Ole Miss Outside Linebacker Patrick Trahan has had a weird couple of months.
Almost out of the blue, Trahan woke up one morning before the Tennessee game and he could not walk because his foot was swollen.
He had not injured it in practice or in the previous game, but the pain was excruciating.
The next three weeks were a study in courage. Very little practice during the week, take some medication for inflamation and gut out the games on Saturdays.
Gout, stress fractures, everything known to medicine was explored. No solid explanation could be given and the injury could not be completely diagnosed or treated.
Some days Trahan would be fine. The next day, he couldn't walk again.
"It was the strangest thing I have had to go through," said Trahan, who was finally diagnosed with an inflamed tendon, staring up at the ceiling of Cowboy Stadium after another pain-free practice. "God always tests us to see how we are going to respond and I'm just doing the best I can."
One might ask, why put yourself through that kind of pain and uncertainty? Why not just call it a day and get healthy for the proffessional evaluations?
If those are your questions, you don't know what makes Trahan tick.
Trahan is kind of quiet, but with a keen sense of humor and sharp wit. Team is more than just a word to him. It's a way to life.
"I have personal reasons for pushing it. I want to exhibit my skills some more to enhance my chances at the next level. I won't deny that, but what really motivates me is being here with my team," he explained. "We have put a lot of sweat and effort into 13 games and to miss one is just not something I am going to accept.
"We want to leave a legacy to our school and our program. We want the younger players to think of this game as the first one for next year and give them something to build on. We, as seniors, want to go out on top, as winners, but we also want to leave our young guys with a good taste in their mouths about their future and about those of us who are graduating."
In Cotton Bowl practices in Dallas, so far, Trahan has been full speed ahead with the foot not being much of an issue.
"Right now, I am great. I have had some of my best practices out there, but I'm crossing my fingers and doing a lot of praying," he said. "God has helped me out and I got good rest during Christmas, which I also needed."
With a tendon problem, there isn't much treatment. What is available, he's doing, but it basically has to heal on its own, Patrick noted.
"That's where my faith comes into play," he added. "I will put this in God's hands."
The Cotton Bowl means a lot to Trahan.
"This is a big stage and we all want to perform well, as I said," Trahan smiled. "Hopefully, Mr. Jerry (Jones) will see some of us and want us out here with his team next year."
Patrick knows the Rebs have their work cut out for them with the Cowboys, the Oklahoma State variety.
"They are a very balanced offense and that always puts a little more pressure on the linebackers," Trahan closed. "We are always trying to stop the run first, but with a balanced offense you have to be on your toes for anything at any time.
"They are solid. They don't run too many trick plays. They run right at you and it's whether or not you respond or not. I look forward to the man-on-man game it will be.
"I know they are going to test us with the option game because we were vulnerable to it against Mississippi State, but we've been working on that hard and have learned to be more disciplined in attacking the option."
Trahan will suit up as a Rebel for the last time against Oklahoma State.
You get the feeling his prayers will be answered.
Trahan doing some praying
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