Mitchell says he'll return to OU in 2004

OU's injured linebacker says he'll return next season despite the possibility of entering the NFL draft. (AP Photo/Donna McWilliam)

NORMAN, Okla. — If everybody had the opportunity to talk with Lance Mitchell like I did today then they would feel sorry for him. In fact, he doesn't want anybody feeling sorry for him, but he says he will be back and he now wants everybody to start pulling for the other guys. Mitchell agreed to talk with for the latest installment of the two minute drill.

JH: You're going to have surgery at the end of the week, so have you made a decision on your future?

LM: "Yes, I will have surgery then rehab and get ready to come back to Oklahoma for next season."

JH: So that is a definite decision?

LM: "Yes, that is definite. There really isn't much to talk about in this area, because I am just going to get ready to come back next year."

JH: That is good news for all Sooner fans. What are you basing that decision on?

LM: "That is the first thing that really came into my mind when they told me I had torn my ACL. I asked if I had any eligibility left and they told me I had a medical redshirt, so I told them that I would just do that. That is the only thing that has gone through my mind — that I had next year that I could play. I really didn't trip off the injury as much."

JH: In watching the replay it looks like you are shocked that you are hurt. Did you know instantly that you had something seriously wrong with you?

LM: "Kind of, but not really. It just felt kind of weird. I was just standing there saying this really doesn't feel right. I didn't really want anybody to come out and get me, because I wanted to try to play on it again. I guess somebody had caught that I was hurt and called our medical people."

JH: Was it Teddy Lehman or one of your teammates, because you sure didn't ask for a trainer did you?

LM: No, I didn't, but I think the referee did. Brandon (Shelby) was asking me if I was alright and I was telling him that I was good, but that I was feeling kid of weird. He just helped me up and I just stood there."

JH: Even when you walked off you didn't look like you were seriously hurt. Did you feel at that time it was just dinged and wasn't seriously hurt?

LM: "Yeah, I felt I just dinged it up a little bit. I stepped real hard on it once and it kind of gave in on me. That is when I got real worried that I had a big problem."

JH: Do you think your guys are going to be able to rally around you?

LM: "Oh yeah, they will be alright. Wayne (Chamber) looked really good today, so they will be alright. There is more than one good player out there."

JH: Can you still contribute to the team at this point?

LM: "If any of those young guys have any questions I can at least fill them in on what I know. I will continue to pay attention in the film room just in case Wayne or one of the young guys miss something, then I might be able to help them out a little bit."

JH: Are you in pain right now?

LM: "It feels alright. I am not trying to do anything on it, but it feels good right now."

JH: Are you are walking normally?

LM: "Nobody can tell anything just by watching me walking around."

JH: Have you tried to run on it?

LM: "I did a little light job and that was alright. Tommie (Harris) told me to jump side to side for him and I did and it felt OK. Before I had my MRI I thought I might have a chance to play again this year, and then when I got the MRI back it just shocked my whole world."

JH: Did the ACL tear completely in half?

LM: "Yes, it did."

JH: Don't you think the fact that your legs' muscles around the knee are so strong is really going to help you in your rehab?

LM: "I hope so."

JH: Pasha said you are tired of people being sad for you, is that right?

LM: "Exactly. I am still going to have a smile on my face, so everybody else should as well."

JH: Is this the first serious injury that you have ever had?

LM: "I have never had anything that kept me out for the season. This is my first serious one."

JH: Do you feel the defense will just continue on as one of the top defensive units in college football?

LM: "Yeah, there is no doubt. They will continue to be a great unit."

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