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Temple's Colin Thompson finds persistence pays off

WASHINGTON - Colin Thompson just wouldn't listen. When he was told his football career was over, the Temple tight end did not agree with the diagnosis.

WASHINGTON - Colin Thompson just wouldn't listen.

When he was told his football career was over, the Temple tight end did not agree with the diagnosis.

Apparently, neither did Robert Anderson, among the most renowned foot and ankle doctors in the country.

Thompson's college football career began and almost ended at the University of Florida. It was resurrected at Temple.

His injury woes began during his senior season at Archbishop Wood, when Thompson broke the fifth metatarsal bone in his right foot, referred to as a Jones fracture.

He suffered the same injury during his redshirt freshman season at Florida.

"I got ruled medically ineligible at Florida and that is why I left," said Thompson, a redshirt senior, this weekend as Temple practiced for Tuesday's Military Bowl in Annapolis, Md., against Wake Forest. "They pretty much told me my career was over and I shouldn't play football anymore."

That led Thompson to seek out Anderson in Charlotte, N.C.

"He is one of the top foot specialists in the country and he gave me his blessing to play," Thompson said. "He said take six to eight weeks and relax and you will be fine and it all worked out."

Thompson transferred to Temple and appeared in nine games, making three starts, in 2014. Last season, he appeared in all 14 games, making 10 starts.

This year, Thompson has missed just one game for No. 23 Temple (10-3) while making 10 starts. Thompson suffered an ankle injury during the opening 28-13 loss to Army.

"It was a fluke: Our fullback hit a safety into my ankle and it was about the size of a balloon in about a minute," he recalled.

It was so bad that former coach Matt Rhule, who accepted the Baylor head coaching job earlier this month, thought that Thompson would be sidelined for an extended period. Instead, he missed only the 38-0 win over Stony Brook and was back in the lineup.

At 6-foot-4 and 255 pounds, Thompson has been utilized more as a blocker than a receiver at Temple. This season, he has three receptions for 43 yards and one touchdown. It was his first TD, a 1-yard reception in one of Temple's biggest wins of the season, a 46-30 victory over South Florida.

Despite his meager statistics, Thompson, who is like an extra lineman in the running game with his blocking ability, earned honorable mention all-American Athletic Conference honors.

Once considered among the top high school tight ends in the country when coming out of Archbishop Wood, Thompson, who has earned his degree in media communications, might have a football career after his days at Temple, according to Ed Foley, Temple's interim head coach. Foley will guide the Owls on Tuesday. (New head coach Geoff Collins won't coach Temple in the bowl game).

"The NFL scouts will come in and ask about certain people and more and more have come in and asked about him," Foley said of Thompson. "It is to the point where a couple of [NFL] guys are talking about him being a draftable guy."

Foley, who is also the tight ends coach, said he first heard about the possibility of Thompson being drafted earlier in the season." "Now I am hearing it more and more and I think there is a chance," he said.

Thompson said there will be plenty of time to think about the next level - after Tuesday.

"That would be the next step, but to be honest, I am just really focused on Wake Forest," he said.

And during this holiday season, Thompson feels his best gift came three years ago when his football career was revived at Temple.

"We have a great group of guys and they have helped me through my trials and tribulations with injuries," he said. ". . . It has been a blessing to be able to remain healthy and play one more year for these guys."