S yd Quan Thompson keeps his cellphone handy, just in case. He’s a cornerback for hire.
But the former Grant High School and Cal star awaits a call that may not materialize, a victim of a tendon operation that is often the kiss of death for athletes who rely on backpedaling, quick stops and starts. Thompson pointed to his right foot and sighed. A sock conceals the scar from reconstructive surgery in 2011, when a ruptured Achilles’ derailed his NFL dreams.
“Second year with the Denver Broncos, final preseason game, in Arizona, noncontact play, and it happened,” Thompson said at a recent Grant football practice in Del Paso Heights, where he helps coach the defense for The Bee’s No. 3-ranked team. “I heard a pop, and that was it. Like (at) the position you play, you have to have a short memory.”
Thompson can’t forget, however. On TV, he watches former teammates and opponents with whom he ran stride for stride and wonders. He’s 27, fit, stronger for the experiences and eager for another shot. Thompson also understands that NFL clubs don’t reach out for retreads with scores of fresh talent filtering in from the annual draft. After being cut by the Broncos in 2012, Thompson bounced around the Arena League before returning to his alma mater as a coach and mentor.
Never miss a local story.
Thompson offers counsel to varsity players who aspire to be like him and younger brother, Shaq Thompson, a former Grant star excelling as a linebacker at Washington. Shaq Thompson, The Bee’s Player of the Year in 2011, is a projected first-round pick in next year’s NFL draft.
“I’m so impressed with Shaq, so excited for him,” said Thompson, who added that the brothers hope to play together in the NFL.
“I’ve got a lot of football left in me, as a player and definitely as a coach,” Syd Quan Thompson continued. “I’m very passionate about this game. If there’s a chance to return to the NFL, or play in the Canadian Football League or in Arena again, I’ll listen. But who knows? For now, I’m enjoying this, working with these guys. They all want to get better.”
Thompson uses football as a vehicle to grow, much as other former Grant stars on the coaching staff: Jason Brown, Devan Cunningham, Carl Reed, Toshan Starks and Worrell Williams.
“I learned a lot in this game, and I have a lot to give and offer,” Thompson said. “Football is another sign of what life is all about. You’re going to go through adversity. Every day is not going to be your best day, but you work at it, work together, get better. You have to do that in life, too, with family, co-workers, in society. This game, like life, has downfalls. I know. But it’s how you respond because there’s also a lot of rewards.”
Around the region
• American River College handed longtime power City College of San Francisco its first shutout in the 38-year coaching career ofGeorge Rush
on Saturday in the Beavers’ 13-0 victory, arguably ARC’s most impressive win in a regular-season game. Ranked fifth in the state, the Beavers (4-0) won it on a 13-yard touchdown pass fromTanner Trosin
and a 71-yard touchdown run fromDeon Ransom
. Defensively, the Beavers were led byRobert Sanders
with two interceptions. ARC hosts San Mateo, ranked No. 1 in the state, on Saturday at 6 p.m.
• Sacramento City beat Modesto 34-27, sealing it with a one-handed interception in the end zone byGenesis Grimes
, who earlier scored on a 36-yard interception return.Jason Samuels
for three touchdown passes and ran for a score for Sac City (2-2).
• Sierra beat Foothill 42-14 behind threeAaron Young
touchdown passes and an 80-yard interception return for a score byJavon Tillman
to move to 2-2. Sierra lost its opener at San Francisco 52-14.
• Sophomore wide receiverThomas Sperbeck
(Jesuit) made a remarkable, last-second twisting adjustment to haul in a deep pass for Boise State as he filled in for injured starterMatt Miller
in a 28-14 loss to Air Force. Sperbeck had six catches for 79 yards.
(Inderkum, Sierra) caught the go-ahead touchdown pass fromConnor Halliday
that covered 81 yards in Washington State’s 28-27 win over Utah.Devontae Booker
(Grant, ARC) rushed for 178 yards, including a 76-yard score, for Utah.
(Pleasant Grove) was cut by the New York Jets on Monday. The rookie wide receiver from Oklahoma muffed two punts earlier this season and was inactive Sunday against Detroit.