Baylor cornerback Ryan Reid felt excruciating pain every time he backpedaled to cover a receiver or lunged to break up a pass.
Reid played last season with an injury to his abdominal muscle but stayed in the lineup to help a team that was short on healthy cornerbacks.
“The bottom of my abdominal muscle was ripping off my pelvis,” Reid said. “I had a little problem before the season and it triggered some other stuff during the season and the pain started happening. But I sucked it up and tried to keep playing for my teammates.”
After undergoing surgery in February, Reid feels like a new man as he prepares for his junior year. Along with returning starter Xavien Howard, the Bears have good experience at cornerback and will have more depth this year with Terrence Singleton and Tion Wright expected to make big contributions.
The Bears finished 107th nationally last season by allowing 264.2 passing yards per game, but they’re hoping a deeper rotation of cornerbacks will translate into better numbers.
“We’ve got four or five guys who are very capable,” Baylor coach Art Briles said. “It’s big especially in our league because it’s a throwing league where guys are getting challenged every snap. That’s an island position, so those guys have to be ready every time they step on the field.”
Despite his injury, Reid played in 12 of 13 games last season and only missed the Nov. 22 game against Oklahoma State. He finished the season with 32 tackles and 12 pass breakups while forcing two fumbles.
Reid’s most memorable pass breakup came in the fourth quarter against TCU, when he knocked down Trevone Boykin’s fourth-down throw that helped set up Baylor’s winning field goal as time expired for a 61-58 win.
As the season progressed, Reid could feel his abdominal injury hurt worse but he didn’t want to leave the lineup because he had worked so hard to earn a starting spot.
“I was never down, I just prayed about it,” Reid said. “I had dreamed about it my whole life and I didn’t want the injury to end the dream. I stuck it out as much as I can. But you could see it in my face on the sideline I was in pain. Coach Kaz (Kazadi) and the strength and conditioning coaches kept giving me words of encouragement.”