It is not rare for a football player to miss a year. Unfortunately it happens way too often.
University of Colorado junior Evan Worthington is having a great bounce back season after sitting out 2016 and his absence had nothing to do with injury.
School is about learning, both book lessons and life lessons.
"I was just making stupid mistakes here," Worthington said. "That's what happened. Coach told me I had to sit out a year, and I had to agree with him."
During his suspension Worthington was taught the most while on suspension, watching his Buffs battle to a Pac-12 Division Championship.
"Watching my team succeed was great but knowing I should be out here and thinking this is all my fault," Worthington said.
The highly touted recruit out of Cherokee Trail High School in Aurora, Colo. first two seasons in Boulder were a bit underwhelming and trouble followed him.
"We've all been knuckleheads at time..." MacIntyre said.
After Buff's Head Coach Mike MacIntyre gave Worthington the boot and told him to shape up, a lot happened in the young man's year away from the game.
“Going to get a job and actually working out there, in the real world. It makes you realize, this is not what I want to be doing." Worthington said. "I want to be playing football, I need to get my head straight and be doing the right things.”
Worthington changed his last name. We formerly knew him as Evan White, before going back to his birth name "Worthington" after his mother and step-dad divorced. However this wasn't an "I'm a new Evan" statement.
“It was the right decision to make. It was [something] I had to do.”
It was a mature decision, the first of many he had to make before really growing up.
Worthington and his girlfriend welcome a baby boy into the world last year, little Kannon and turned one-year-old not long ago.
“He means everything to me," Worthington said.
Kannon's a constant reminder of how far he's come and the responsibilty he poses.
“It definitely focuses me to grow up. I gotta take responsibility for everything now, I’m setting an example for my son." Worthington said. "Once he grows up he’ll be looking up to me. So I gotta be doing the right things all the time now.”
Transformation complete, Evan was given another shot and returned to the Buff's for his junior season.
“I’ve seen a new Evan," MacIntyre said. "I always saw a great athlete but I see a new focus, not taking life for granted understanding what life is going to be all about and so he had that a-ha moment.”
The 200-pound defensive back had an "ah-yeah" moment, getting back on the field and intercepting a ball in his first game as the new Evan.
“It felt great, I was nervous at first but once I got out there it felt great being out there and playing football again in an actual game." Worthington said. "It felt amazing to me.”
He still has a lot to learn, but the lesson are coming from the right spots, on the field and off the field.