“I feel old,” Bryce Petty declared in his postgame press conference, and indeed, the day after no. 10 Baylor’s 45-0 opening-week flogging of SMU, the Bears quarterback was walking not so much like a senior citizen as like a movie mummy. On Sunday night, in the game’s opening series, Petty took off on a run, then took a defender’s face mask to the spine. A Monday MRI revealed two cracks in Petty’s transverse processes.
“It’s dumb,” Petty said Monday, lowering himself with the carriage of Boris Karloff into a chair. “If you can picture a spinal column, those little wings that come out? It’s those. Basically just there to break.”
Petty, overrun with adrenaline in the Bears’ first outing in their palatial new stadium, didn’t initially notice he was hurt, and stayed quiet once he did. He didn’t fool his coaches, though. Petty’s typical touch with the ball in Baylor’s ultra-aggressive offense is such that when he began missing open receivers, it tripped everybody’s alert wires. “We knew something was wrong,” Baylor coach Art Briles told assembled media after the game, “because that’s not Bryce. At all.”
Petty, thinking he’d just been bruised, was adamant about staying in the game. The staff, wanting him to make the most of his first chance at live reps since last season’sFiesta Bowl loss, allowed him to play out the first half, and would have had a hard time pulling him out beforehand. “Putting those headphones on brought back memories,” said Petty on Sunday. “I really didn’t want to put those back on.”
(Read the rest at Grantland.)