|Newman Inducted Into Kansas State Ring of Honor
Kansas City Star
Sept 1, 2008
If Jon McGraw's injury one week before Kansas State's 1998 season opener against Indiana State had beenmore severe, Terence Newman could have been the Witnldcats' starting free safety.
|Photo Courtesy of DallasCowboys.com
Newman, back at K-State as an inductee for today's Ring of Honor ceremony, shuddered at the thought Friday, even though what he was then a 155-pound freshman more accomplished in track is eons from where he is now a Pro Bowl cornerback who signed a six-year, $50.2 million extension in May with the Dallas Cowboys.
Ten years might have passed, but his feelings haven't changed.
"(Defensive coordinator Mike) Stoops and (defensive assistant coach Brent) Venables said, 'You might play' and I'm nervous as all can be. I'm like, 'Jon, you have to get healthy.' I was playing good in practice, but that's not games," Newman said.
McGraw recovered and helped guide the Wildcats to a perfect 11-0 record in the regular season, including a No. 1 ranking in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll during Nov. 8-29. Newman, to his relief, never got on the field, was redshirted and moved to cornerback.
Today, the 1998 team will be recognized at halftime of K-State's season opener against North Texas. Three of those Wildcats linebacker Mark Simoneau, kicker Martin Gramatica and punt returner David Allen will join Newman in the Ring of Honor.
"Anytime as an athlete you can be inducted into any Hall of Fame or anything of that nature, it's a great honor," said Allen, who returned punts for touchdowns in an NCAA-record three consecutive games in 1998.
"Only a select few get that opportunity. To be in a small elite group like that, it's forever. Nobody can take that down unless they tear down the stadium.
"To have my name with Terence, Mark and Martin, and the guys that are already on there, its a great honor."
Three of them Gramatica was delayed and not available at a Friday news conference spoke about the family atmosphere Bill Snyder cultivated, about how important it was. They spoke proudly of how they still follow the Wildcats, no matter whether it's from New Orleans (Simoneau and Gramatica play for the Saints), Dallas or Arizona, where Allen works in medical sales.
"I'm really, really excited about going to the game (today)," Simoneau said.
They were eager to soak in the experience again, beginning with mingling with some of the current players. Josh Freeman said he couldn't wait to meet all of the former players. Ian Campbell, gunning for a third All-Big 12 selection, wanted to trade secrets with Simoneau, a first-team honoree during 1997-99, and Deon Murphy was interested in chatting with Allen, who gave Murphy his blessing to break his return records.
"It's family," Allen said.
But when you haven't been home often in 10 years, sometimes the landscape is different. The facilities, deemed by some as middle of the pack in the Big 12, are luxurious by 1998 standards. The coaches' offices, the locker room, the players' lounge, the training room, the equipment room, the suites ...
Allen shook his head in mock disbelief. Newman covered for his former teammate, though.
"I try to admire all of the facilities they have here, especially since we didn't have anything close to this," Newman said. "... We were partly responsible for some of the things they have now. When we were here, we had a great facility. The guys before us were responsible for that.
It's one of those things where you keep building it up.
"The more teams can stay consistent, the better team youll be and the nicer things you'll get."
Such as, maybe, an undefeated regular season. Or even induction into the Ring of Honor ...