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UT's Cody Thompson stays positive despite season-ending injury

Rockets’ leading receiver vows to stay involved with team

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    Toledo's Diontae Johnson, 3, hugs Cody Thompson after Thompson is injured, forcing him to leave the game against Eastern Michigan on Saturday.

    BLADE/LORI KING

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    Toledo's Cody Thompson is brought down by an Eastern Michigan defender Saturday at the Glass Bowl. The Rockets' leading receiver was injured on the play and will miss the rest of the season.

    BLADE/LORI KING

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    Toledo's Cody Thompson makes a long catch-and-run during a game vs. Elon earlier this year.

    BLADE PHOTO

University of Toledo senior receiver Cody Thompson wastes no time feeling sorry for himself.

That’s not how he approaches life or football. He works hard, he prepares, he stays positive, and he makes the people around him better.

His fellow players rave about what a good teammate he is, and his coaches rave about what a good young man he is.That is to say nothing about his ability as a football player, which in his career he has proven to be one of the best receivers in school history.

So while he broke his leg against Eastern Michigan, it’s not in Thompson’s nature to wonder why him. He will miss the rest of his senior season, but he expects to recover and be as strong as ever, and he realizes in the big picture, it could be worse.

“There’s no point in being down about it,” Thompson said. “Obviously I am at times; it’s not like I’m happy about it. But everything happens for a reason, and it’s kind of like what doesn’t kill you just makes you stronger in the end. I think I’ll just learn and grow from this and use this experience as a learning thing. It could be a lot worse. It’s something that I can come back from, and I expect to be 100 percent when I do come back. So I’m just happy about that at least.”

Thompson will have surgery Tuesday, then have an extensive rehabilitation process.

“I’m not exactly sure how long it will take or what the time frame is,” Thompson said. “I’m going to attack it as I would anything else and approach it as it’s what is going to get me back on the field at some point. My career’s not over, so I’m going to give it everything I have and get to 100 percent as soon as I can.”

UT coach Jason Candle has been around Thompson for years and knows he will give everything he has.

“He’ll kill the rehab just like he kills everything else that he does,” Candle said. “It hurts selfishly, because you know the effort and the time and the work that he has been put into becoming a great player, and the kid is doing it the right way.”

Thompson said he will try to remain around the team as much as he can.

“As soon as I’m able to kind of get moving around again, I’ll be at every meeting, every practice, and every game that I’m able to travel to,” Thompson said.

Candle knows Thompson still will play a role in Toledo’s future this season.

“Cody is going to be just fine,” Candle said. “He is not leaving Toledo football and never coming back. He’s injured. He’s going to have his degree here in the summer in three-and-a-half years. If he never plays a snap of football ever again, Cody is going to be just fine. He’s a super human being and a great person. Whatever he does, he impacts it in a positive manner and impacts the people around him in a positive manner. He’s not going anywhere. He’ll be as involved as I am involved.”

The reality is Toledo will have to replace its leading receiver on the field. Through the first five games, Thompson led the Rockets with 28 catches for 537 receiving yards and four touchdowns.

But Thompson is confident guys like Diontae Johnson, Jon’Vea Johnson, Danzel McKinley-Lewis, and Desmond Phillips will step up and fill some of the void he leaves.

“We have a good group of guys in that room that are going to step up and make the most of their opportunities,” Thompson said. “I don’t think they are going to miss a beat. I’m going to be in their ear coaching them along with [receivers coach] Mike Bellamy and just kind of giving them what I see and trying to make them better players. I know they’ll step up and make the most of it."

Quarterback Logan Woodside, aside from his connection with Thompson on the field, is good friends with him off the field and said while the injury is tough, he knows Thompson will bounce back.

“You try to be nothing but a good friend and just try to be positive and let him know that everything is going to be OK and he is still going to play football,” Woodside said. “He’s got a great career ahead of him, and if anyone can get back from it, it’s him for sure.”

Contact Brian Buckey at: bbuckey@theblade.com419-724-6110, or on Twitter @BrianBuckey.

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