When the news broke that Illinois wide receiver Mike Dudek had suffered another season-ending injury, there was a genuine sadness that swept across the B1G. One of the most resilient and perseverant players in the conference shouldn’t have had to deal with another significant injury.
Dudek was injured in the first game of the Illini’s season. He caught four passes for 65 against Kent State, what was potentially his final game of his career. It was his third season-ending injury while at Illinois.
But the receiver seems to have come to terms with it, and says he’s fine, even if it means he doesn’t play another snap of football.
Jeremy Werner of Illini Inquirer had a the chance to talk one-on-one with Dudek about the play, his future, and other subjects. The entire question-and-answer session was interesting, but one of Dudek’s responses was particularly intriguing.
Here’s what Dudek told Illini Inquirer on potentially playing his final snap:
“The competitor in me always wants to come out here and play, but at some point, you have to listen to your body. I want to be able to run around with my kids when I’m older. Be able to move around in ten years. If that was my last snap, I’m thankful for my whole career of football. It’s been everything and more than I could have imagined. As crazy as it seems, the injuries helped define who I am. They made me a stronger man in the end.”
Dudek has been a class act throughout his time at Illinois. His response to that question perfectly sums up how well the receiver has handled all the hardships and obstacles he’s faced.
The entire story from Werner can be found here.