Exclusive interview with David Abdul, Sr.

Pitt Insider caught up with David Abdul, Sr. today about the status of his son, Panther kicker, David Abdul, Jr. The younger Abdul was involved in a very serious car accident in the wee hours of Saturday morning.

"He was driving back from visiting his friend at Baldwin-Wallace College and fell asleep at the wheel. The passengers in the other car are fine, but David broke the tibia below his knee and it came out through the skin. And he broke two smaller bones in the lower leg but the doctors say that is not a problem. Also, he lost a big chunk of meat out of his calf and if there is not enough skin to cover it, he will need a skin graft."

David Abdul, Jr. is currently in surgery at Akron City Hospital having a steel rod placed in his leg, between the knee and the ankle. Asked if this could be the end of his playing career, David, Sr. said, "No, I don't think so. There is no swelling in the knee and that is a good sign. If it was his knee, he could not come back, but they think his knee is fine. It will be a lot of hard work and a lot of pain, but David is a hard worker, and I think David will be back. The doctor has told me that the normal recovery time is four to six months, but for athletes it is quicker. But since he had a chunk of his calf taken out, he may walk with a limp."

While going into surgery, David, Jr. was "visibly upset and wondered if his career was over," according to his father.

When asked if somebody from the Pitt program called yet, David, Sr. said that he called Coach Bryan Deal around 4:00 AM, and Deal was "genuinely upset about David and his well-being."

Abdul, Sr., a well known placekicking coach in Ohio, then went on, without prodding, to talk about his general displeasure with how is son is being coached at Pittsburgh.

"Certain promises were made that were not kept by Coach Harris. The reason I sent David to Pitt was because Heinz Field is the toughest place in the NFL to kick, and I knew that if he could kick there, he could kick anywhere. However, I told Coach Harris that my son would have to practice at Heinz Field often to get used to it. And Harris told me that he would get to do that at least twice a week. Well, during the season, he gets to do it once a week, tops. At practice, the kickers get to kick maybe four times and then the rest of the time they are holding the chains."

David, Sr. also claims that his son has taken unfair heat from certain players and coaches at Pitt. After his son missed a kick and went to the sidelines, one prominent player still with the team said, "What the ---- do you kickers do at practice?" and his son responded, "We hold chains." According to David, Sr., the other player "didn't say another word because he knew my son was right."

One time, the elder Abdul claimed, "we lost by seven points and Harris poked David in the chest and said, 'we lost by seven points and that's on you'. And David wasn't even the only kicker for us that missed on that day."

One instance that seems to particularly make David, Sr. mad is when Harris replaced his son with another kicker during the Continental Tire Bowl in December. "Why would he do that? To humiliate my son on TV?"

Those are the reasons for his son's on the field problems this season, says David, Sr., and not because of the tragic accidental death of his son's best friend, Billy Gaines.

"To tell you the truth, that's only a small part of it. But he has had a tragic year."

Dispelling another rumor, David, Sr. when asked about any possible transfer for his son, said, "No. I thought about it for a while and I know after a transfer year, he could start at Ohio State and be great. But we chose here for a reason and we want to make it happen here."

David, Sr. had great hopes for his son at Pitt and said, "I thought he was going to win the Lou Groza Award this season. And win it twice in his career. I really did."

Despite the vocal displeasure of David, Sr., he does see a chance for Pitt to be very good in the upcoming season and it all hinges on a player that he thinks will take the Panthers back to prominence.

"Tyler Palko is awesome. You just talk to the kid and can tell that he is the one that can make Pitt great. My son rooms with Luke Getsy and he is very good, too, but Palko is special."

As for the future, David, Sr. feels things can change for the better.

"I am going to try to talk to Harris and the A.D. to try to stop things concerning my son. And I hope things work out. We really want it to work out."

Note- Pitt Insider took the liberty of telling Mr. Abdul on behalf of Panther fans everywhere that we are praying for his son's complete recovery and comfort. He was very much appreciative and thanks everybody that supports his son and the program.

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