It’s the middle of get-your-team-ready-to-play season, but Gary Patterson is going to make a mad dash to Canton, Ohio, on Saturday for a chance to catch LaDainian Tomlinson’s induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The TCU football coach will put his team through a scrimmage first thing in the morning at Amon G. Carter Stadium, watch the tape, then head to the airport in time to catch a 3 o’clock flight.
“If everything goes OK, I’ll get everything graded, leave about 1:30, 2 o’clock, they’re an hour ahead, get in at 6, it starts at 7,” Patterson said. “Welcome to my world. It’s going to make for a long turnaround, because I’ve got to come back that night, too. I’ve got to work Sunday to get ready for Monday and Tuesday.”
So that means being back home around 3 in the morning?
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“Yep,” Patterson said. “Sleeping on a plane.”
But for the sake of Tomlinson, the leading touchdown scorer in TCU history and third-leading in NFL history, it’s worth it.
“No doubt about it. No doubt about it,” Patterson said.
Tomlinson will be TCU’s third player in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, joining Sammy Baugh (1963) and Bob Lilly (1980).
For a while, Patterson did not think he’d make the trip for the induction. TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte and other officials are already in Canton representing the school. But a smooth opening week of fall camp left Patterson comfortable enough to make the getaway.
“I knew not to make any promises, not knowing where this team would be,” Patterson said. “I texted him and told him I was going to be there if I could.”
And it looks like he can.
Even in the middle of get-your-team-ready-to-play season.