Will He Play?

The Florida Gators had to fight through a lot of adversity en route to their second BCS bid in three years. A home loss to Ole Miss. Losing their star receiver the week before the SEC Championship Game. But no event may have set the tone more for the season than when they lost their senior star tight end Cornelius Ingram for the season.

Cornelius Ingram skipped out on the NFL Draft and returned to Gainesville for his senior season. In the second practice of fall camp, Ingram tore his ACL and his season was over. But with Florida heading to the BCS title game, Ingram would like nothing more than to suit up one more time.

"I think about it a lot, but at the same time the team is playing so well without me," Ingram said after Florida's win on Saturday night. "The chemistry is already there, but at the same time, I want to play. I'm just taking my rehab one day at a time. It's going great. My body feels really good, so we'll just see what happens."

Ingram said he is at about 85 percent and he's way ahead of schedule with his rehab. After he talked to reporters for about 10 minutes, he sprinted to the tunnel and back to the Gator locker room at the Georgia Dome.

Ingram has tried to find other ways to contribute, but by just being visible to the other players he's become a motivation and inspiration for the rest of the team. On Saturday, he took the role of comforting Percy Harvin who was out with a high ankle sprain before one of the biggest games in the program's history.

"Me and Percy came out a little earlier and we saw what the atmosphere of the crowd was and we just looked at each other," Ingram said. "It was definitely one of the biggest games and we had to sit it out. We took it well, but I told him that if I could do it the whole season, you can do it one game. He's such a competitor, and both of us felt the same way. But with the depth that we have on this team, you can't help not be a cheerleader when you're not playing."

The fact that Harvin and Ingram were sitting on the sidelines and Florida was still able to win its eighth SEC championship is a testament to how good the Gators really are.

"That just shows how the coaches recruit and the kind of players we have," Ingram said. "Everyone on this team knows that when they get the ball, it's their time to shine."

It's too soon to tell whether or not Ingram will be suited up on January 8 or just in street clothes, but he's definitely thinking about the first option.

"Playing has definitely crossed my mind a couple of times, so we'll see what happens," Ingram said.

Asked if he wants to play, he had a simple answer.

"Big time."


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