Chaney Preparing For Spring Comeback

The final decision wasn't all that hard after all for Jamar Chaney. "You only get to play college football one time," the senior linebacker said Monday afternoon outside the Shira Center. "The NFL is always going to be there."

So, if the NCAA agrees, Chaney will play college football for Mississippi State one more time. Or one more season that is. Chaney informed Coach Sylvester Croom last week that he wants to return to college for the 2009 season, so he can make up for the 2008 campaign that ended on opening night with a broken ankle. This will require the NCAA granting him a fifth season's eligibility, but based on criteria and trends alike Chaney should get his wish as he never redshirted but played as a true 2005 freshman.

"I had told Coach at Thursday practice I was going to go ahead and come back and play my last year," Chaney said, following rehab work today. "And just play a whole season, come back and help the team as best I can and be a contributor."

Chaney had the option of making himself available for drafting next spring, along with other 2008 seniors. Following the August 30 injury and surgery, Croom only asked Chaney to make a decision on staying or leaving by December. Chaney went ahead and made the call early.

"I just prayed to God to help me make the right decision. I think that's the decision he wanted me to make, to come back for another year." After telling his coach and team, Chaney went with the Bulldogs to Tuscaloosa as part of the 70-man SEC road roster, though he did not dress out.

Still, "It felt good being out there. It was my first time going to an away game since I got hurt, so it felt good. And it was a great atmosphere, so it felt good just to go down there with the team and support them while they were playing."

Come spring Chaney intends to help with practicing. His rehab process has gone on schedule and he said he weighs the same as in August, between 235-240 pounds. "Probably by December I can come out and start running and stuff like that. But I'm trying to take it slow and not rush back too fast."

And when he returns, Chaney will probably find himself at a different position. Not a new one, though, as before moving to middle linebacker as a 2007 junior he spent two years at outside linebacker. Croom said today Chaney will go back to one side for his extra senior season, and Chaney is in-line with that thinking.

Besides, "It doesn't matter where I play; outside, inside, as long as I'm out there on the field. Instead of standing on the sideline like I am now!"

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