The 2021 season had some highs and lows for Minnesota. No one knows that feeling better than Minnesota DL Thomas Rush, who lost his father, T.R. Rush, just 2 weeks after the team’s 23-13 win over Wisconsin for Paul Bunyan’s Axe per Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press.

His father passed away at the age of 51. Despite the loss of his father, Thomas is glad that one of the his last moments with him was a happy one. He emphasized how much it meant to have his father’s support as soon as he committed to play football at Minnesota.

“Happy to think that was one of the last moments, let alone an amazing moment, to have with him before he passed away,” said Rush. “We were ‘scarlet and gray’ growing up, but when I came here, it was an immediate shift to maroon and gold. No hesitation for him.”

Minnesota will now be without its leader in sacks last season, Boye Mafe (7). Mafe nows plays for the Seattle Seahawks after being chosen by them in the 2nd round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Thomas, in his final year of eligibility, believes that he is ready to take on a bigger leadership role with the team and will give everything he has to make his dad proud.

“Thinking about my dad and the dedication that he had in helping me get to where I’m at,” Thomas shared. “I think about what am I going to do, the amount of effort, energy, all that stuff. What am I going to put into it? You know, to continue that and not let what he wanted from me go to waste.”