OU's Ryan Reynolds hopes for shot at NFL

March, 14, 2012
3/14/12
3:14
PM ET
NORMAN, Okla. -- Ryan Reynolds’ comeback bid to play football again hit a road bump at Oklahoma’s pro day on Wednesday. While running the 40-yard dash, the former Sooner linebacker tweaked his hamstring, and had to sit out the rest of the workout.

“The hamstring had been nagging me, but this was my only chance to work out (in front of scouts),” said Reynolds, who has spent the last two seasons as a graduate assistant on Bob Stoops’ staff. “I tried running on it, and it just popped. I was trying to guard it, but on the second one I tried to let it go and it pulled. It’s frustrating.”

Reynolds is frustrated. But he’s not giving up on his goal of some day playing football again. A goal not even Reynolds -- who suffered three major knee injuries through college -- thought was achievable two years ago.

[+] EnlargeRyan Reynolds
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireRyan Reynolds has been a defensive graduate assistant for the Sooners for the last two years.
In 2006, Reynolds tore his left ACL during an off-season, non-contact drill. The following spring, he severed a ligament in his right knee during spring practice. Reynolds returned in time for the season, but was never 100 percent.

Then in 2008, Reynolds went down with a season-ending ACL tear in his right knee during the second half against Texas. Without Reynolds, who had been the Sooners' best defensive player to that point, the OU defense collapsed, and the Longhorns won, 45-35.

After missing three games of his senior season with a strained hamstring, Reynolds applied for another year of eligibility. But the NCAA denied his appeal. With his knees still a wreck, Reynolds didn’t even bother working out for the NFL draft. Instead, he joined Stoops’ staff as a defensive graduate assistant.

“I was hoping to get my sixth year, then when I didn’t get that, I kinda figured it was over with,” Reynolds said. “I still wanted to be around the sport.”

But being around the sport, Reynolds got the itch to play again. Toward the end of last season, he noticed his knees were no longer an issue when he worked out or played basketball.

“I felt good again,” he said. “I knew I could still play. I wanted to give it a shot. I didn’t want to regret not giving it a shot, at least.”

Reynolds, who isn’t eligible for the draft and must sign a free-agent contract to get into the NFL, acknowledges the odds might be against him. But he isn’t ready to give up football just yet.

“Hopefully somebody somewhere will give me a shot,” he said. “I know I’m back to where I was as a player -- I’m better than I was at when I was a player.”

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