Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Abare eager to return

One of the most memorable scenes of the Yale football season I witnessed did not occur on the football field but at Yorkside Pizza on Monday night.

Yale's campus radio station WYBC has a live show every Monday from the restaurant and six Yale seniors went on the air including senior safety Larry Abare, who missed the last four games with two broken bones in his right forearm. Abare quietly informed fellow seniors Paul Rice, John Sheffield, A.J. Haase, Tim Handlon and Rich Scudellari that he received medical clearance to play.

Scudellari, the last of the six to arrive, raced over and gave Abare an exuberant hug. I was sitting down with Rice for a story on the Yale captain running later this week and about 20 feet away I heard a roar from the area where the Yale players were sitting. I didn't need to sneak a peek at who was on the air and what the topic of conversation was.

Abare played it cool when I spoke with him earlier on Monday about his status for Saturday's game against Harvard but clearly he wants to play in the worst way and it looks like he will get his chance.

All you need to know about Abare can be summed up by the reaction of his teammates and head coach Tom Williams to the latest development.

Here's a sampling of the quotes, most of which I couldn't get into the story I wrote about Abare for Wednesday's paper because of space considerations.

TOM WILLIAMS
"When he told me there was a possibility he could play, I almost cried. I got goose bumps because I am so happy for the kid. If he can get out there for his last football game and have a positive experience, that is why we get into this (profession).

"Paul (Rice) would say it as well that Paul was voted captain but Larry is a co-captain in a lot of ways. Like Paul, Larry is a lead by example player and he provides so much energy and passion. Our guys love that and they feed off of that. They probably want him to be able to play even more than themselves to play. For him to have that opportunity would be huge for our entire team, he would give all of us a big lift."

PAUL RICE
"Larry Abare playing would just mean everything to this team. This program has benefitted tremendously with Larry being here more than words can ever express. For him to come back after a redshirt (season) and still get hurt, still stay with it and still be an active member of this team and now have a chance to play in his last Harvard game, just seeing Larry able to play and in shoulder pads will get this team fired up. Emotionally he is second to none in terms to what kind of emotion he brings to this team on defense and on special teams.

"I think I’ll keep a safe distance from Larry before the game just because he will be really excited and I know how he gets before games and especially the Harvard game, I will keep a safe distance."

JOHN SHEFFIELD
"When he said that to me, I was so excited for him. Everything he has been through, getting hurt and take a redshirt and then to come back for a fifth year and have this happen, it’s terrible. I felt really terrible for him and for him to have one more chance in this game which is so much more important than any other game, that’s awesome."

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