Fry Discusses Injury, Clemson Career

CLEMSON – For someone who had never been through a serious injury, as he lay on the Memorial Stadium field looking to the sky, Roman Fry was pretty sure something was terribly wrong with his left knee.

"My knee kind of twisted. My body was going (to the left) and my foot was still planted and I felt some pops and I went down," Fry said of the injury. "I've never been injured in my whole career in about 11 years of playing football. It's kind of a shock to me. I felt like I had done some damage right after it happened and it was confirmed the next day with the MRI."

The results of the MRI (torn ACL) brought the realization that Fry's career as an offensive lineman at Clemson has come to an end.

"You're hoping for the best while you're waiting on the news to come back on Roman," said offensive line coach Brad Scott. "You hope it's not the ACL and it turns out to be. It makes you just about want to cry because you know how much it means to him.

"I had the pleasure to coach him for three years and I know how hard he works, as does the rest of those offensive linemen. They're such a close-knit group. I think Nathan and Dustin and the rest of those guys were just as disappointed and upset about it as anybody, because that's their buddy."

Fry, the starting left guard, completes his career with 18 starts and 43 career games played. He was leading the Tigers in knockdown blocks prior to Saturday night's game against Georgia Tech with 62. For his career, he finishes with 215 career knockdown blocks.

When Fry knew his college career was over, he treated the news the same way he does defensive linemen, and that's meeting the challenge of rehabilitation head on.

He's not down and hasn't let the situation discourage him.

"I've always been prepared for something like this," he said. "I know the risk involved. For a lot of guys, it's the end of the world for them. To me, it's not. I want to rehad and get back, but I know it's not the only thing I'm capable of doing. I've always been mentally strong."

Of course, it's been a tough few months for Fry.

Fry, a redshirt senior, entered his final Clemson campaign with loads of outside praise, hype and expectations. He was only one of 54 named to the preseason watch list for the Outland Trophy, which is presented to the nation's best offensive or defensive lineman.

However, he fellow offensive guard, Nathan Bennett, were involved in a Jet Ski accident that resulted in the death of friend and assistant track coach Jarrett Foster on July 8.

Then, just days before the game against Louisiana Tech, Fry's grandfather passed away. Fry played in the game, which was held on the day as the funeral.

"I believe that everything happens for a reason," Fry said. "Everyone knows I've been through a lot this summer and this is just a bump in the road compared to other things I've been through. If I can overcome the things from this summer, I can definitely overcome this."

Following the injury, senior middle linebacker Anthony Waters offered Fry some words of encouragement. Waters saw his Clemson career end after he sustained the same injury during the first game of the season.

"It was a lot tougher for Anthony," Fry said. "I couldn't imagine being in his position where he did his in the first game of the season. I was fortunate enough to be able to play in a bunch of games and be on national television and play in primetime this year."

As Fry was hobbling off the field, he raised both of his arms and waived to the crowd as a show of thanks and to let them know he would be just fine.

"We've got the greatest fans in American and I love playing in front of them," he said. "I kind of knew that I was hurt and I didn't know if that would be my last time I'd be out there, so I wanted to give a little waive before I took off."

The fans responded, which didn't surprise Scott one bit.

"He is probably one of the most popular players with his teammates and with the fan base out there," Scott said. "I'm disappointed for Roman, because we don't have a young man on this football team that loves to play the game and loves Clemson University and loves Clemson football more than him. He brings a lot of energy to our football team. He'll still do that he'll just do it now from the sideline. I'm going to make him my assistant coach somehow.

"He's a winner. He's like a son. His personality is such that he's more than just a player. They're just like part of the family. He's had a wonderful career at Clemson.

"He's had a tough year. He's been through a lot this year, but he's always had a positive attitude, which I admire and respect. He'll overcome this like he has everything else."

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