It might be too early to call Jordy Nelson a success story, and you might say Darren Sproles still hasn’t done enough to fit the description either.
But this past Sunday, both made game-changing highlights in their respective games.
Sproles finally peeked his head last season when he set a record returning both a kickoff and punt in the same game, and in the playoffs he backed up Michael Turner in impressive fashion.
During the preseason, Sproles had commentators from ESPN drooling over the moves he was making on the field with one describing the difficulty to tackle him as trying to stop something you can’t see.
This past Sunday he took center stage again and only had the spotlight taken away by the controversy from officials and gutsy decisions by the Denver Broncos.
Did anyone notice what Sproles did for the San Diego Chargers while LaDainian Tomlinson was basically ineffective? The running back, who commentators reminded us was nicknamed “Tank” while at K-State, ran seven times for 53 yards, caught two passes including a 66-yard touchdown and returned a kickoff 103 yards for a score.
Tomlinson, meanwhile, had 26 yards on 10 carries and in two games has no touchdowns. You couldn’t say that a passing of the torch is needed in San Diego because, really, it’s only two games. But you could say Sproles adds even more explosiveness as a backup running back than what the Chargers had with Turner.
After his performance against the Broncos, Sproles had fantasy football players everywhere racing to sign the back, who should get more carries this season, especially as Tomlinson was said to be injured last week.
One guy who probably won’t have those fantasy players racing to pick him up is Nelson. The Green Bay receiver scored his first career touchdown on his first career catch Sunday against the Detroit Lions.
The Packers used Nelson a little more than usual this past weekend — he was on the field visibly more than week one. Mostly, Nelson was used as a decoy by Green Bay running straight down field while other receivers ran underneath him.
Midway through the second quarter, Nelson fans were electric when they could see Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers look first to his left and then stare down the former K-State receiver for a 29-yard touchdown.
It’s right to say Nelson hasn’t done a lot lately, but in an obviously limited role in the Packers offense, he made one play that looks better than what receivers like Kansas City’s Dwayne Bowe and Cincinnati’s T.J. Houshmandzadah have been making this fall. Both of those receivers have higher expectations than Nelson.
The best part of Nelson’s catch was likely his celebration. True to his small-town, laid-back style, Nelson immediately ran to Rodgers to congratulate him on the pass.
Three of the players who were inducted into K-State’s Ring of Honor a few weeks back have had some impressive moments in the NFL.
Both Nelson and Sproles should expect to have their names put in the Ring of Honor in the near future. And when they return for that moment, they might have two of the most celebrated NFL careers of any player in K-State history.
Joel Jellison is a senior in electronic journalism. Please sent comments to email@example.com.