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OL Ivan Douglas (National Champion, R.I.P.)



Call him crazy Ivan Douglas if you’d like, but he isn’t ready to give up on his football career.

Sure, he might have enrolled at Ohio State a quarter late way back in the winter of 1999 after having to work to get his academics in order. And, yes, he had to sit out two of the last three seasons when blood clots in his lungs put his life in jeopardy.

But step back and put his triumphs, trials and tribulations on a chart, and it appears Douglas’ desire to resume his football career is right on schedule. And keep in mind, while healthy he helped Cleveland Benedictine High School to a 1996 state championship, and he was the starting left tackle most of Ohio State’s national championship season of 2002.

"I’m looking to winning the Super Bowl sometime soon, the way things are going," Douglas said, laughing. "But really, I just look at my situation as God asking me, ‘How bad do you want it?’

"Obviously He doesn’t bring you all of this way to just stop. Now, you don’t know exactly what you’re here to do, but I feel like right now I need to take that next step."

It did not come Friday, when all of the other Ohio State seniors plus junior cornerback Chris Gamble ran for the NFL coaches and scouts at the school’s annual pro day. With his OSU playing days behind him, Douglas is targeting this time a year from now for his big comeback to impress the pros. He is not going to resume fullbore training until he goes through one more set of tests inthe Cleveland Clinic.

During the 2001 preseason and early summer last year, he experienced the formation of blood clots in his lungs. Any such occurrence is considered life-threatening, because a loosened clot can lead to a pulmonary embolism, a heart attack or a stroke. He rallied from the first incident to play in 2002. With the clots now gone again, he plans another rally.

"You never want to go through life wondering about what you could have done or should have done," Douglas said.

But the unprovoked formation of blood clots is a serious concern. An estimated 200,000 Americans die annually from pulmonary embolism, about 150,000 more than die in motor vehicle accidents, according to the American Public Health Association.

Douglas now knows a lot about the subject, and he has taken a consensus of the doctors who have been a part of his treatment.

"Their general opinion is, ‘You might go on for the rest of your life, never take blood thinners, and you might never get another blood clot. Or you could get one tomorrow. Or you could get one tomorrow while you’re on blood thinners,’ " Douglas said. "There is no exact science to it; they don’t know exactly what is going to happen to Ivan Douglas.

"So I’ve taken the mind-set of making some lifestyle changes, such as eating healthier, and I just need to take extra precautions that most people don’t have to take. I feel if I do that, I’ll be fine."

His life is in order otherwise. He is two classes from earning a degree in criminology at OSU in the spring.

But football is not out of his system, certainly not after what he had to endure last season in what should have been the glorious end to his playing days at Ohio State.

"For a while I couldn’t even watch football because I’d get depressed about it," Douglas said. "It’s difficult to know you’re one of the guys who should be out there helping the team out. You’re thinking maybe I could have contributed a little more and we might have been able to do even better than we did, even though we had a good season (11-2) by most teams’ standards.

"But it’s a life lesson. That’s the way I’m looking at it."

On the bright side, he isn’t beaten up from four seasons of grinding it out on the gridiron. At 6 feet 8, 305 pounds, he still strikes an imposing figure, even if he hasn’t returned to prime shape.

"I haven’t really lost anything from my experiences, but maybe I would have been able to mature a little more as a player if these things hadn’t happened," Douglas said. "But in the same vein, that just tells me I have a lot better football to play as I experience more things I didn’t get to experience in college due to certain situations.

"But I’m not mad about my situation at all. I figure I’ve done pretty good for myself, considering the time that I had and the hurdles I had to jump over. I’m actually anxious and looking forward to what’s going to happen in Ivan Douglas’ career as a football player, and the next hurdle he’s going to jump over. This race is not over, as far as I’m concerned."

Best of luck Ivan!
As I speculated over on another site a short time ago, I don't get why Ivan wouldn't want to use his last year of OSU eligibility this year to get back into playing mode. That assumes that he is, in fact, cleared by medics to return at all. But, if I were an NFL team, I sure would want to see him play this year before taking a chance on someone who hadn't played for two consecutive years. Just because he got/soon gets his undergrad degree would not prevent him from playing a final year, would it? I suppose if he has retained an agent or something, that would prevent it.
Go Bucks!
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Those are tough questions. I would love to see him back with OSU one more time, but Ivan will be 24 this year. Maybe he just wants to try and cash in before he gets too old or the health problems recur once more.

He has enough on film to display his talent. The rest is all bout health and conditioning. He can prove that in combines and physicals - once he gets to that point (since it sounds like he hasn't even started serious conditioning yet).

To be honest this reads like a bit of a pipe dream - but I hope it comes true for him.
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I admire him as a human being for being courageous and overcomming the events that he has but I never thought that he was that great to begin with. Maybe I am the only one that believes it but he got beat outside a lot and even when able to play, was spelled by true freshman Rob Simms.
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Ivan to sell NC ring

There is a ebay auction going on right now for Ivan's ring. You can buy now for 22k or you must be approved to be a bidder. I would post the link if I could, but I am not sure on how to do so.
The item # is 8747606849.

Ebay Link
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I never will understand why a college athlete would sell his or her's championship rings. Money isn't everything.

Because a chunk of metal isn't everything either.

Not everyone places a high importance on objects. I'm sure that Ivan's Buckeye memories are just as vivid with or without a ring.

Personally I'm a packrat, once I get my cold clammy hands on something it never leaves....muahahaha
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There is a ebay auction going on right now for Ivan's ring. You can buy now for 22k or you must be approved to be a bidder. I would post the link if I could, but I am not sure on how to do so.
The item # is 8747606849.

Here's the link: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=8747606849&ru=http://search.ebay.com:80/8747606849_W0QQfkrZ1QQfromZR8QQfviZ1

There are some real nice photos of the ring. See example (I didn't know that the player's name was on the side of the ring along with the Michigan score):
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Maybe when you are older (not referring to you, just a generic player) there are more important things than a championship won in college.

Like ones health - just to state the obvious.

Really hope Ivan has continued good health and gets to fulfil his dreams in one fashion or another. There is always coaching for instance.
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