Greg Childs hasn't given up hope of playing in the NFL someday

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 16, 2013 - 12:27 AM

One innocent play during an intrasquad scrimmage wrecked both of Greg Childs' knees in Mankato last summer but he hasn't given up.

hide

Vikings wide receiver Greg Childs

Photo: Star Tribune, Brian Peterson

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

It was supposed to be one simple play. A forgettable moment in a lifetime spent together as teammates on football fields from tiny Warren, Ark., to the mighty Southeastern Conference to the National Football League.

It began simple enough near the end of a long intrasquad scrimmage a summer ago. George Stewart, Vikings receivers coach, turned to the sideline long enough to holler a command that already was familiar as the first week of training camp ticked into its final seconds.

“He’d always say, ‘Put my Arkansas guys in the game!’ ” said Jarius Wright, one of those two former Razorbacks. “So we went in, like we always do.”

Wright lined up to the right. Wide left was Greg Childs, Wright’s sworn third-grade enemy turned inseparable friend. Wright was the small, quiet rookie fourth-round draft pick. Childs was the big, gregarious rookie fourth-round draft pick.

Two plays were all that remained of a Saturday night scrimmage at a packed and purple-clad Blakeslee Stadium in Mankato. Just two more plays until Wright hopped in Childs’ car, or vice versa, for a high-tailed escape up Hwy. 169 to the Twin Cities to enjoy a Sunday off.

Unfortunately, only one of them would survive those two snaps without having to face the likelihood that his once-promising NFL career has for all intents and purposes ended before it ever began.

Sneak preview goes awry

The ball was snapped. Christian Ponder dropped back, looked left and delivered a high-arcing pass. Perhaps it would be Childs’ six-point reward for a solid first week of camp. Perhaps it would be remembered as a harbinger of what the 6-3, 217-pound receiver would bring to an anemic passing offense when he runs a go-route fade into the corner of the end zone against a smaller defender.

“I got a good release, I’m in front by 7 or 8 yards and the ball came,” Childs said. “I adjusted to it and went to jump to go up and get it. Should have been a routine catch.”

On the other side of the field, Wright noticed something unusual. And haunting.

“I’ve been with Greg my whole life and he didn’t jump as high as I knew he could,” Wright said. “I thought to myself, ‘What’s wrong?’ Then I could hear the screaming from the other side of the field. That was tough because I was with him at Arkansas when I heard him scream like that the first time.”

That was 2010, their junior year at Arkansas, when Childs ruptured his right patellar tendon, which controls the four quadriceps muscles and extends to below the kneecap, where it is attached to the shinbone.

This time, the scream and the injury would be twice as bad. Literally. Both patellar tendons ruptured.

“This time, I didn’t even get off the ground on my jump before I heard a pop and felt both pull apart,” said Childs, who lost both knees on a play in which he wasn’t even touched. “You go into shock, but first it’s a terrible pain. And then you can’t move your legs because there’s nothing connecting them together anymore.”

Don’t compare injuries

Vikings head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman was among the first to assist Childs that Aug. 4 evening. Nineteen years earlier, Sugarman was an intern with the Chicago Bears when receiver Wendell Davis ruptured both patellar tendons when he got his feet stuck in the notoriously bad Astroturf at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia.

“From our research, there have been two or three other guys who have ruptured both on the same play,” Sugarman said. “But I don’t think you can predict what’s going to happen because the science is changing all the time. Surgical techniques get better, the athletes are different, the rehab techniques are different. You can use the history to give you an idea of the success rate, but you can’t make a determination on that because it’s not fair to the athlete, the physician, the club, the athletic trainer.”

Davis missed the 1994 season and tried to make a comeback with the Indianapolis Colts in 1995. He never played another down in an NFL game.

  • related content

  • Hartman: Vikings' Kalil at ease in second NFL season

    Sunday June 16, 2013

    Kalil not only live up to his reputation during a great rookie season that included helping Adrian Peterson to his 2,097 yards and MVP award, but Vikings coaches believe that...

  • Vikings receiver Greg Childs warms up during Minnesota Vikings OTA practice Wednesday, June 5, 2013

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tennessee 7:25 PM
Jacksonville
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Atlanta 127 FINAL
Cleveland 98
Phoenix 111 FINAL
Charlotte 106
Dallas 117 FINAL
Detroit 106
Utah 105 FINAL
Miami 87
Orlando 92 FINAL
Boston 109
Brooklyn 89 FINAL
Toronto 105
Memphis 117 FINAL
San Antonio 116
Milwaukee 97 FINAL
Portland 104
Houston 115 FINAL
Denver 111
Indiana 100 FINAL
LA Clippers 102
Ottawa 2 FINAL
New Jersey 0
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 2
Dallas 2 FINAL
Vancouver 0
Langston 65 FINAL
North Texas 78
Delaware State 72 FINAL
St Francis-NY 64
James Madison 72 FINAL
Ball State 52
SIU Edwardsville 65 FINAL
Campbell 70
St Francis-PA 67 FINAL
Duquesne 52
North Florida 77 FINAL
Florida State 93
Catawba 69 FINAL
George Mason 99
Ferrum 48 FINAL
High Point 106
Hampton 55 FINAL
Illinois 73
Gardner-Webb 65 FINAL
Jacksonville 68
Longwood 60 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 71
Arkansas State 69 FINAL
Miss State 55
Tennessee 72 FINAL
NC State 83
NC A&T 55 FINAL
Ohio State 97
Manhattan 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 65
Robert Morris 57 FINAL
Toledo 83
Char Southern 58 FINAL
Wofford 64
Kennesaw St 90 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
Barber-Scotia 52 FINAL
NC Central 108
Detroit 70 FINAL
UCF 75
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 73
TX A&M-CC 73 FINAL
Denver 83
Ark-Pine Bluff 61 FINAL
Houston 56
UT Martin 54 FINAL
Illinois State 64
Milligan 76 FINAL
Louisiana 115
Abilene Christian 44 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 83
USC Upstate 73 FINAL
Memphis 83
Alcorn State 56 FINAL
Murray State 94
Central Mich 80 FINAL
Northwestern 67
Georgia State 54 FINAL
Old Dominion 58
TX-Pan American 69 FINAL
Saint Louis 75
Ill-Chicago 46 FINAL
SMU 67
Texas State 60 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 66
SC State 39 FINAL
Texas Tech 101
Missouri State 70 FINAL
Tulsa 74
Chicago State 60 FINAL
Western Ky 75
Morehead State 50 FINAL
Green Bay 66
Northern Colorado 82 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 92
Winthrop 62 FINAL
Auburn 80
New Mexico St 55 FINAL
Baylor 66
San Diego St 62 FINAL
Cincinnati 71
Eastern Mich 46 FINAL
Michigan State 66
Loyola Marymount 58 FINAL
Stanford 67
Incarnate Word 82 FINAL
Grand Canyon 80
Northeastern 58 FINAL
Cal Poly 60
Central Arkansas 55 FINAL
New Mexico 76
Howard 45 FINAL
Pepperdine 53
Portland 73 FINAL
UNLV 75
CS-Northridge 56 FINAL
Oregon 79
Grambling St 38 FINAL
Washington 86
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Western Carolina 79 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 66
(21) Miss State 66 FINAL
Louisiana 51
(25) DePaul 109 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 84
Liberty 64 FINAL
NC State 67
Elon 77 FINAL
Campbell 51
Akron 73 FINAL
UCF 64
Richmond 77 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 67
Montana 70 FINAL
Seattle 64
(7) Stanford 46 FINAL
Chattanooga 54
Florida A&M 69 FINAL
Southern U 80
Oklahoma 72 FINAL
(13) Duke 92
Savannah State 56 FINAL
Auburn 62
Northern Colorado 43 FINAL
South Florida 84
Youngstown St 73 FINAL
Robert Morris 65
Siena 75 FINAL
Sacred Heart 65
Vermont 63 FINAL
St Francis-NY 61
(1) South Carolina 69 FINAL
Hampton 49
Fla Gulf Coast 91 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 46
Texas Southern 92 FINAL
Houston Baptist 80
Northwestern 88 FINAL
UNLV 84
NC A&T 70 FINAL
Appalachian St 72
NC Central 52 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 67
Drexel 50 FINAL
Quinnipiac 74
Cincinnati 52 FINAL
Northern Ky 66
Alabama State 53 FINAL
Georgia Tech 77
Morehead St 69 FINAL
USC Upstate 75
Arkansas State 59 FINAL
Kent State 44
American Univ 60 FINAL
Manhattan 52
UNC Greensboro 60 FINAL
St Bonaventure 78
Arkansas-Monticello 56 FINAL
Northwestern St 61
Prairie View 70 FINAL
Sam Houston St 51
McNeese State 59 FINAL
(3) Texas 76
Yale 90 FINAL
Wagner 65
Oakland 61 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 54
Eastern Kentucky 62 FINAL
Alabama A&M 56
SIU-Edwardsville 47 FINAL
Northern Ill 69
McMurry 25 FINAL
TX-Arlington 82
Portland 65 FINAL
Eastern Washington 72
North Texas 42 FINAL
San Francisco 60

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close