Yahoo – Air Force RB Devin Rushing injured an ankle on the Falcons’ second day of full-pads practice in August. He said he feared he had broken his ankle during an Oklahoma drill. Rushing said someone had grabbed his facemask and brought him down into another defender on the ground and his ankle got rolled up on. It wasn’t broken, however. The Colorado Springs Gazette said it was a Grade 2 sprain and he was back on the practice field after missing 10 days.
But he’s not on the field with his new number. He switched from No. 31 to No. 3 before the season and was told that he had to earn his jersey back.
“They took my jersey,” Rushing told the Gazette. “I talked to the equipment manager and he said my jersey is still in there with Rushing written on the back, but I’ve got to earn it back.”
Why? Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said he wants “tough, durable guys” on his team. Rushing was projected to be the Falcons’ starting tailback during the season and is now practicing with the second unit.
“I think at every position we’re going to have tough, durable guys,” Calhoun said. “If you aren’t, you’re going to get us beat. I think the other thing is you have a built-in alibi if you’re a guy who gets hurt easily. If you’re a guy who gets hurt easily, you need to find another activity where there’s not contact involved.”
Per the Gazette, injured players don’t simply wear red jerseys at practice either. At Friday’s scrimmage, players in red jerseys sat in the stands instead of on the sidelines. Rushing’s situation may not be that unique.
“They go to meetings,” Calhoun said. “I just think you either add to the chemistry or take from the chemistry. There’s no in between. If you’re a red jersey, I just don’t want anybody sucking the life out of everybody else who is working. Who is able to go out there even if they have an itch somewhere?”
Asked if he saw anything wrong with this policy, essentially excommunicating an injured player from the program until he heals, Calhoun offered only this: “I think a warrior wants to be in battle, and we want warriors.”
LOVE this hardo Air Force coach. An old fashioned 1960s hard nosed mean mugging football coach. A true throwback. Probably chain smokes cigarettes and constantly drinks from a flask on the sidelines during every practice, at least he does in my head. A guy who has completely shut himself off to everything that has happened in the past 2 decades, every social and cultural shift, every piece of media coverage, every new standard that coaches have had to adopt and follow. Just firmly stuck in the days where you could beat the shit out of your players and make them play hurt. Grade 2 ankle sprain? So basically what you’re telling me is your vagina is bleeding? Suit up and get the fuck back out on the field. Or don’t, and go take after school ceramics in the pottery wing. Up to you pussy. We need warriors who are ready to go to battle, not running backs with Grade 2 ankle sprains. Use your other ankle.