight to 10 gifts," he said. "That was unbelievable to me. ...
"I've always bragged on Oregon fans and said they're the greatest, because they have always treated me and my family with open arms. To this day, my mom still gets mail from Oregon fans. It makes all of us feel good to know that Kenny Wheaton was there, and that fans appreciate what I brought to University of Oregon The University of Oregon is a public university located in Eugene, Oregon. The university was founded in 1876, graduating its first class two years later. The University of Oregon is one of 60 members of the Association of American Universities. sports."
Oh, the fans appreciate him. His game-saving 97-yard interception return for a touchdown against Washington in 1994, the turning point and defining moment of Oregon's Rose Bowl season, is still a fan favorite, so much so that when Oregon ran an abbreviated version in the pregame highlights on the MegaVision scoreboard earlier this season - as if to say that was ancient history - fans objected.
So now "The Pick" is there twice, the abbreviated version at the beginning of the highlights, and then the whole thing, and the play becomes the single moment that changed the dynamic of the Duck-Husky rivalry.
Until that victory, the Ducks had defeated the Huskies only three times in the previous 20 years and suffered more than a few heartbreakers, one of which was shaping up on Oct. 22, 1994, with Oregon clinging to a 24-20 lead and the Huskies driving, and virtually everyone in Autzen Stadium The stadium is tucked between the Willamette River and Coburg Hills. The uniquely shaped bowl blends in with the wooded Eugene landscape. The shape also allows for unique acoustics, making it one of the loudest stadiums in NCAA Football for its capacity. knowing that inevitably Washington would score.
The Ducks had lost five straight to the Huskies, and if they'd lost that game, there's no telling how long that streak would have gone.
But Wheaton, then a relatively unheralded redshirt freshman, saved the game and a lot more when he "jumped the out" pattern and stepped in front of UW receiver Dave Janoski to intercept a Damon Huard Damon Paul Huard (born July 9 1973 in Yakima, Washington) is the starting quarterback of the National Football League's Kansas City Chiefs. Huard spent four seasons with the Miami Dolphins from 1997-2000, three seasons with the New England Patriots from 2001-2003, pass and run across the distant goal line with 49 seconds left, and run into a special place in Oregon history.
Starting with that game, the Ducks have won five of the last seven against the Huskies, and it can be truly said that UO football has never again been the same.
Wheaton played two more seasons for the Ducks, then passed up his senior year to enter the NFL draft in 1997. He stuck with the Cowboys through 1999, but hasn't played in the league since he suffered a knee injury that October.
The road back has been tough, with a second surgery required. It's also been a relatively solitary road for Wheaton, even with the support of his parents and older brother, and of his wife of more than a year, Franchell.
"These past couple of years have been very lonely," Wheaton said. "It would have been one thing if during my three years in the NFL I felt I couldn't compete and play at that level, but knowing that I could, and seeing how so many people have turned their backs on me, it was lonely.
"That's why I thank God, because He's definitely first in my life."
Now 27, Wheaton lives near Dallas, on money he saved from his contract with the Cowboys. He works with a personal trainer personal trainer person n → (persönlicher) Fitnesstrainer m, (persönliche) Fitnesstrainerin f , whose emphasis is speed and who has Wheaton feeling confident in his knee and his game. The stint with the Fury - at the invitation of former UO defensive coordinator A defensive coordinator typically refers to a coach on a football team in the National Football League or college football who is in charge of the defense. This position aids the head coach a great deal in many ways by delegating play calling to other coaches and allowing the head Rich Stubler - allowed Wheaton to prove that his knee is solid again, and a few weeks ago, the Kansas City Chiefs
Still, he knows that the clock is ticking.
"I've sacrificed all these months and all this time to give it this last try this year," he said. "Worst-case scenario worst-case scenario n → Schlimmstfallszenario nt , if nothing happens before the end of the NFL season, I'll go into Arena again. After that, if I don't get a call, I'm finished. I'll have to walk away.
"I'll have done all I could do."
For Wheaton and his family, life since Oregon has brought tragedy. In November 1997, Wheaton's younger brother Wiki is aware of the following uses of "'Younger Brother":
mistaken identity mistake n → Verwechslung f
mistaken identity n . As Kenny Wheaton tells it, one man was convicted of the slaying and is serving life in prison, another got a 10-year sentence, another was acquitted and a fourth got immunity for testifying.
"I was bitter when it first happened," Wheaton said of the court outcomes. "Right now, I'm at a point where there's nothing I can do. What's done is done. We have to try to move on with our lives, and try to make the best of To improve to the utmost; to use or dispose of to the greatest advantage.
To reduce to the least possible inconvenience; as, to make the best of ill fortune or a bad bargain.
See also: Best Best it.
"Do I agree? No. Do I lose sleep? No. As long as my mom and dad and older brother are blessed to wake up in the morning and talk to each other, that's fine."
Wheaton is still the only Oregon football player to pass up his senior year to enter the NFL draft.
"I don't regret my decision one bit," he said. "Even though the situation I'm in is the situation, I still don't regret it. If I'd done it all over again, I would leave also."
This season, two Oregon football players, running back Onterrio Smith Onterrio Raymond Lloyd Smith (born December 8, 1980 in Sacramento, California) is a former professional running back who played for the National Football League's Minnesota Vikings. and safety Keith Lewis, have indicated that they will consider leaving early.
"Lewis been putting up numbers like that, to think about coming out early?" Wheaton wondered. He did offer some advice, for those Ducks and any others.
"Number one, I would tell them to do what's in their heart and what they feel is right for them and no one else," he said. "And whatever decision they make, make it and don't look back; look forward and just go. Whatever happens is going to happen, but make sure it happens with you doing all you can do."
However, Wheaton said the Ducks also need to fully understand what they're getting into with the NFL.
"Oh man, it's a dirty business," he said. "It's very dirty. It's the real world. They're going to see a lot of people who are telling them now that they think so much of them, and they're behind them, and they're going to see those same people in a sense stab them in the back or turn their back on them.
"I mean, it's cutthroat. It's a lonely business when you're in, and it's even lonelier when you're out. But that's life. I've grown up so much, and I'm thankful to have a mom and dad and a big brother, and a wife who's been walking through this with me. I still feel lonely, but I'm a lot better because I have that support and care."
What Smith and Lewis must realize, Wheaton said, is the life-changing nature of that decision.
"That's a decision that as a young man you have to make, and that's a decision you have to live with for the rest of your life For The Rest Of Your Life is a British game show on ITV, hosted by Nicky Campbell. It is produced by Initial, a company of Endemol. Format
Round One , and that's what I'm doing right now," he said. "I made that decision at early 20s, and now at 27 I have to live with that.
"That is what they really, truly have to understand, that there's no turning back. And if there's no turning back, don't even think about looking back. I can't continue to stress that enough. If there's any doubt, stay in school."
Kenny Wheaton is remembered fondly for his interception that kept UO ahead of Washington.