• 59°

Fry fearless as he recovers from injury

CLEMSON, S.C. — Roman Fry sounds like an advertisement for Nike. He has no fear.

Fry, the former All-American lineman for the Clemson Tigers, suffered a knee injury last season that not only ended his season, but threatened to end his hopes of playing in the NFL.

The injury cost Fry a first-day selection in April’s NFL draft and put him in a position to work his way back in shape in hopes of making a training camp.

Despite the severity of the injury and the thought of re-injuring the knee that could end his career forever, Fry attacked the situation in his typical aggressive style.

“I never get scared. You’ve got to be mentally tough,” said Fry who reflected on some advice from his former high school coach Bob Lutz.

“Coach Lutz always said, ‘Adapt. Advance. Overcome.’ That was a great quote, and he was right. It was great advice.”

Fry’s love of the game was his motivation. He said he’s about 97 percent healthy and has amazed the doctor who did his knee operation, Dr. Scott Gillogly who is the team physician for the Atlanta Falcons.

“Dr. Gillogly couldn’t believe how well I have done so quickly, but he said if he was evaluating me and didn’t know me, there’s no way he would clear me to play,” said Fry.

“He said I want (the knee) to be stable and it will be. He said I have a new ligament. I’ll have to ice it more. Can I be a better player than before? Yeah. He said I still have a career ahead of me.”

Before the draft several NFL teams contacted Fry including the Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins.

Although Fry wants to be

in a camp this summer, the preseason Outland Trophy candidate said he just has to be patient.

“If you rush it and tear it up, then you’re in real bad shape. I’m trying to push myself, but if it’s not there in July, then we’ll go on. I don’t think it will be,” Fry said.

“It’s just been bad timing for me. Longevity-wise, I’ll be fine.

With the chance of playing this fall virtually erased, Fry said he will most likely play in the NFL Europe league in January or February.

“We’re hoping a team picks me up and sends me over there, but I’m going to be there no matter what,” Fry said.

After graduating last December, Fry has been doing some real estate work in Atlanta. Although he enjoys working, he said nothing will replace his love of playing football. In fact, he said the injury has enhanced his desire to play.

“I’m ready to play again. You don’t realize how much you miss it until you can’t play,” Fry said.

“But my time is coming. It’s just frustrating. I respect the game more. They’ll have to carry me off the field. I’m going to give it everything I’ve got.”

Fry’s hard work hasn’t produced all good results. He found himself in a situation recently that sounded more like comedian Ron White’s joke about getting thrown out of a bar in New York.

In fact, it might be even funnier. Fry was thrown out of a gym for working too hard.

“I wasn’t messing up any equipment or screaming and yelling. I was just doing my regular workout. The guy told me the next day, ‘You had a 70-year-old woman terrified. You’d better find another place to work out.’ I couldn’t believe it,” Fry said.

But then he joked, “I’m getting thrown out of the right places now.”