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Childress uses injury to look at football from another perspective

Then-freshman wide receiver Brandon Childress attempts to catch a ball during the Chippewas' spring football game on April 16, 2016 at Kelly/Shorts Stadium. He missed most of the 2017 season with a torn ACL.

For Brandon Childress, Sept. 9, 2017 seems like forever ago.

On that day, Central Michigan football went on the road to Kansas where they blew out the JayHawks 45-27. One touchdown celebration cost the redshirt sophomore his season.

While celebrating a touchdown, Childress tore his anterior cruciate ligament — resulting in a season-ending injury. 

Childress only played in two games for the 2017 season before the injury. He caught 23 passes for 327 yards and had a score.

“I had to grow up a lot myself,” Childress said. “Any injury is tough for any person, but they happen for a reason. It has given me the opportunity to become a better leader, which I feel I’ve accomplished.”

Last season, the Chippewas had three senior wide receivers — Mark Chapman, Corey Willis and Eric Cooper. 

Now, those players have graduated and moved on. And Childress feels he is poised for a breakout season. 

“Myself, Damon Terry, Jamil Sabbagh and Cameron Cole are the veterans of this group,” Childress said. “These freshman and younger guys have bought into what we are doing and it’ll be a good season for the wideouts.”

Terry, Sabbagh and Cole have combined for 11 catches and one touchdown in their CMU careers. Head coach John Bonamego feels like Childress took advantage of his time off. 

“He’s right on schedule to be where he needs to be,” Bonamego said. “It might be hard getting back into the groove of things right away after an injury like he had, but we know Brandon. He will be ready to go and he brings a lot to the table.”

Along with the graduation of three wide receivers and senior tight end Tyler Conklin, the CMU passing game is also losing its quarterback. Former quarterback Shane Morris has moved on from CMU with hopes of a professional career.

Sophomore quarterback Tony Poljan is the only quarterback returning to the team with playing experience. Despite Poljan being the likely starter, Childress is excited to work with each passer. 

“All of our (quarterbacks) are highly competitive people and it’s going to be a lot of fun working with them,” Childress said. “As wideouts we just want to catch the ball from them and make life easier.”

If there is one major takeaway Childress has from his injury, it was to help with is career choice after football.

“I want to be a coach after my playing days and it has been a chance for me to work on that,” Childress said. “I haven’t taken any of this negatively, but instead I took a step back and just viewed things from a different perspective.”

Childress is not participating in spring practice, but he expects to be ready for fall training camp before the 2018 season.