Bondurant has humbling experience

At one point before the season, it looked as if Tra'Mayne Bondurant would never play for Arizona again. Now four games into the season, Bondurant is back to having his normal role. Read on to see what he says about his path back has been like, how it has changed him, and more.

At one point before the season, Tra'Mayne Bondurant decided to leave Arizona football. He eventually changed his mind, but has had to work his way back in the good graces of the coaching staff.

Playing sparingly in the first three games of the season, Bondurant was on the field for the majority of the California game and is now able to reflect on just how much the experience has taught him.

"It was a humbling process for me really," Bondurant said. "It made me realize how much I love football and how much I do need football and how much I care about my teammates and coaches and being in this program. It just showed how important it was."

Bondurant's path back was made easier by teammates that accepted his situation despite the fact that they may have not really understood it.

"At first they didn't quite understand what was going on," Bondurant said. "I didn't really talk to them a lot because I had a lot of stuff going on family wise, but all of that stuff is in the past. My teammates were there for me big time and a huge reason for me changing my decision and being smarter.

"It made me grow up and realize how important my teammates are because they were there for the whole time."

As good as Bondurant is, he still had to work his way back and played primarily on special teams in the early portion of the season.

"It was tough for me with the experience I have in this program and being on the field knowing that I am usually out there," he said. "It was tough, but it was humbling and made me appreciate the game, this program, my teammates, and my coaches way more.

"It was needed. I wish it didn't go the way it went, but it was a blessing for me and changed me in many ways. It was a perfect situation for me to go through that and then come back and do what I can do."

It did not take long for Bondurant to have an impact, as he came up with an interception in his first significant playing time of the season.

"It’s just football and what I love to do," Bondurant said. "Having those plays is something special for me and it was a great relieving feeling for me to finally get everything off my chest and shoulders and go out there with my teammates and let it all out on the line.

"It was a big blessing for me with the situation I have. It was fun being out there with my teammates and having the opportunity to just showcase what I can do with them."

Bondurant lined up at outside linebacker and it would not be a surprise to see him in that role for the majority of the season.

"I’m a physical player," he said. "I like going up against the linemen, I feel I have a way bigger advantage than them. It wasn't really hard for me to switch.

"I am used to it and kind of the position I played before we took on linemen. It was pretty cool. I got a chance to hit up some people, get hit by some big guys that dragged me down, but it was fun. I was happy to be out there."

For Bondurant, it was that feeling of happiness and comfort that played a vital role in his return to the field.

"I just got that good feeling from the whole program," he said. "This is my second family I can come to and I can call on and I know they are going to be there for me, so it was something that really made me realize this is where I need to be.

"I deserve to be here and it was something I overcame with everybody in this program all together."

When reflecting on his original decision to leave Arizona, Bondurant believes he was never truly going to quit being a Wildcat.

"I knew I was going to come back," he said. "There was some family stuff and it just happened at the wrong time for me when I was going through a couple of other things in my life. I knew I was coming back.

"I wasn't going to leave the game, especially not this program. This program has really done a lot for me and changed my life in many ways coming from my background."


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