Ohio State quarterback Craig Krenzel is carried across the field by teammates and fans after the Buckeyes beat Michigan, 14-9, in this Nov . 23, 2002 file photo, in Columbus.
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Before he helped save Ohio State’s championship season, Craig Krenzel wanted to save the world.
At OSU, the quarterback conducted cancer research, balanced the title run with a graduate-level course load of Molecular Genetics 608, Molecular Genetics 701, and Microbiology, and graduated with a 3.75 GPA.
If the fall of 2002 taught him anything, it is that plans are best not written in ink.
Today, Krenzel, 31, is a partner at the Arthur Krenzel Lett Insurance Group in Dublin, Ohio, where he lives with his wife, Beth, and three children.
When he was released by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2006 after blowing out his elbow, Krenzel still had designs on becoming a doctor before pausing to reconsider. He had watched his older brother, Brian, an orthopedic surgeon, grind through medical school and, as a new father, decided the life was not for him.
“I had the fortune or misfortune of seeing him going through that,” said Krenzel, who went 24-3 as a starter at OSU and was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the fifth round of the 2004 NFL draft. “I wasn’t really that excited about going to school for four years, and then a four-year residency, and a one-year fellowship. … There’s a lot of ways in this world to make a living.”
So he became a real estate investor, then switched over to the insurance business just before the market crashed.
“I didn’t see anything coming,” Krenzel said of the recession. “It was just fortuitous that I didn’t enjoy what I was doing.”
It was the biggest audible in a career of them.
Krenzel was the maestro of the Buckeyes’ championship season, though pigeonholing him as the gritty manager of the talent around him belies his place in school history.
Uncannily composed when the spotlight glowed brightest, his fourth-and-1 game-winning heave to Michael Jenkins at Purdue was just one among an assembly line of clutch plays.
In 2002, like with his life today, everything just seemed to fall into place.
“When I look at it, there’s definitely that aura that it was meant to be,” Krenzel said.