Tying up loose ends

THE BOWL GAMES are over and the 2003 football season for Washington State is in the books. But before we fully turn our attention to next year, there are still a few items to address from this past season -- Including a remarkable piece of news on one <b>Chris Bruhn</b>.

Mostly passing under the radar was a mention in The Seattle Times the day of The Holiday Bowl. It said Chris Bruhn would undergo surgery for a hernia in January.

There's more to this story. Here's what we couldn't tell you until now.

Bruhn played the entire season with the injury.

CF.C learned of his hernia before Bruhn took the field against Idaho in the season opener. We were asked not to report on it during the season, for fairly obvious reasons, and we of course honored that request.

But think about it for a moment. When Bruhn broke off a 28-yard run against Idaho en route to 118 yards on the ground, he did it with a hernia. When Bruhn averaged 4.5 yards a carry on 78 touches this season, he did it with a hernia. Day in and day out - all season long.

Given his play in '03 and taking into account the malady, it makes us wonder just how special of a season he could have in '04 .

IT WAS DISHEARTENING a year ago when, given the senior season he put together, Mawuli Davis didn't get much of a look from NFL teams. He was one the MVPs, if not the MVP, of that year's defense.

Under 6-feet or not, the fact was the man just.. made.. plays. Unfortunately, he was but a one year starter as a senior after transferring from New Mexico State, and he received little attention.

And it would appear NFL general managers are going to make the same mistake with the MLB from the Cougs '03 squad.

Don Jackson didn't get near the amount of press and accolades he deserved this season. If he was a junior and had that exact same season, more praise and attention would have been showered upon him.

Instead, Jackson will not participate in any postseason senior bowl. Nor, apparently, was he invited to the NFL combine.

Some linebacker at the combine will undoubtedly impress the NFL brass enough that he'll jump a few rounds in the draft. Don Jackson could have been that player. Don Jackson should be that player.

He may still get a cursory look as an undrafted free agent; but a very small percentage of those players end up making the team and/or practice squad.

Its not just that Jackson led one of the top defenses in the country in tackles this season with 101.

Its that he has an excellent NFL-level burst.. that he has great speed for a MLB, making him versatile enough to see duty at the other linebacker spots.. that he tackles with his face.. that he will run through a wall.

If he doesn't get drafted, if he doesn't get the chance to earn a spot.. one thing will be certain.

Every single NFL team will miss out on one hell of a linebacker.

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